Notable Quotable – Fear

You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.

                                    ~ Christopher Columbus

Fear. It holds us back from so much. It is so powerful that it can keep us from realizing dreams.

I love this quote because it serves to instill courage, courage to take that plunge into the unknown. For some, the unknown can be so outrageously scary; for others it is the excitement that drives them.

I think I fall into the latter category, at least most of the time. The unknown to me was always thrilling. I left home (Niagara Falls) to move to a new city (Washington, DC) to start my career. At that time the population there was 3.2 million people. I was fearless (read: young) there and I found getting lost in the city my way of exploring. I was never afraid of getting lost, even in the bad parts of town. Those were the years that I lived life on the edge.

But I soon tired of the big city and yearned for a slower pace. I had visited a good friend in San Antonio, Texas and found the friendly laid back attitudes so inviting that on my next vacation I set up 12 interviews (in the beer industry in San Antonio and both in the beer industry and the radio industry in Austin). I ended up getting a job offer at a radio station while on vacation and came back to DC, packed up my shit and three weeks later I was moving into a condo in Austin and starting a whole new chapter in my life.

That particular chapter lasted for three years when I grew weary of radio advertising sales and decided to open a bar. I didn’t know anything about running a bar…I had just spent a great deal of time drinking in them. I always dreamed of having a little neighborhood bar, similar to the ones that I grew up with back in Niagara Falls and Buffalo, so I took a vacation from the classic rock radio station and opened one. It was one of the scariest things I ever did, giving up a lucrative career in advertising sales and throwing caution to the wind to devote my life to an 1800 foot beer joint with two pool tables and a few dart boards. But I decided that if I was going to do it, I had to throw myself into it 100 percent. I came back from my vacation, went into my sales manager’s office and told him I was leaving to open a bar. (His response was awesome: he put out a memo to the whole station about me opening a bar and announced that my going-away party was going to be at my bar and for people to bring a lot of money to put in my cash register. How cool is that?!)

The unknown, although scary, was also thrilling. I learned a lot from those experiences and know that should the opportunity come again where I might lose sight of the shore, I’ll be able to dive right in.

Because the one thing I realized through all my ventures: God doesn’t bring you this far only to hang you out to dry…

May you always find the courage to lose sight of your shore.

sailing away

When was the last time you did something scary? Did the prospect of “losing sight of the shore” ever keep you from taking the journey? If so, do you regret it?


Notable Quotable: Fears

Inside what scares you lies what frees you.

                                           ~ Source unknown

We all have fears. Some of us have debilitating fears. When we learn to conquer those fears, we release ourselves from the bondage that binds us.

I was terrified of public speaking. Still am, really. Back in college, I took a public speaking class. And when the day came for me to deliver my speech, I skipped the class and feigned ill. For the make-up, I had to give the talk in front of the professor only, which I thought would be much easier but I was still a wreck and my presentation sucked.

Then came the day that I couldn’t skip out on. Getting up in front of a group of people to give a talk absolutely made me sick to my stomach. But there was no going back. I had to deliver. I had a whole class of people waiting to learn about their new job. My knees were quaking, my hands were shaking and my voice was quivering. But after a few minutes, I got into the groove and suddenly the fear dissipated. I was no longer afraid…and what was even more surprising, I actually enjoyed it! I was free…

And then when similar opportunities presented themselves, I was able to accept them without reservation because I knew that I might be a little off at first but my groove would kick in and I would bring it to a successful conclusion.

I have spent a lifetime conquering fears along the way, but I still have a long way to go and many fears to overcome. But that’s what living is about, right?

What scares you? Have you conquered fears? If so, do you feel free now?

O is for Ocean

OIt all started with our road trip to Myrtle Beach, SC, by way of Shreveport and Atlanta. We headed out around midnight and stopped at 5am to gamble for a few hours at the casino in Shreveport. After a free breakfast buffet, we took our winnings and got back on the highway. We hit Atlanta just as the morning rush hour was starting and we got lost as we cruised around looking for the Fulton County Stadium so Brian, an avid and almost maniacal baseball fan, could say he’d seen the stadium where the Atlanta Braves won the 1995 World Series.  

We finally reached Myrtle Beach. We settled in to our ocean front room, showered and, because we’d been on the road for two days, crashed hard. The next morning we got up early and hit the beach.

Brian had never been to an east coast beach and it had been years since I’d been in Myrtle Beach. The day welcomed us with sunshine and balmy breezes and the ocean waves beckoned us with promises of fun and adventure. We goofed around in the water for quite a while then both of us got quiet and we just laid back and let the water wash over us, yielding to the push and pull of the waves.  

There’s something so enchanting about the ocean water and the weightlessness that you feel as the waves lift and transport you. Brian says being in the ocean water feels like God has his arms around him.

I don’t know how much time had passed as I floated, scanning the expansive horizon and the far off waves, which glittered like diamonds in the sun’s beams. I turned to say something to Brian and was immediately overwhelmed to see how far I was from the shore. At the time I hadn’t realized it, but I was about 1/8th of a mile away from the shoreline, a little more than the length of two football fields. I started to panic, and the more I panicked, the farther out the waves took me. I yelled to Brian. He hadn’t noticed how far out I had drifted either. He could see the fear in my face and hear it in my voice. He kept telling me, “Just go with the waves. When the wave comes in, swim into it and let it bring you closer. I’m coming to get you. Just stay calm.”

It seemed like forever before he finally got to me. But he did and as soon as I fell into his arms I felt safe. I knew he’d bring me all the way back in. And he did. Just in time for a big wave to swipe the glasses off his face! Then it was my turn to rescue him. I took him by the hand and led him back to our hotel; he couldn’t see even mere inches in front of him. Of course it was the weekend and we had to wait until Monday morning to go see an optician and get him a new pair of glasses. 

It was definitely a vacation where we learned the formidability of the great ocean and we both came away with deep reverence for its power.

The respect which I had always held for the ocean deepened to an awe of its tremendous deception. The ocean is a world foreign to the one that I’ve so self-confidently navigated on land. It moves to its own rules and is merciful to none. What happened to me sounds like such a tiny little incident in comparison to what others have experienced in the great depths of the ocean blue, but it was enough for me to admit complete inferiority and bow down to its great might. It also gave me trepidation to enter its world again. I may walk a short distance into the salt water but I’m way more comfortable sitting on the shore and admiring it from afar…

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Tell me your ocean stories…

Copyright © 2014 Michele Truhlik. Photos by Michele Truhlik. All Rights Reserved.