Conquering Fear

Not So Fast and Not So Furious

ExoticCar I did it! I went to race car school. It’s been on my bucket list for years now and I finally made it happen.  I attended a class and training at Exotics Racing in Las Vegas. The staff was amazing and my experience was beyond awesome. I left the track that day saying that was one of the coolest things I have ever done in my whole life. It truly made me feel really alive.

After sitting in a class on technique and going around the track once to get some instructions from a seasoned professional, I was given the keys and allowed behind the wheel. For this adventure, I chose to go out in a Porsche Cayman.   Although it was referred to by some of the drivers at Exotics as the "go-cart", I was still thrilled to be able to get out and make some turns.

My instructor hailed from the U.K. and was a very patient man. He must have had nerves of steel. He instructed me all the way around the track five times.  I slowed way down going around the curves, but finally got up the gumption to turn on the speed towards the end of my session.  When I reviewed the video of my laps, I burst out laughing because I looked like I was slowing down to get a parking spot at the mall.  When I had originally heard that I was "only" going five laps, I thought to myself that that would not be enough.  It turned out I was very wrong.  It requires a lot of hard work and muscles to do even one lap.


As I left the vehicle, I was feeling like I hadn’t had the thrill of the speed. I realized that I had let fear hold me back and now I had regrets that I just didn't let it fly.  To satisfy my as of yet unmet need for speed, I decided it was time to take a few laps with the Professional Race Car driver. His name was Rudy and his credits included being one of the drivers in the first Fast and Furious movie. I thought I would be completely nervous going into this adventure, but the opposite was true. I had such a feeling of calm come over me that Rudy could see I wasn’t scared at all. In fact, I think he took this as a challenge and turned up the heat. During our last lap, we completely fish tailed and swung around. I still wasn’t freaked out. Sorry Rudy, you can’t scare this old gal!  I have made a vow to go back and do this again very soon.  This time I will drive the Lamborghini.

After completing this adventure, I truly left the track on such a high.  I also vowed that I would not continue to hold back because of fear.  I would put myself out there and feel the fear and do it anyway!

“If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough.” ― Mario Andretti

Until my next adventure,

P.A. Walker

Life Lessons from the Tubing Park

This adventure started out benignly enough.  I had a Groupon for a snow tubing session at Solider Hollow here in Utah.  Solider Hollow was the site of a lot of the cross-country ski events during the 2002 Winter Olympics.  After booking a session, I started out with my son and a friend and her family.  The evening weather was wonderful.  It was warm and the evening sky was filled with many stars.  We got into our tubes and headed up the rope tow towards what promised to be a night full of fun. The first run down was fantastic.  All five of us swapped ropes and bonded together for a joint ride down the hill.  It was so fast and exhilarating that I just remember screaming and giggling all the way down.  That was cool.  The next run down, it was me and my kid and the course was getting slick.  We screamed all the way down and thought that we would stop in time.  However, the course had a different idea for us.  In an instant, I just made the realization that we were going to go through the snow fence.  Sure enough, that was just what we did.  We both survived the scramble with nary a mark on us.  However, it kind of set the tone for the rest of the night.

I immediately shifted into a mental state of fear.  Pure, raw fear.  Each run had me so worried about the ending, that I skipped enjoying the ride down.  I kept going though because I was not going to let this stop my fun.  It was not until the last run that my fear came true.  This time I was all by myself, going so fast, that even when I dragged my feet down, I completely sped right by the course guy at the end.  I went through not one but two snow fences.  I heard my glasses shatter (or at least I thought I did), but got up and realized both me and my glasses were in one piece.  I put my fist in the air and yelled, "Thank God for Costco.  My glasses took the blow from the pole!".  I escaped with some minor abrasions and lived to tell the story.

Why am I telling you this story?  After my run, I decided I had had enough.  I sat and watched everyone else hooting and hollering and thought to myself - what a metaphor for life.  I was so focused and fearful of my ultimate end that I didn't enjoy the ride leading up to it.  I soon realized that perhaps this was mirroring my own personal life.  What am I doing to enjoy the ride leading up to my ending?  What can I do on an every day basis to enjoy the "ride".

I looked back on that final run and realized that right before I knew I was going to make an impact, I just surrendered and let go.  It probably saved me a few scratches by relaxing back into it.  Time to do that in real life!  I asked the course dude why he didn't stop me and he simply replied, because you were going way too fast. Time to slow down and enjoy the ride!!

Great Acronym to remember: FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real!

As Always,

P.A. Walker

Really, Braces at my Age?

