This seemingly innocent footpath used to scare me quite a bit. You see, on August 3rd 2017 I was walking our dog Max and he got into an altercation with another dog which he was very lucky to survive. After that my nervous system was shot. It took me ages to get back into walking him again. Passing other dogs scared me so much. I didn’t feel safe. I also didn’t feel like I could keep him safe. I kept re-living it over and over, unable to sleep and unable to talk about anything else. I was traumatised and addicted to the fear.
On August 26th, I worked up the courage to finally take Max out for our first walk alone together. He had been out a couple of times before that but we had the protection and safety of my fiance Mat. It was a big day and I was so proud of myself. On that day I had a choice. I could choose to stay at home and live in fear, or I could get back to doing what we both love – being outdoors in the afternoons, lapping up the sun. I chose love over fear.
I also had a choice to make about this footpath. Although this footpath isn’t where it happened, once we got back out there and walking, this place actually made me more fearful than the actual location of the event. With trees/shrubs lining both sides of the footpath, there’s nowhere to go if you encounter someone. It scared me, being in close proximity to other dogs was too much for my nervous system initially.
I’d lost trust. Not only in myself, but also in other dogs and their owners.
I had to make another choice. But this one wasn’t a single choice, it was a choice I had to make regularly. I had to choose to walk through here the first time, and then each time after that. Some days I couldn’t, some days the fear felt too strong. But I kept going, I kept choosing love. I could have chosen to avoid this area forevermore. But I didn’t.
It wasn’t easy, there wasn’t a quick fix. I had to choose between fear and love each time. Each time I chose love the fear had less of a grip on me. I could have easily just stayed home and never walked him again. But that would be playing small and I’m not here in this life to play small. I’m here to rise, inspire and shine.
Now we walk through there every day.
Walking him is my happy place and I choose love. Every. Single. Day.
He spends his days waiting patiently for his afternoon walks, often snoozing on this (not cheap) couch in my home office. It’s his throne and he loves it.
If you’re experiencing fear, or any other manifestation of fear, I feel you! Fear shows up in alllll sorts of different ways – frustration, stress, anxiety, worry, doubt and pain (to name just a few). If that’s happening for you right now, give yourself 10mins and do this. You might even wanna save this link for when it happens in the future, cause it will. We’re human.