Feeling Fear: What Do You Want Wednesday?

Today when I got home from practice teaching, I let Denver out of his crate, as I normally do. He greeted me with his loud, squeaky yawn and wiggling little rump, as he normally does. I cupped both my hands around his fuzzy chin and jaw and told him  cooed to him, what a good boy he is. Then we gobbled down a quick snack because that’s what you do after a long day, right? When we finished, we trotted down the 4 flights of stairs to get outside.

It was raining.

Denver hated the rain the first time his paws touched it. He would stubbornly sit under the overhang of the building staring at me with pleading eyes. I would scoop him up and plop him down in the grass encouraging him, “Go potty, Denver”. He would sprint with all his might to get back under cover, plop his butt down again and give me the infamous puppy face (they call it that for a reason people– it holds great power). This cycle would continue until one of us would get our way.

Well, what can I say? My pup must be growing up because today Denver looked up at the rain and confidently put one paw in front of the other carrying his wee puppy bod smack-dab in front of a puddle. A puddle of water! And then he stared at it for a moment– I was bracing for his whimper-and-sprint maneuver that would lead us back to dry land, but alas, he dipped his paw INTO the puddle! To touch the rain water! My pup!

Not only did Denver look his fear straight in the eye today and say, “No more, rain, you will scare me no more!”, but he embraced it. He watched as each raindrop fell from the sky, creating an impression in the water and then rippling out into concentric circles. He was mesmerized as he tried to chase one after the next.

After letting him enjoy the puddles for a couple of minutes, I guided him over to the grass to do his business and like my best friend, Dana says, he politely squatted and peed like a lady.

Just like that. He faced his fear and then casually went about his business (but really). No biggie.

I wish I had a photo to share the cuteness and bravery with you all, but sometimes you just need to watch and enjoy your life right in front of you rather than snapping a picture of it, ya know?

So this Wednesday, I want to take a cue from my wise canine friend and face my fears and then get on with the show!

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I’ve always been a nervous, anxious person, anticipating everything that could possibly go wrong, never trusting myself to succeed or deliver.  Even when my mind knows and believes I can do something, my body betrays me and my nerves give way to utter embarrassment.

It’s a hard thing when we let fear take control and affect happiness. Why do we do that? It takes so much more energy to be afraid and to worry and to analyze than it does to believe in yourself and take that leap of faith that is required when we are trying to be brave. When fear is involved, there’s certainly no easy way out– the options are worry and self-doubt or courage and self-belief (is that a word?). Both are painful, but certainly gaining the courage to forge ahead is the better option. It can be terrifying and uncomfortable to face our fears, but usually after we do, they lose some of the intimidation factor.

So like I said, I’ve always been a bit of a nervous wreck. And lately, with the start of practice teaching and the 3 month count down until my examinations and graduation, I have been a bit more than a bit of a nervous wreck. I have been a HUGE nervous wreck–a walking ball of nerves, unraveling as I roll on to my next destination.

When I get scared, I shut down. If something is too intense, I decide I hate it and I hate everyone that likes that thing. I feel fear and I turn around and run in the opposite direction. I think you can see where I’m going with this. I’ve been going through this lately, and it’s not fun. And it’s exhausting. And it creates huge stress in the present and in my thoughts about the future.

I want to make a concerted effort to feel the fear and do it anyway.

I want to look at the raindrops, splash in the puddles, and get wet.

Because how much more awesome is that than hanging out to dry with a puppy face?

***

What do you want?

Until next time.

~Steph

Mountains or Molehills, Who Cares?

When Mike and I moved back from Colorado I knew I’d miss the majesty of the mountains and the ease with which you could escape the city. What I did not know was that I would find a place in Ohio that fits the bill.

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Shortly after the move back to Cleveland, I discovered the beauty of the Cuyahoga National Park. Though I grew up in Cleveland, I never realized that the parks surrounding my city were in fact, a wonder to behold. And it’s not like my parents kept me cooped up inside all the time– I remember taking countless bike rides and nature walks with my mom, but I suppose none of those journeys ever took me the Cuyahoga.

Well, suffice it to say that once I finally set foot in the park (actually pedal– I was riding my bike on my first visit) I found one of my favorite places in the Cuyahoga National Park.

My first visit was this past fall, bike riding with some of my classmates from my Montessori training.

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Now, you might not understand how the molehills around Cleveland measure up to the Rocky Mountains, but let me tell you something– they don’t need to measure up. The natural beauty that exists in the Cuyahoga National Park is all its own. It doesn’t need elevation or altitude. Maybe it’s not as awe-inspiring to the masses, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s different.

Since my first bike ride there last September, I have associated the park with a feeling of peace and a hope in the future. After a few weeks away, I ache to go back, and every time I go back, I feel centered and at home. I feel like I can handle my life again. I feel like if I really want something, I will find a way to get it.

Mike and I took Denver this past Saturday and though my mind’s been spinning with a million different conflicting thoughts lately, when we were driving back home, I felt okay. I felt hopeful.

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rock skippin

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look how many times it skipped!

We know, you skipped that rock a lot of times, Mike.

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This is my special place.

Do you have one?

Until next time!

~Steph

My Manwich

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Did I ever tell you that my man makes a killer breakfast sandwich?

Well, he does.

And he does it while I’m still sleeping.

This is why I keep him around ;).

This is also why I am so sad that tomorrow is Monday.

I love my manwiches.

Until next time.

~Steph