Overcoming Fears in the Bush

We all have fears to some degree, fear is not necessarily a bad thing, it can be a way for us to protect ourselves.  When fear is allowed to take over it can become debilitating and rob us of living a full life.  We have the power to choose to manage our fears. 

As some of you may know, my husband and I are relocating to Nelspruit, to a plot that we want to keep as natural as possible.  I have grown up in a city, in homes that have been quite sophisticated and I have not been used to rural life like the plot is.  On the plot, we have all sorts of creatures that I am slowly trying to make friends with so that I can live harmoniously in nature.  Of course, this will benefit my husband too as the spine-chilling screams that come from my mouth on occasion when some creature has collided with me cause him much distress. His initial distress is soon followed by heaps of laughter and the rolling of his eyes.

I had conquered the fear of moths and spiders, these were quite easy…I realised they were not going to harm me it was a millisecond and they would be off.  They were just going about their business and they actually don’t want to be near us.  I did not feel that frogs were equally reluctant to co-habit.

I don’t remember ever touching a frog and in my head, I had imagined the texture to be quite sticky and that should I ever touch one it would stick to me and be hard to get off.  I had a big fear of ever having a close encounter with a frog.  Being in the bush, there are so many frogs, I needed to overcome this fear quickly otherwise I would not be able to relax.

I applied a theory that I teach in my personal mastery sessions.  The theory comes from a book called ‘Fear the Friend of Exceptional People’ by Geoff Thompson.  You can get a copy here.  Geoff Thompson developed a model called the inner pyramid, whereby you go through a process of interacting with the ‘thing’ you fear from a distance and then start interacting more with it until you get to a place of being able to do the ‘thing’ or pick the ‘thing’. up  In his example, he starts the process off at the bottom of the pyramid by ‘looking at pictures of spiders’, the process then progresses with practice until one is eventually able to pick up a spider. 

By the way, no frogs were harmed in this process.

I began by not reacting to them when we would be sitting outside on a summer’s evening and they would hop towards me.  I watched them from a distance to see what they did, I looked at their eyes and their mouths and how they gripped with their feet.  I tried to do this with curiosity and not with drama. 

In this video, I took my courage to the next level and touched a frog that had crawled into an empty pot.  You can still see the intense fear that I was dealing with. 

Eventually, I was on my own one morning and lifted a cushion from a chair to dust the leaves off, and in the corner was a frog.  This was my opportunity to interact.  I reached out and gently clutched the frog and held it for a while in my hands.  I was surprised at how soft the skin was and how it felt.  I don’t think that the frog was having as great an experience as I was.  I released it and felt so proud, that I had conquered my fear.  

In the picture above we had a little Foam Nest Frog living on a shelf that was right up against our bus; we had moved the shelf away from it so we could do some paving and this little ‘fella’ was now stuck on the bus, I had to get him off and put him back on the planter.  I confidently picked him off the bus and I held him for a while and still felt my heart racing a little.  He turned to face me at one point and that felt a little more uncomfortable but I kept him on my hand and then slowly gave him his freedom.