A couple of days ago, while on a challenging bike ride, I had a flash back.
I was about 9 years old, on snow skis, trying to ski down a run at Mammoth Mountain with my dad.
The run was a challenging one for me. There were a lot of people skiing that day, and they were whooshing by me as I tried to navigate the steep hill and the large moguls. As I was want to do, I was freaking out. My internal dialogue with myself went something like, “This is too hard. I can’t do this! I’m going to fall. Someone is going run into me. This is too hard. I can’t do this!”
I eventually got myself to the side of the run, and burst into tears.
I let my fears take over and they brought me to a dead-too afraid to move – stop.
Such a flash back didn’t bode well for my bike ride. Almost 40 years later, there I was, trying to make it up this challenging hill, very slowly. My fellow riders were well ahead of me. The heat radiating off the pavement was over 90 degrees. I was tired.
But, I am a different person now. I’m a big girl. I understand my fears. I recognize when that internal dialogue is taking me in the wrong direction, and I try to turn it off. A friend of mine used to say, “Turn off the F*** radio! It does you no good!” Instead of saying “I can’t do this,” I changed my approach. “You can do this Laura. It’s not a race. Just make it to the tree. Good! Now, just make it to that fence. Take a drink of water. Great. You can do it!”
I realized that back then, that little 9-year-old girl didn’t believe in herself. She let her fears stop her.
Now, I believe in myself. I can take on challenges – whether on my bike, or in my work, or by simply just stepping out of my comfort zone. What’s the worst that can happen? Yes, I might fall down. Or I might make a mistake. But, I’ll learn and I’ll grow.
As I continue my own Elul reflection, I realize, I have to believe in myself if I’m going to succeed in this world, whatever it is I take on. We all have to believe in ourselves. Otherwise, we get stuck on the side of the hill, crying in the cold, wet snow, with life passing us by.
The Jewish month of Elul, which precedes the High Holy Days, is traditionally a time of renewal and reflection. It offers a chance for spiritual preparation for the Days of Awe. It is traditional to begin one’s preparation for the High Holy Days during this month with the Selichot, the prayers of forgiveness. We look to begin the year with a clean slate, starting anew, refreshed. All month, along with others, I’ll be blogging a thought or two for each day to help with the month of preparation… #blogElul