15 July 2015


I don't know how it came to be, but I've become a person who constantly challenges himself.  From very long runs to seeing how well I handle long periods out in very cold weather to writing novels to trying new and different things to fixing things that I've never fixed before, I find that challenges are invigorating and rejuvenating.  I often actively search them out when I find that there aren't many for me to deal with in life.  On some of them, I do very well.  Other challenges that I take up are less positive, and I do very poorly on them.  Either way, though, I come out of it learning something--about the challenge itself and about me and my life and my mind.

Some of the most important challenges to me have been physical--running in a 100-mile race, hiking up certain mountains (or down into certain canyons).  Some have been mental, such as reading certain books, learning certain topics, or pursuing certain degrees.  Others have been emotional, such as talking to a certain person after something bad has happened, or going ahead with something even though I'm not feeling at all up to it.

It's the last group that is the most difficult for me, for those are the challenges that, for example, force me to deal with my fears.  In fact, dealing with my fears--especially my fears of other people--is the challenge that most often defeats me, that I most often do not succeed at.  Yes, when I do try to face my fears I do learn a lot, but sometimes the lesson is simply to learn how strong those fears actually are, and how deeply ingrained they are.  Not succeeding at such a challenge is sometimes more difficult than not succeeding at other challenges, for when I fail there, it seems that the fears become even more deeply entrenched, and much, much stronger.

I'm not alone in this.  I see people dealing with fears every day, and I see many of them not succeeding in their efforts.  But I also see a lot of resilience, and a lot of people who keep on keeping on despite their inability to successfully face their fears.  I learn from their example, too, that not meeting a particular challenge is not the end of the world--that I can go on and continue to keep trying to face those challenges.  I've been in runs that I didn't finish for various reasons, and I've continued to be a runner.  I've tried to fix things that I've ended up throwing away, yet I've continued to try to fix things.  There's nothing saying that my lack of success in other areas should keep me from trying to meet those challenges, from trying to face my fears and succeed in things in which I don't have a long record of success.  The challenge is still there, and it's up to me to do my best to meet it as well as I can.

As we rise to meet the challenges that
are a natural part of living, we awaken
to our many undiscovered gifts, to
our inner power and our purpose.

Susan L. Taylor

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