Sunday, February 1, 2015


Throughout my journey, including leading up to my departure, people have weighed in on my solo cross country adventure.  Because I've had so many curious onlookers, I have quite a large database to pull from. Predominant among the reactions is a heavily weighted component of fear. "You are a brave woman", "You've got guts", "I could never do that", "I'd be too scared", "What if you pop a tire", "Aren't you scared?", "You're doing this by yourself?", "I just couldn't do that", and my personal favorite, which actually makes me sad "Your husband let's you do this?"   I have come to view these reactions as a mirror into the life and thinking of the person making the comment and having very little to do with me and my trip.   

For me, the key (well, to all of life) is balance.  Fear is one component, a great emotion, best used I believe, in conjunction with reason.  I won't be dictated by fear, but am more than happy to listen to it when it has a meaningful dialogue with reason.   Bullies know fear's power and it's their tool of choice to convince by camouflage that a hypothetical situation is reality.  

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that
something else is more important than fear.” 

― Ambrose Redmoon  

Each time I open the door, I have entered into a risk/reward contract.  I attempt to minimize the risk and maximize the reward, but still, I open the door.

I believe adversity is one of life's greatest opportunities which can produce confidence, determination, self reliance and personal growth.  When I look back at my achievements, all of them have been associated with adversity. I consider myself blessed that no one stepped in to alleviate my discomfort and halt the progress, for I believe there is good in all that is considered "bad".  We have a choice whether we allow adversity to define us or whether we rise to meet or ascend above it's challenges.  "That's easier said than done" I've heard said.  What does "easy" have to do with it, I ask.  When I see someone who has a well defined, muscular body for example, I know that achievement wasn't "easy".   Just as it takes work and dedication to build, sculpt, and define a physical muscle in the body, so does it take those same attributes for the mind.

The power of the mind is great.  It's reserve of untapped mettle, fortitude and courage are lying in wait at one's disposal to be harnessed.  With deliberate "training" the mind is truly capable of doing more than one ever thought possible.  One of my most vivid and compelling examples I've seen of this capacity is the YouTube video of the Vietnamese Buddist monk Quang Duc immolating himself.  I am in awe of the resoluteness, the tenacity, and mastery of his mind.  Whether one agrees with his method of protest or not, it is beyond impressive, the level to which his mind has been able to reach.

Think you can, think you can't,
either way you'll be right.
~Henry Ford

So what I am doing by comparison is a walk in the park.  I strive to better myself, to stretch beyond my limits of comfort and to grow.   I am much further back on the path than Quang Duc, but each day I purposefully open the door and step onto that path, trying to move ahead a bit further.  We each have a unique journey, unlike any other's, and are blessed to have the opportunity for adversity along the way, as it is during these times that our greatest gains are made.


  1. Wow! Deep, girl, deep. I tend to slink into things, but when I have had to stand fast, I have done it. I believe we are each endowed with unique characteristics that make us who we are, Like wildflowers in a field, large or tiny, brightly hued or tiny pale belly spotters all add to the wonderful panorama of life. And you, my dear are definitely a tiger orchid in a jungle of myriad colors and configurations. To each his own, - and if I were younger and able, your adventure is definitely my kind of thing. Unless I am feeling wimpy; in which case, had me another cookie! Love you!! And follow your dream!! judy

  2. Yeah, at this point I embrace who I am. There has been such a preponderance of reactions circling around fear that I felt compelled to write MY feelings about it. I've always said that there is enough room for all on this big blue marble we live on and that all of nature excels and relies on diversity. I think your choice of flowers is just about right, as you don't graduate 1 of 2 women in your engineering class being a mamsy "pansy" (especially back in the day).