I am not quite sure if this qualifies as an adventure, but my quest this week is going to be to finally get braces after years of having my teeth bonded in front. I have a huge David Letterman-style gap in my front teeth. I have fought it for years. I finally realized last month that it was time. Can you imagine I am 50 and will have braces for the very first time ever?   In order to do these braces, my current bonding has to be taken off leaving me with a huge gap. I cannot imagine what this will look like but am just going to go for it. Enough with the cover-up. This is kind of a metaphor. I have been working through my layers of emotion and old baggage. I am no longer afraid to expose certain things, so I guess whipping out a huge hole in my teeth will be symbolic. Hang on for the news! Today was B-Day, Braces day. I was having an anxiety attack going into the appointment. After all, I had no recollection of just how big this gap was going to be. Well, it was bigger than I ever remember. You know it is big when the dentist goes “Oh, yeah, that is a big one.” with his eyes wide open. I said I should have done this years ago and he agreed. Pulling off the bonding was not a big deal, much to my relief.

As I laid in the comfy chair and waited for the orthodontist to come in to start the next phase of fun, I rubbed my teeth along the newly freed gap and thought to myself, "Why wasn’t this taken care of after that horrendous 7th grade picture when I had on my school uniform courtesy of Immaculate Heart of Mary School where my mom made me go?"  My mom pulled me out of public school in the 7th grade and put me in Catholic School. Why, did she think she was going to save me? I was the only one of five siblings who had to endure this.

Getting back to present day, I decided not to get caught up in the regrets and anger of the olden days and realized that my path had me wait until this exact moment to go through this experience. The actual putting on of the braces was not bad at all. It took maybe an hour and I relaxed into my yoga breathing and all was fine, except for the dental assistant who kept reminding me that she would rather be home than in work today. Really, are you going to be that disgruntled that you would misalign my smile? At the end of the procedure she worked up enough energy to tell me that she was excited to see how it all would turn out.

After I was given my congratulations and my free Park City Orthodontics T-shirt, I was on my sore-mouthed way to lunch for a friend’s birthday. It became it’s usual giggle fest which was just what I needed after my morning. The ladies reassured me that my gap didn’t look all that big. Okay you all, I know you were lying. It was the perfect way to open up my mouth and show the world that it is okay. I am okay with how I look right now because I know it will all work out in the future. It is a powerful message to love each day and be patient. Be patient because it will take a year for my gap to close. In the meantime, I will be renting myself out as a beer bottle opener at weddings and other events!!

"Dear Past, thank you for all the life lessons you have taught me.  Dear Future: I am ready now!:

With love until my next adventure,

P.A. Walker

As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram and my Facebook Page Kiva Wellness.

The First 50.4.50

It happened.  I turned the Great 5-0!  What an amazing day/week.  I felt the love from folks that truly mattered.  I had visits from cousins, gifts and lunch with some amazing ladies.  For the first time in my life, I arranged my own birthday lunch.  I knew who I wanted there and it all shook out exactly as it should.  The love and light was very evident that day! For my first 50.4.50, I conquered a long time fear.  It has taken me fourteen years to complete the hike that I have always started to do but never finished because of a raw fear of heights.  It is the Stewart Falls hike in the Sundance Resort here in Utah.  You take the chairlift up one way and the beginning of the hike has you clinging to the side of a mountain with shear drops on one side.  I had attempted this several times before and just could never do it.  That day I made a choice, I could go back up the way we came and take the chairlift down or I could continue on straight into my fear.  I had my son with me and the thought that he would see his mom back out on this hike because of a fear was just no longer an option to me.  I wanted to show him and myself that I could feel my fear and do it anyway. As I hiked along, clinging to any root or tree that would hold me, the F#$% word was flying through my mind.  Why the F#$% did I agree to do this?  How the F#$% am I going to make it around the next bend when it looks like it plummets to the bottom of the earth?  These thoughts swirled around and around in my head but all the time I kept going.  I had the goal of getting to the meadow where it was told to me that the trail flattened out and the views were gorgeous.  The problem was the distance to the meadow that was told to me was actually a crock of shit.  It was an incentive by my hiking buddies to get me to forge on.  Either way, I completed the hike and the views were well worth it.  Stewart Falls is absolutely stunning.   After I finished my hike, I was able to kick back on a rock and de-stress with some dark chocolate while watching all the folks that had come up the "easy" way.  Boy, they sure don't know what they missed.  As I completed my first "new" thing for my new decade, it became apparent to me that I could do this.  I can do it and I will.  It gave me a sense of purpose and awakened in me all the possibilities of the new things that I can try in my 50th year.  Stay tuned for the next adventure! StewartFalls

As I close out this post, what is something that you have accomplished where you felt the fear and did it anyway?  How did you feel after you pushed through it?

"By letting it go, it all gets done.  The world is won by those who let it go.  But when you try and try, the world is beyond the winning." - Lao Tzu

Peace Out, P.A. Walker