Joy of Overcoming Fear
I use to be terrified being by the ocean at night.
Perhaps it’s because when I was 5 years old, we were crammed inside the hull of a fishing boat with 40 other people adrift at sea not knowing when, if ever we would see daylight. Waves would crash as we sat in darkness, with no food, no water, no bathrooms, and barely any air. Only the stench oh human and putrid fish.
My family and I had just fled communist controlled Vietnam to find a new home and the hope of freedom. With 3 children ages 5 and younger along with my elder grandmother, we snuck through the jungle to board this fishing vessel.
At this early age, the ocean and darkness left an imprint of fear and helplessness. It was a fear of being swallowed up by the darkness.
I remember a couple of years ago, I confronted this fear with friends at a retreat. We stood in the ocean at night, water knee deep and arms locked. It was in this moment the I finally released this fear.
Tonight as I am relaxing within 50 feet of the dark ocean, I am feeling a peace and joy. Being at a luxury resort helps too. But as I reflect on this moment, I feel no fear of what use to bring me terror.
During this 18-month #JoyfulLivingProject journey to discover joy, I am noticing the things that often hold us back from experiencing the beauty around us.
For me, tonight sitting on the beach by the ocean can be terrifying or joyful. I choose joy! But in order for me to consciously have that option. I had to confront my fear and release it. That fear often blocks us from joy we desire.
I am so grateful for the friends who supported me and showed me that during that moment when I stood in the dark ocean, everything was going to be ok. Because of you, tonight I am filled with joy on the beach. Thank you Brian Nguyen, Sheri Fitts, Michael Knouse!