I was joking yesterday about how much life might have been so different had I never got past my lazy saying.
I used to say all the time, " If I ever feel like running. I will lay down until the feeling wears off."
But running happened, but that is another story.
At the same time as running I also began to go walking in the Scottish mountains. Here I discovered something else. I had a terrible fear of heights.
One day I was sitting in my caravan watching people walk over a long ridge fell. This is a mountain with a path along its top and a drop on each side. Now I had been up a few mountains and had some frightening moments looking over edges I did not want to be near.
I read of the master and his frightened student.
One cowardly person came to a master of martial arts and asked to teach him bravery. The master looked at him and said,
"I will teach you only with one condition: one month you will have to live in a big city and tell every person that you meet on your way that you are a coward. You will have to say it loudly, openly and looking straight into the person’s eyes."
The person got really sad, because this task seemed very scary to him. For a couple of days he was very sad and thoughtful, but to live with his cowardice was so unbearable that he travelled to the city to accomplish his mission.
At first, when meeting the passers, he quailed, lost his speech and couldn’t contact anyone. But he needed to finish the master’s task, so he began to overcome himself. When he came up to his first passer to tell about his cowardice, it seemed to him that he would die from fear. But his voice sounded louder and more confident with every passing day. Suddenly came a moment, when the man caught himself thinking that he’s not scared anymore, and the further he continued doing the master’s task, the more convinced he was that the fear was abandoning him.
That way a month had passed. The person came back to the master, bowed to him and said,
"Thank you, teacher. I finished your task. Now I’m not afraid anymore. But how did you know that this strange task will help me?"
The thing is that cowardice is only a habit. And by doing the things that scare us, we can destroy the stereotypes and come to a conclusion that you came to.
And now you know that bravery – is also a habit. And if you want to make bravery a part of yourself- you need to move forward into the fear. Then the fear will go away, and bravery will take its place.
So when a friend challenged me to run that fell, I did so with fear and trepidation, but so started years of running in the mountains that brought so many challenges and visions of beauty.
Now that I can not longer do this I have all those wonderful sights in my head that spill out on to canvas.
Be brave and have an exciting day.