Return from Baja: Letting go of fear

After nine days in Mexico, I have arrived back home and trying to synthesize my experiences into poetic and meaningful prose is difficult at the moment. I spent nine days with a wonderful group of women (and a few fantastic guys) in Baja, Mexico mostly on an isolated beach camp on Isla Espiritu Santo on the Sea of Cortez. We saw gray whales come up and play with us on a fishing boat. We snorkeled to examine marine life. We swam with sea lions. We hiked a mountain. We learned how to make tortillas and the finer points of tequila.

I have but 30 hours in my apartment before I’m off again, this time to follow the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team in the NCAA tournament as they play their first-round game in Tallahassee. It’s something which “should” have me crazed — getting up to speed on work-related materials, doing laundry and repacking and having everything in order and done. But the funny thing is, I’m not crazed. I’m pretty calm. And I think my adventure to Baja has a lot to do with it.

At the top of the mountain at our campsite at Isla Espiritu Santo. No fear here!

Something was calling me to go big and so I followed that inclination, that intuition, that passion. When it seemed like the worst time, it was really the best. I decided to let go of my fear and jump in. Trust me, I still had plenty of “fearful” moments. I was a bit nervous and anxious about swimming with the sea lions and even though the waves were slight, the rolling of the Sea of Cortez during our long kayak adventure made me rather uncomfortable. I learned letting go of fear does not mean absence of fear. Rather, it means not following the emotion. It means not judging myself for having fear bubble up. The more I try to avoid “negative” emotions the stronger they become. If I just allow myself to feel my feelings, including things like fear, they tend to pass rather quickly and I can move on to the next amazing thing. Those beautiful sea creatures, from starfish to king angel fish to sea lions, had no judgments on themselves. They only knew how to be. What would my life look like if I stopped judging myself, stopped being so critical of myself, stopped forcing myself to try and think or act or live in a different way? What if I simply focused on being rather than doing? My sense is that all those “things” which hold me back, including fear, would slip away and I would be left with only my passion and authentic self, able to leap tall buildings and swim with sea lions.

More of my experiences to come as I continue to process the adventure and download photos. In the meantime, my spirits have been lifted by the friends I made during this trip through Fun Baja, Green Edventures and Becoming an Outdoorswoman. I can’t say it was the trip of a lifetime but rather part of the adventure that I’m creating for my own life — and a huge part of it.

 

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