My recent trip to Japan will always hold a very special place in my heart – not only because it was my honeymoon, but because it’s true evidence of how overcoming fear and anxieties is pretty darn awesome.
To me, the most representative part of this trip was our visit to the Fushimi Inari shrine, which was a journey by itself. If you’ve watched Memoirs of a Geisha, you probably remember a really beautifully filmed sequence in which a young girl, Shiyo Sakamoto, is running between a row of red gates (torii) – this was filmed in Fushimi Inari.
Imagine my surprise when I arrived to that marvellous place and discovered that the scene only shows a very short part of the 4km pathway that sprawls across a mountain. We had to make a decision right there of whether to climb up to the top or leave and try to see one more place in our list – we decided to climb up.
During our hike, I reflected on many things that had led me to that moment, and I couldn’t stop thinking about how symbolic this place was to me, how meaningful it was becoming as I was taking each step.
I thought of all the things I’d done to get there, all the challenges I’ve overcome, the struggles I’ve faced, the anxieties I’ve left behind, and how wonderful it is that I was able to see that place, to experience it because I’ve done all those things.
I started feeling immensely grateful, for my family, my friends, my body, running, and of course, for the love of my life, the hand I kept holding while I was experiencing this new place.
This journey was really the affirmation that wonderful things can happen when I let go of control, when I take risks, when I realize that even though I still have anxieties to work on I won’t let them dictate my path, I’ll just acknowledge them and move pass them.
I write this hoping that you, the person who’s reading this (and the person who’s writing it), will defy your anxieties and won’t let them keep you from the journeys you want to experience and the places you want to go – this world is just too beautiful to be kept away from it.