When our running club scheduled a trail run, it sounded like fun. I suspected it would cover some rough ground, maybe even a stream or two, but this unsuspecting runner was totally unprepared for bogs or the possibility of being stuck and frozen by fear.
I was ready for a hard race, but when we came across the first bog, felt unsure how deep it was and whether I might lose my footing . I decided the best way to get through was to stop thinking and just keep moving. I followed two other runners and as we navigated the muddy mess we noticed movement in the mud. A large black snake began to surface but then disappeared back down into the bog. My speed picked up dramatically and next thing I knew the bog was behind me. Although wet, cold and covered in mud, it felt good to be back on dry terrain.
As we approached the last leg of the course, I was really looking forward to reaching the finish line when – you guessed it – another bog! I started through it but this one was larger and much deeper. Panic rose in my throat and I can still hear the sucking sound as I lifted each foot – not knowing if my shoe was still on.
Mired in mud up my calves, I got so rattled I stopped. Big mistake! I lost my nerve, stuck and frozen by fear in that bog.
It wasn’t the idea of snakes that got me but fear of falling in the oozing muck that clutched at my heart. I looked in vain for a way out while trying to block visions of TV cowboys meeting their demise in quicksand. Fellow runners tried to encourage me to stop worrying and just follow them. But I was stuck!
What finally helped me set my paralyzing fear aside and deal with the situation was remembering what the Lemurian Philosophy teaches about the power of positive thinking. To overcome my fear, I visualized crossing the finish line. This replaced worried thoughts about falling into the mud. I could stop thinking of myself and focus on the unselfish kindness of those runners who were also wet, cold and tired but cared enough to stop to help me.
With their support, I managed to get through that bog and finish the race. I surely was a muddy mess but I didn’t fall in. And I still had my shoes! Looking back on this experience, I realize my unfounded fear was paralyzing. Yet I was able to get past it and learn something. Now when I find myself in a difficult situation and there seems no way out, I can think back to how I overcame that muddy bog. It helps me to know I can work through a challenge and come out okay at the other end.