Friday, March 6, 2015

Ways to Brave

Catching air!
My upper middle grade novel (for ages 10+), Brave, is going to be published soon. So I’ve been thinking a lot about bravery. To me, being brave means feeling afraid but facing your fears anyway. Ignoring your pounding heart, sweaty palms, and the loud screams of “Noooooo!” from your brain.

Fears come in many packages like publishing your first novel, sledding down a hill toward a ramp, having that difficult conversation, stepping onto a plane, or being anywhere remotely close to a slithery critter. In Brave, teen Corey Johnson’s fear list ranges from Math class to a man-eating mountain.

Flying! And lovin' it!
One of my fears is heights. Determined to overcome this fear, I’ve traversed rope courses and zip-lines, and did some free-falling. I’ve walked up towering staircases where you can see down to the ground far below. I’ve ridden ferris wheels and a contraption called the Sling Shot. And I’ve even donned a body suit and goggles, and sky-dived. Well, I’ve done indoor sky diving (check out ParaclyteXP). I do have limits.

So, how can you push past your fears? Well, Corey Johnson and I turned to meditation or something close to it. We closed our eyes, breathed, and relaxed to calm ourselves. Corey repeated “brave” over and over again. I told myself that I could do this and that I’d be okay. Sometimes when all that failed, we just did it. And screamed!!
Eek! Heart's pounding!
Afterwards, I laughed hysterically. Every time. And I felt exhilarated because I did it. It made my self-confidence soar into other aspects of my world. It made me believe that all would be okay.

Tackling fears is empowering. If you haven’t done it, I highly recommend it. Even if it’s in incremental baby steps. Having a buddy or two standing beside you, even egging you on, helps tremendously.

Of course, some of us may not be ready to face particular fears. Umm, er, like being anywhere near the slithery critter persuasion. And that’s okay. One fear at a time, and when you’re ready.

Best of luck. And remember to be brave!
Here are two articles on bravery: How to be Brave and 5 Easy Steps to a Brave 2015
And I recommend the book Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers.

I'd love to hear how you or someone you know has been brave.
And please be sure to share this post. Thanks!

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