Today is the last day of my family's 12-day trip to Croatia. As "payment" for this amazing experience, I've requested that my kids reflect on the trip and tell me something new they learned about themselves and the world. I also requested a review of the best memory of their trip and why that particular experience stood out for them.
I've been thinking of my own answers to these questions. My best memory came half-way through the trip on our day-long private boat outing. Our skipper took us to a place called the Blue Cave. He told us that if we snorkeled under the small archway, we would find a quiet blue oasis on the other side.
This was my first outing with a snorkel and I was already feeling some anxiety when I stuck my face in the water and breathed through a tube. But as I watched my 10-year old and 11-year old smile with excitement when they saw the underwater world, I told myself I could do it and put my face back in the water.
Our skipper pointed to the small opening of the Blue Cave. "Go," he directed. "It's ok." I swam over to the opening but couldn't take myself closer than a few feet away. I felt like I was going to get sucked into an abyss if I went any closer. I turned around and swam back to the boat. My heart was racing and I was disappointed I couldn't generate the courage to enter.
My kids asked why I didn't go in and I said I was afraid. This, of course, made Ben and Tess want to out-courage their mom. (Max was confident he wanted no part of this experience and kept himself seated safely onboard.) I told them if they came with me, I would give it another shot.
We approached the cave's opening that was so small that my shoulders rubbed against the sides and my snorkel tube scraped across the top. I was first and got about half-way through, then turned around. They asked what was wrong...why didn't I go all the way? "Come on, let's go," they urged. "We're right here with you."
And so we did. And it was glorious. As promised, inside there was a larger opening with bright blue calm water, the likes of which I've never seen before. We basked in the beauty together, laughing, celebrating and congratulating each other for having the courage to cross the chasm.
What scary chasm do you need to cross to get to the peaceful, brilliant oasis on the other side of where you are now? It's always scariest just before you make the move. Sometimes when we're afraid, we need a courage companion, someone who can say, "Come on...we can do this together."
If you want to write a book, join a writer's club. If you want to start a business, find a small business development center where you can connect with like-minded people. If you want to read poetry to an audience, go to a poetry slam and meet someone else who's never read a poem aloud. Whatever the leap you want to take, know there are others out there who want to do the same thing. Find them and embolden each other.