Tennis, Mental Health
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Overcoming Fear - “A Leap of Faith”
Ordinarily, I travel fairly often, however, due to the pandemic it had been a while. Over the last couple of years, I have focused on work projects, especially on my new Children’s book - The Wonderful Adventures of Lemur Blue.
It was important for me to get away from my local scene for the chance to clear my mind and release some built-up stress. Vacations are a nice way to escape and get in touch with my creative faculties. Whether it’s getting away from problems, neighbors, relationships, or the town it’s a good chance to explore new areas and see what opportunities arise when you're out of your normal routine. You can meet extraordinary people and make new friends for a lifetime. A lot of people like to sketch, paint, journal, or write on their topics of interest.
My goal for this vacation was to get away from neighbors and people and out of my routine. I wanted to feel free in the great wide open and enjoy Mother Nature thoroughly.
My Arizona trip reminded me of the trip that Lemur Blue and his group took in Chapter 7 in my book children's book, “The Wonderful Adventures of Lemur Blue”. Blue’s trip was necessary to get to the Universal Tournament and compete in the Annual Tennis Tournament. My vacation was also necessary as it was a much-needed getaway to the great outdoors and to decide if I would buy a camper trailer and place it on Aunt Theo’s and Uncle Jeff’s property.
Arizona would serve as a second home for me to write the other 5 books that I have planned. I wanted to find a place where I can focus on writing and I need a change from my current location in Sarasota, FL. I realized I needed to travel. So, I went to Arizona to explore the great outdoors and living options. I ended up exploring more than I bargained for.
I packed late the night before my flight. I did not over pack this time, ordinarily, I do. I did a weather check of Bisbee, Arizona, and saw it was 59 degrees late at night. I packed my favorite team's major league baseball jacket and a few pairs of jeans, some shorts, a few long pajama pants, and a bunch of tee shirts.
Having an early flight, I ended up waking up at 4:00 AM for a beautiful clear departure out of Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport at 6:45 AM. There was a cloudy layover in Dallas, TX where it had rained for over a week. I then boarded an American Airlines flight to Tucson, AZ. After takeoff, I quickly fell asleep. I awoke on our initial descent into the valley of Tucson. When we were approaching Tucson International Airport I started recording the landing. I saw the runway and I wanted to get good footage of the scenic topography, mountainous views, and rocky red golden terrain surrounding the valley. We landed in between the mountains. I saw F-16's lined up under a cover for sun protection from the dry Arizona heat. On the drive home, my aunt told me that there is a Pima Air & Space Museum and an airplane boneyard at the airport.
I called my Aunt Theo shortly after the plane landed to try to properly time the rendezvous point to get picked up at the “Arrivals Flights” location. Uncle Jeffrey and Theo drove a few hours north of their home in Bisbee, Arizona up to Tucson to pick me up. Bisbee was going to be home for Jeff and Theo and me for the next week and a half. However, the plans changed and that ended up not being the case.
After being picked up at the airport, we ran a lot of errands. First, we went to my aunt’s doctor's appointment, then Walmart, and lastly picked up her prescription. After that, we stopped at RV stores in Tucson to look at campers and trailers. If I saw something, then I liked I was ready to buy. I got to see a lot of Tucson that day and then we headed to their house. We had a late dinner at Olive Garden in Sierra Vista. We finally got in after dark and I slept like a baby.
I woke up at 10:00 AM after some much-needed rest. My aunt and uncle ordinarily wake up as early as 4:00 AM to get outdoor tasks done for the day during the much cooler hours in the early summer - just before the monsoon season. I focused on work, such as writing blogs and making updates to the children’s book website Lemurblue.com. I had my laptop, iPad, and mobile devices with access to the Internet. We were in a remote area with some mobile hotspots and Wi-Fi access was available. I had my books of files on my portable hard drive so I was able to write content for a few of the other books I’m currently working on. I plan for my 2nd book to come out 6 months after my 1st book and so forth and so on with the rest of the books.
When I was on vacation, it was brought to my attention that my children’s book, “The Wonderful Adventures of Lemur Blue - Life Lessons” became officially published. It was up on Amazon.com where anyone can buy it, even you. I realized this made me officially an author. I had that I had achieved another step toward my long-term goal of publishing books as an author.
We spent most of the 1st day going over options of places to tour, visit, and sightseeing. I was content taking it easy and just relaxing; really what matters to me is just spending time together as a family. It’s not necessarily doing something, going somewhere or someone having to say something that brings peace to my soul.
Kip’s Tips on Healthy Borders and Boundaries
My aunt and uncle’s house is close to the U.S./Mexico border. I was able to capture excellent footage of the border wall.
In any relationship, we gain the opportunity to grow and learn about healthy boundaries. They are important in keeping ourselves safe and healthy so that we can be of greater service to those around us. As they say in the airlines, remember to put on your oxygen mask before helping others with theirs. If you do not put your health and safety first, you will not be in a position to help others and everyone will end up suffering. In a negative or toxic relationship where someone is violating your boundaries, you need to take action and create boundaries by speaking up or in some cases with stronger actions. A relationship can only create a positive effect on all of the people involved in it is a "Win-Win" relationship... everything is consensual, no boundaries are violated, everyone is respected, and contributes so that everyone is better off.
On the second day, we decided to go to the Grand Canyon. We left on a Tuesday planning to return on Friday. We left late morning from the property and drove 6 hours north on I-17. We passed Phoenix and Sedona, Arizona. At sunset, we found a cozy camping site right near a cliff with an amazing panoramic view. We were about 1 hour south of the Grand Canyon. We slept in the camping trailer with the windows open, the screens allowed a cool breeze to stream through the trailer. It was interesting that the cactus at the campsite had a head that looked like Mickey Mouse. I got some wonderful photographs! There were no lights in the area, so we could see the moon and stars easily in the great mountain and cactus-filled wild outdoors. We also saw a satellite in the sky that flew right above us and vanished into the night.
