Just Around the Riverbend

Hey there! It's Jess. Welcome to my show, I mean my section of the blog-- thanks for joining me tonight.  I was asked by a great friend and colleague to write for this and am super stoked to share part of my story with you when it comes to "Facing Your Fears".  Fear is something that hits us each in it's very own special and terrible way.  Fear comes in all different shapes and sizes, but the end result is always the same.  It's a limitation and no one likes to feel afraid. 

Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of it’s dream.
— Paulo Coelho

Recently I decided to confront a fear that I think was partially instilled in me as a small child from my mother.  I don't have kids myself, but I think we naturally inherent some things other than just genetics by means of proximity when we grow up.  My mother is deathly afraid of water.  Well, water that she cannot see the bottom of, and especially rushing water.  For me, I took a little more after my dad when it came to that; swim like a fish, I was a lifeguard, the whole nine yards.  But there was one day when some friends of mine invited me to do a river-float with them up in Snohomish, WA and I immediately was overcome with nerves, worry, and fear.  The outdoors in Washington state are unlike any other place I've been.  They're just overall more rugged.  I didn't know much about this river.  I didn't know many people going on the trip.  The ambiguity and anxiety levels were soaring.  What if something happened? Will we get separated? Don't people die in rivers all the time? What if my floaty pops? Oh wait, and people are going to be drinking, seriously? The only good situation with alcohol on the rocks is when it's in your glass and rhymes with frisky. Oh my gosh, this is a disaster waiting to happen.  I'm not going.

Ca-ching, the cash register sang and the friendly small-town clerk in the middle of the city wished me well and to have a great weekend on the water when he handed me the pool toy floaty boat that would soon meet the rushing waters of the Snohomish.  I signed up.  I was all in. The toy boat was in my possession  I was committed.

At this point I still wondered about whether or not I should go, but rather than contemplate I got to work.  I packed snacks and my Camelbak 2L pack as it was going to be one of the hottest days of the summer so far so hydration was key. 

"Don't give in to your fears.  If you do, you won't be able to talk to your heart", Paulo Coelho said.  I wanted to enjoy the sunshine and beautiful weather and have some social time because that's what summer is all about.  Not to mention since it rains most of the year in Seattle, you really do have to make the most of every sunny minute you're handed. 

Once I arrived on site, per the usual, I helped my friends with the planning and logistics of getting 4 giant pool floaties down to the launch site, we really should have waited to inflate them before driving three miles with them strapped to the top of the Subaru, but hey, hindsight, right?  And it made for a pretty funny trip when we had to pull over on the no-edge double-lined road to catch our attempted runaway floaty.  My second attempt at physics and aerodynamics was the winner though.  No more adjustments, we were on our way. 

The river was absolutely stunning and beautiful!  It literally looked like what you see in those nature magazines for the great outdoors.  The sun was shining and the current that rushed us downstream with our floaties bouncing up and down over the water ledges was an incredible feeling!  It was exhilarating and I literally felt like a kid the age my pool floaty was made for.  I felt alive and happy!  By the second and third rushing water section, I was hooked.  I loved it!  It actually reminded me of the rafting rides at Cedar Point theme park in Sandusky, Ohio that I grew up loving.  It's ironic that I was afraid of the river float, but Cedar point had heavy-duty rafts and the water was regulated which is way different than a naturally formed river.  I had an incredible time.  I chose not to drink any alcohol that day and just stay hydrated as to make sure I was physically prepared in case I needed to be, and I didn't jump off the jumping-tree that everyone likes to get crazy, flash people, and bounce off of, but you know what?  I still had an incredible time and am really glad I took action and confronted that fear. 

Action is about living fully. Inaction is the way that we deny life. Inaction is sitting in front of the television every day for years because you are afraid to be alive and to take the risk of expressing what you are. Expressing what you are is taking action.
— Miguel Ruiz

There really is something empowering when you choose to face your fears.  It's a good feeling.  That beings said, I'm now curious.  I wonder what the opposite of fear is?  After this story, I think I'd have to say joy.  I've never been good at math, but I think the absence of fear = joy.  Now go and be fearless, live bravely,  and enjoy. :)


Jess D. Bobik is a freelance writer and videographer who lives in Seattle, WA with her two best friends; her Cairn Terrier Mix and Tibetan Mastiff.  She enjoys exploring all that the great PNW  has to offer from satisfying her foodie soul, to beer festivals, to the tops of mountains, and down to the yoga mat.