When I was a newbie at Tracker School (see trackerschool.com) I wanted to go to the Scout class, which had the prerequisites of the week long Standard class, the week long Advanced Standard class, and the week long Advanced Tracking and Awareness class. The scout class is also a week long class where during the day you learn techniques of the ancient Apache scouts, and by night your team is camouflaged and raiding other team’s camps till usually 2 or 3 am. Most days there is a time in the afternoon where the students do exercises on a log over the swimming hole, walking the log, walking it blindfolded, jousting with out partner, and even blindfolded fighting to name a few. For me, this sounded very exciting, but I was terrified of not being up to the physical element of the class.
Fear drove me to work very hard on getting in shape for the class. I lost 25 lbs and was able to jog two miles without stopping. Not too bad for a 47 year old mother of 9.
I was also afraid of the log work over the water, so I practiced walking on the narrow edges of 2 x 6 boards nailed to posts, both eyes open and blindfolded. That preparation taught me a little of what to expect, and how to overcome my fear. I ended up enjoying the log work more than anything else that week!
One of my teachers, Karl Direske, of Wilderness Fusion, told me, “There is only a fine line between fear and excitement.” I can see that. I was so excited to go to Scout class, but I was also afraid!
Sometimes the desire to do something can drive us to overcome our fear and accomplish something we really want to do. In this case, I was afraid I would not be physically fit enough for the class. My desire drove me to spend a couple years preparing both mentally and physically. When I finally registered for the Scout class I was also registered for a Vision Quest class the week before, and an Ancient Scout class the week after. One of the young men in my school, upon hearing my plan, thought three classes in a row would be too much for me and I vacillated about taking the three classes consecutively, but an older woman from the school said, “Go ahead and do it if you want to. Don’t let him talk you out of it. You’ll be fine.” I did go ahead, and it was wonderful! Not only did I succeed in the classes, I also lost another 25 lbs during those three weeks, and was finally down to my ideal weight!
Fear is the opposite of faith, but fear can be turned to faith through preparation. That reminds me of a scripture I heard once . . . “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.” Well, whaddaya know, ha ha!