Fear is a part of our daily lives in some form or another. We all confront situations that make us weak at the knees and that make our heart pound a little faster. For some, it is public speaking. For others, it is spiders. For many, it is failure. But, no matter what we are afraid of, it is important that we do not let it consume us.
That is why it is important to face our fear. To look it in the eye. To try to overcome it. And if that is not possible, then we need to learn some techniques and/or coping mechanisms to ensure that fear doesn’t hold us back from doing the things we want to do.
I have been trying to overcome my fear of heights and flying for a long time. For those who follow my blog, you know that it always hasn’t been this way. There was one incident all those years ago which sparked and ignited my anxiety.
However, I refuse to let it hold me back. And even though I want to back out or give up sometimes, I always find that little bit of bravery deep down inside which enables me to surge forward.
I know I have talked about it before, but this post is another prime example of how facing your fears can turn into a beautiful memory that will last a lifetime. It shows how something will be even more precious to you because you nearly backed out, but you didn’t. It shows how being brave can create a shining moment of pure bliss!
Chamonix is a lovely quaint town situated in the French Alps and borders Italy and Switzerland. The town lies at the base of Mont Blanc, the highest summit in the Alps.
My husband and I spent five glorious days there during our stay in France, right before our Canadian wedding. Yes, when most brides are usually stressing, I was traveling through France with stops in Lyon and Chamonix, before making our way to Paris, and then, onto Canada.
The following is one of my fondest memories of the place. [I may write a blog post specifically about the town of Chamonix in the future.]
Rewind 10 Years Ago – The Journey Up
It may have been ten years ago, but it feels like it happened just moments ago. [Well, it will be ten years ago on Friday, September 11th, 2015.] I recently flicked through the pictures I posted on my personal facebook account of that day and each memory still remains so fresh, like a blissful dream.
But, getting up there was anything but blissful.
We had been in Chamonix for a couple of days by then, but we had opted to wait for the perfect day to make the journey. The adventure had a hefty price tag and we wanted the best conditions, weather wise, which would warrant the most amazing views. [Check out this website for more info and current rates.]
I recall the excitement I felt waking up that morning, the tension in my body while I tried to enjoy a baguette and coffee for breakfast, and the shakes of nervousness I had when we joined the line to purchase our tickets.
I remember stepping into the Aiguille du Midi cable car with several others, most racing to claim the perfect stops to gaze out of the windows. However, I was the only one gripping to the pole that stood in the middle of the cable car for dear life.
As we started to move, I could feel myself leaving solid ground. I shut my eyes even tighter and focused on my breath, but even that couldn’t drown out the loud beating of my heart. My palms became sweaty when I felt the swinging movement. My legs started to tremble when I felt it swaying from side to side.
Soon, we were back on solid ground. We needed to switch to the second cable car to continue the journey upward. I panicked. I told my husband I couldn’t continue. I begged him to go on to the top without me. But, like most times, I had a moment of bravery, and I was in the second cable car, being whisked up even further.
We climbed higher and higher. My ears popped as we reached higher elevation. I could feel the chill from Mont Blanc welcoming me. We were soon above the clouds and had reached our destination, standing on top of a mountain, at a whopping 3842 meters in the air.
I stepped out of the cable car and I felt dizzy. It was hard to walk as my legs felt numb. A solid bridge, that hung nearly 4000 meters stood before me. There was no land beneath it – needless to say, it was a very long way down. The mere sight of it made my stomach sick. But, I pushed forward.
The Scenery = Pure Bliss
I took a deep breath and crossed the bridge. Only then did I realize how magical the view was. Eventually, the nervousness faded and I was able to appreciate the beautiful scenery surrounding me. I soon forgot about how high I was, but rather how I wanted to stay there for as long as possible, to treasure the scenery surrounding me.
I felt on top of the world, both literally and figuratively!!
And while my husband was snapping photos, he overheard a woman telling someone where she was from. He came over and whispered ‘She is from the same area you are from.’
I went over to talk to her and sure enough, my husband had heard correctly. There were about 50 people on the mountain at the same time as us that day. It is hard to believe that two of those people were from the small area of Canada that I am from.
We stayed up there the entire morning. For a solid three hours, we took pictures and enjoyed the view. Eventually, the clouds started to creep in, signalling to us that it was time to leave.
Going down wasn’t that bad at all. I still held onto the pole, but I managed to open my eyes for most of the ride down to the first station. Mont Blanc was invisible by then, secretly hiding above the cloud cover.
We exited the cable car and decided to enjoy the view of Chamonix for a while before taking the last cable car. I was so relaxed by then, so happy that I had made the journey. We proceeded downward and the entire adventure was over.
We had lunch at a nearby restaurant and toasted our adventure with a glass of wine. And then, my husband revealed the video he shot on the way up – the beautiful view of Chamonix, the view of the mountains as the cable car climbed, all of the people watching in awe, and then me, standing in the middle holding onto the pole like a lifeline. Priceless!!!!
And I still can’t believe it was ten years ago! It is funny how some memories remain so fresh.
What is your greatest fear and what do you do to overcome it? Be sure to let me know in the comment box below.
**All pictures, included in this post, were taken by my husband.**
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