We awoke early the next morning, packed up, and drove north past the Flagstaff area. We turned westward and ventured into new terrain. We saw mini-canyons so we stopped to get photographs. They were stoic. As we neared the Grand Canyon National Park, I started to feel the excitement from the high frequency of the sacred energy at this majestic landmark. The land was vast and beautiful, the ground was light green with varying slopes and scattered trees. There were also steep-grade rock mountains of various colors in the distance.
Just before entering the Grand Canyon National Park area, I saw a few craters on the north side of the road. We stopped at a viewing area, however, the deck was blocked off and closed due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. There were vacant Native American trading posts with gifts and items usually for sale, but the post was abandoned and bare as a bone.
Entering the Grand Canyon National Park my uncle asked me to get him a pass he had in the glove compartment. That pass got us into the parks for free. We arrived at the first site; my aunt and uncle took off the trailer so we could drive without a camper through the rest of the national park.
They had been to this particular site before multiple times so they hung out in the trailer with their dog while I went to explore the site. I walked out toward the attraction and views. When I was walking up I turned on my video camera and took footage of approaching the 1st viewing area. There were many people near a corner where they rotated positions to get photographs near the ledge. The ledge had a fence and rail with priceless views of the Grand Canyon behind it. I shuffled my way toward that viewing area spot.
On the Edge of Overcoming Fears
Even though I have had vertigo and a fear of heights, I overcame it and got close to the edge to get great photos. It was thrilling, eye-opening, and jaw-dropping for me to overcome my fear of heights at the Grand Canyon. I had visited the Willis Tower in Chicago years ago and this was another place I faced my fear of heights. I walked outside the building on the glass platform viewing area where I could see straight down below my feet all the taxis and traffic underneath. If on trips I could overcome my fear of heights, maybe, as an athlete, marketing manager, artist, or whatever you do, you can overcome them too! Whether you have a phobia or you have an over-thinking issue, you can overcome it with focus and great diligence. I trust if you put your mind to it and have realistic goals, little by little with immense focus, you could turn your weakness into a balance or even a strength! Overcome your fears or whatever has been holding you back or those around you, and experience the freedom where a pathway to balance lies.
I decided at the Grand Canyon I would challenge myself again to overcome my fear of heights. I did this practice a year before in Puerto Rico. I did a mantra practice that I invented for myself. Next to the fenced edge of a cliff and viewing area in Puerto Rico, overlooking the Caribbean, I placed my hands together, pushed my arms outward, and then raised my arms over my head. I brought them down, then separated them, and repeated the same sequence a few times. It brings me to a centered and balanced state of mind, a heightened level of peace and strength, despite my fear of heights.
I decided to do the same thing at the Grand Canyon, where I found a quiet place away from people. I did my mantra for overcoming fears four times. However, on the walk back from the area there was a canyon ledge that gave me the chills. So I decided that I had done enough touring for that day and I called it quits with my practice on my fear of heights. I realized that I could always come back anytime I wanted to see the rest of the park.
The focus of the mantra practices allowed me to sharpen my ability to put “mind over matter”. This aided me in overcoming the fears of heights. You can use the same mantra I used or create your own that works best for you. This can assist you during challenging times as an athlete in your particular sport. This can also be applied off the field in real-life personal situations to help calm the soul.
This mantra practice allowed me to enjoy myself and I ended up seeing six viewing areas, getting close to the ledges of each one. I did something I would ordinarily not do - I grew! I once again faced my fears! I applied an effective method to calm thoughts, nerves, and anxiety. You can too, in whatever sport or life situation you may be in. You can grow and develop into the person or athlete you were always meant to be, overcoming your fears and becoming courageous. I got a bunch of scenic photographs, some panoramas, and a few selfies, all with an astonishing background.
Camping at the Grand Canyon
We camped at a remote camping site just outside the Grand Canyon National Park and went for a sunset drive after we dropped off the camper at the campsite. The campsite had a swing hanging from a tree next to a fire pit. There was an Arizona statewide non-flammable outdoors policy due to forest fires. I understand the state taking preventative measures.
Exploring around the state of Arizona and the Grand Canyon with my aunt and uncle was a wonderful experience. It was awesome to be at a place that I've only dreamed of going to and making it a reality. Thank you Aunt Theo and Uncle Jeff for suggesting the Grand Canyon and making my trip a pleasant one. Now it's just another place that is checked off my "places to go" list. We returned on time Friday evening and I flew back to the Sunshine State (Florida) on Sunday morning on a 5:15 AM flight out of Tucson International airport. I had a layover in Dallas, TX, and finally got back to Sarasota/Bradenton international airport and then returned to "home sweet home".
Getting away allows one to experience things outside of the norm in your particular city or town of residence. When I was in Arizona it was an escape into the wild outdoors and escape from reality in some ways. It allowed me to get in touch with my creative senses. As a writer, it’s much more freeing to write in the great wide-open outdoors. My mind opens up and expands more and more throughout the journey. I get the time to write and put other things aside. I did not hear my neighbor’s dog barking the entire time I was gone, which helped my flow of peace of mind and allowed me to be more balanced, centered, and at one with myself.
Whether you are trying to get away from problems, neighbors, relationships, or your town, vacationing is a chance to explore new avenues and opportunities. All kinds of new things can arise when you're in a different city and state. You can meet interesting and unique people along the way. You never know what will happen or whom you will meet - you might meet extraordinary people and make new friends for a lifetime.