I am petrified of alligators.
I am petrified of spiders too, but those I can squish with a shoe. While I know this messes with karma and the circle of life, it makes me feel in control of my fear of eight legged arachnids. Gators. Not so much.
I love adventures!
But not this morning. As I left Naples in a thick morning fog I was totally unnerved.
Alligator Alley, the stretch of highway between Naples and Miami, stood before me and the Integrative Nutrition conference on the other side of the state.
Trying to quell the fear of my car potentially shutting down on the highway (like it did last month in city traffic) and leaving me in the middle of Alligator Alley (without a shoe big enough to squash a gator) I meditated before starting my trek.
I am brave, I told myself.
I am a big girl. I can do this.
As I tried to focus on the road before me and not the stretch of swampland engulfing the highway on either side of my Nissan Altima, I overheard the most annoying conversation coming out of my radio speakers.
Radio DJ: Are you a hot chick?
The team of radio DJ’s then began debating the definition of a “hot chick” and, of course, callers started buzzing in to defend their choices of attire, confidence, dating style, money management. All trying to convince some guy in a sound booth that she fell under the hot chick category.
I slammed the radio button to OFF and threw in a meditative CD — while looking out the rear view mirror to confirm no alligators were following me.
I made it to Miami without alligator teeth marks in my car.
Note to self: there are two tolls between Naples and Miami. The toll booth operator doesn’t enjoy listening to your meditative CD blare out the window while watching you pull pennies from the bottom of your car console, one by one, until they equal $2.50. Neither do the drivers behind you for that matter.
Have you ever noticed that sometimes the adventure you signed up for, really isn’t the adventure you end up taking?
Still no alligator sightings.
But, I did see one hot chick.
In the middle of the IIN conference today, Lady Gaga appeared.
Escorted by two men without shirts (did I mention I was in Miami) she was all feathered up. She did her “thang” and revved up the room.
After the dance break, Joshua Rosenthal, founder of IIN, made a comment I think is really, well, brilliant.
“Break free from the norm. That is what people pay attention to.”
His words stuck with me all day.
Here’s what I have to say:
I don’t think “breaking free” only means you invest in feathers and surround yourself with half-naked men. I mean, if you want to, great. No judgment here.
For me, it is much more simple.
The reason I went to the IIN Conference was because of The Promise 365. I made a commitment at the beginning of this year to shake up my norm and invest in my head, heart, body and soul. I almost didn’t go to the conference today, I almost bailed (alligators being just one of the reasons) but I forced myself to follow through on my promise.
Whatever it is for you, maybe it’s time to break your norm.
If your norm is sitting on the couch. Walk a little?
If your norm is running a marathon. Yoga a little?
If your norm is working 80 hour weeks. Vacation a little?
If your norm is taking care of everyone else. Take care of you a little?
Tomorrow, I will be back on “The Alley” headed to Naples.
I’m not saying I won’t be afraid of alligators.
But I will be more prepared (get ready toll booths!) and confident.
Because, I already took the first step by just getting in the car.