I arrived at a beautiful remote BC resort with a full car of belongings, and an open heart. What more would I need to begin a new summer job among the stunning rugged wilderness? I happily settled into the comfortable staff accommodations and was welcomed warmly by my new roommates. Once I finished unpacking however, I felt my excitement slowly twist into a dark storm of anxiety. I was suddenly faced with one too many unknowns at once. In fact, there was a summer full of unknowns ahead of me, and my imagination was running wild in the worst possible way. I had kept myself preoccupied with planning this trip before I left, and now that I had arrived my new reality was slowly sinking in. My mind circled around thoughts of my new job, and whether or not I would be up to snuff . It was the first of many things that I have been learning here about myself. The threat of failure can sometimes wreak havoc on my mind. I'm aware of my tendency to be overly critical of myself and have a track record of shying away from things when I am unsure of how I will perform. It's been mostly detrimental for me, and I've had to push myself outside of my comfort zone to try and break this cycle.
Fear can feel like a brick wall. It can stand between us and the things we truly want. Sometimes it makes us take long detours in life that we believe to be "safer", and next thing you know the universe is karate chopping your ass back onto the road you're meant to be on. This can be painful, and having been down the snakes and ladders more than once, I've been trying to be proactive in being true to myself despite it often scaring the hell out of me. When we feel fear, and move directly from it, it becomes far too easy to judge ourselves. I'm often guilty of expecting the worst of situations. It hasn't always dawned on me to expect the best. The day before I left for the resort I said to a friend: "What if it's horrible?". And she replied quickly saying "What if it's amazing?". And I couldn't argue with that. And now here I was, at my amazing new summer home, and yet still allowing myself to get sucked down the rabbit hole of unknown anxiety.
So how do we embrace "the unknown"? How do we see it as a gift, rather than a curse? Over the last 6 months I've learned a lot about the power of thought. I started to practice things like positive affirmations, visualizations, and deep breathing. Quickly into this practice I found myself feeling hopeful again. I'm not sure I would have felt confident enough to even apply to this job if it hadn't been for all the new things I had learned about self empowerment and positive thinking. Once offered the position, planning to make the move was easy. But now faced with my own anxious tendencies, I had to put these tools to the test!
The first thing I decided to do was try and focus on how I might feel in a few weeks time. I imagined I would be somewhat comfortable in my new position. I would have established a daily routine. I would be learning and gaining new skills more and more everyday. And as I got more comfortable, I would be able to enjoy myself more. I tried to imagine myself coming back to the staff house after a hard days work feeling accomplished. Sun kissed. And happy. I clung to this vision.
Next, I had to remind myself that although I had never done this kind of photo gig before, I had plenty of other training and life experience that would help me along the way. I would have to trust the journey and have faith in my ability to stay open and teachable. At the end of the day, the one thing that was known, was that I would strive to do my best. What more can one do?
Now that a few weeks have passed, I look back at my vision and realize that not only was it right, it's far better than I could have imagined. Every day I have moments of pure bliss and gratitude for the wonderful people I work with, the stunning surroundings, and this amazing opportunity. I still don't know exactly what lies ahead of me this summer, but maybe that's ok. I need to remember that my life has the potential to be incredible, and I have the power to make it so. Perhaps the shadow side of the unknown is fear, but the brighter side holds endless potential for surprise, delight, and self discovery.