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“Fear Cocktail” & Bouldering

April 2, 2022

See, sometimes I’m scared of everything. I’m a nervous dang nelly. It drives my kids and my husband crazy. You would notice it too if you went hiking with me over boulders in the Sierra mountains. I walk on those huge rocks as if I’m sure to fall off or slip down a cliff. I just do. It doesn’t matter how much high-tech grip the soles of my shoes have; I’m pretty sure with every step I’m a goner.

I’m trying to be braver. I pray for courage. (Did you know that the word courage comes from the word “heart”? Coeur is French for heart.)

So, on a recent hike I came up with this new idea about making a “fear cocktail” – meaning not downing a pure shot of fear, but lightening it up with tonic and a twist of lime, or cranberry juice and ice. For example, yes I am afraid of slipping down the boulder, twisting my ankle, and heading head-first into a crevice. But what if I take that shot of pure fear and add some sparkling water of optimism? Maybe a dash of reality (like, hey Anh, you have non-skid shoes, you are sort of co-ordinated and probably won’t plummet, you’ve never skidded before…). If I can’t get rid of the fear entirely, why not add courage and reality to it and make it a cool summer drink thereby diluting the fear? I COULD skid (fear). But I probably wont (reality). And if I do skid, maybe I’ll have a grand time zipping over those boulders and land on buried treasure at the bottom of the chasm (optimism).

So, I was hiking with my kid, hubby, and sweet black lab the other day. They were all traipsing and jumping and lilting over various boulders like enviable mountain goats. Meanwhile, I was on my butt, grabbing onto any hand-hold, scuttling like a timid crab. And I remembered the fear cocktail idea. So I took that hefty dose of paranoia, added 3/4 cup of reality and a dash of optimism and I cut that terror by half.

Mmmmmmm. Nice…