NOTICING - I Am Freaking Out


My hands were gripping the steering wheel of my rental SUV. I could feel my diaphragm start to squeeze to the point that I wasn't sure any air could get in or out. My shoulders were quickly creeping up toward my earlobes. My heart was racing.  I was afraid.


In this case, I was leaving the Orlando Airport and heading toward my hotel in Celebration, Florida. I had looked up the address and put it in my MAPS app.  I had even synced my phone to the car so I could be totally hands off and let the car tell me where I was going.  Good plan, right?  Then, as I drove to the rental exit I noticed that there was no cell signal in the car garage.  I was as chatty as I could be with the car rental attendant, hoping that if I stalled long enough, I would get a cell signal.  Didn't happen.  Before I knew it, the gate opened up and I was heading out of the safety of the ramp toward a maze of highways.  I tried to keep one eye on the road as I frantically glanced at my phone hoping that signs of a cell signal would pop up.  Now, I was out of the ramp - highway signs pointing in every possible direction - none of them had "towards Celebration" on it. Dang it!  What was I supposed to do?

It got worse! 2 of  my 3 highway options were toll roads. Nobody told me there were going to be toll roads on my way to the hotel. I didn't have any real money. I had not purchased a toll pass.  I could feel the fear crank up another notch. Should I just guess which way to go?  I didn't know what direction I was driving, nor did I know what direction I needed to go.

Still no signal. Time for Plan B.  Head to the cell phone lot so I can pull over, breathe and figure things out.

I got stuck in some terminal loop on my way to the cell phone lot, but at some point, the cell signal and my phone worked it out and I heard a voice say "Exit to the right toward 417 South."   I was so happy and relieved. I could breathe again and peel my sweaty hands off the steering wheel.

I am confident that this whole scenario took less than 5 minutes, but in the moment it seemed like it would never end. I am a grown woman who has driven rental cars in foreign countries without any GPS, but in that moment, I was completely freaked out.

It was not logical for me to be freaked out, but then fear is not logical. It is interesting to notice how quickly I started to blame others for my predicament  Stupid airport for not having cell coverage in the car rental place. Stupid workshop organizers for not telling us that we should plan for driving on tollways (and have REAL money in our cars). Stupid drivers in other cars for honking at me for driving slowly. There was never a point in time when I took responsibility; it was everyone else's fault.

Not only was it no one's fault, but nothing really happened. What was I afraid of?  I was afraid of something in the future - something that COULD happen. Had I stayed in the moment and just drove the car, the signal may have very well connected by the time I had to make my first real highway choice and I would have never experienced the grip of fear. Makes me wonder how I can do a better job of staying in the moment and not projecting into a "what if" scenario. It also makes me wonder about how quickly fear can turn into blame.  Lots to consider here .... and as the quote above says ... FEAR IS 100% DEPENDENT ON ME FOR SURVIVAL!   I have much more control over fear than I might think.


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