Happy New Fear

Happy New Fear.

It’s not a typo. It’s what came to mind tonight after one of the strongest wind and biggest wave kitesurfing sessions I’ve had in a while.

Actually, when I think about it, the idea about fear started much earlier in the day at a strong yoga class. I was, once again, way out of my comfort zone, being encouraged to work on my handstands, and then being introduced to some deep backbends.

Like this, but with tighter shorts.


Until recently, I’ve never been able to do a handstand (I still can’t but I’m getting better) and, to me at least, there is a definite fear element about doing them. The class is great for the very reason that it’s pushing me (and others) in it, and I’m always having to do what I don’t think I can (and often I can’t, but it helps to work on it).

Which leads to the kiting. I went out on my own for a quick session and was going to do the normal thing of kiting in one place, then return to my car, and drive home, but, the wind took me down the coast, and rather than fighting it, I went with it, and ended up following the coast line some 10km back to where I was staying, just so I could get a lift back to where I started.

The first part was cool, fun, and easy. The second part wasn’t. I’ve done the ride before, but today, it was different. The wind and waves were much stronger and bigger than I am used to, and I was on my own. I went past the point of no return, which was around some rocks, and I was committed.

I had to ride out to sea to be able to come back in safety, and I saw there was noone else doing this run, at least not now. I was really on my own. I had the skills and experience to be able to handle it, but that didn’t stop the moments of panic, and more than once, I questioned what I was doing.

As I did, I started to freeze up, and this made it all the worse, as I tightened, I lost my edge, and the whole thing became much more of a drama, but, on the flip side, as I gave myself a talking to and chilled out with it, I loosed up and relaxed, the opposite happened. I still had to stay sharp and focussed, but I didn’t drop into that panic zone. It seemed like it was quite a fine line (and this is only kiting – imagine slack line walking over a gorge!)

I made it back, obviously, or I wouldn’t be sitting here sipping my chai tea writing this, but it did make me think.

Is fear bad, can you work with it to push through things, does it help, or hold you back, is it real, or does it set a challenge to look at? I am sure it’s different for all, but I do know that afterwards, when I was back, not only from the kiting, but also the yoga, my mind had stopped chattering away, and I was, very much, in that moment. Even if I did have a sore back.

Maybe I’ll try and include this in my book that I am chipping away at, as the more I write, the more seems to be coming up, but anyway, here’s a video clip of someone staying at the kite house I am also at. He’s not looking that scared.

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