I have never liked traveling alone. Anxiety kicks in when I begin to plan to go to a place I’ve never been before ~ only when I go solo. This week I’m sitting in a hotel room in Boston as I write this, and while I was thinking about the day ahead amidst hundreds of strangers, my first thought was feeling a bit uneasy is a good thing.
Usually, day one in unfamiliar territory, I would be doing a lot of self talk – telling myself that I could do this, there was no reason to be anxious, I had done it many times. . .I’m sure many of you know how that works.
Thinking about this anxiety as a good thing is a shift I have made in recent years. This occasion is the first time I recall it being an automatic thought. In the past I have needed the self-talk to get me thinking of anxiety as a positive. I have spent a lot of time reading about it, practicing thinking about it in the positive, and practicing through yoga training.
It has been a multi-year journey and I am overjoyed to recognize this recent success. It stimulated me to venture off on my own in the city a bit this week. Not far ~ around the blocks near the hotel and into Boston Gardens. As I sat in the gardens, near the duck pond, enjoying some people watching time, I was approached by a monk who offered me a “peace card” and amulet for my wrist, along with the promise of peace prayers. He then asked for my name and a ‘pledge’. My husband will not be surprised to learn that I gave him $5.00. In my mind, in this world we live in, even the promise of peace is a step in the right direction.
As I sat there alone, contemplating the busy lives of those around me and pleased to see so many enjoying a walk through the park, or just a brief respite in their day, I wondered what about this place I feared. I suspect some of the fear is grounded in that same world we live in and the atrocious news I see daily ~ violence abounds and the media would lead one to believe that evil people exist in every corner of the world. I am struck by how strongly those ideas have become a part of my thinking, particularly when I have far more experiences in my life that tell me otherwise. Personally I have experienced people with love and empathy in their hearts FAR more than I’ve encountered people who frighten me.
My other fear is the driving ~ in city traffic. This fear comes simply from lack of experience. Bottom line, I AM a country girl ~ loving the quiet peace found in a rural existence. As much as I love going to new places, it’s the getting there that is troubling. Concerns swirl through my mind ~ What if the flight gets delayed? What if I get lost trying to find connections? What if my luggage is lost? What if I lose my wallet? What if, what if, what if. My reasoning mind can tell me that all the what ifs are ridiculous, but that doesn’t stop them from popping into my head.
As I continue my solo travels, because the fear hasn’t ever stopped me from going, I will continue the self talk, and will continue venturing out and exploring new places. So, next time I see a yoga class of 50 people, with the instructor blasting her instructions through huge speakers, I will find out how I can get in on her next class. Afterall, I am a work in progress.