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Bring out the giant, don’t eat too many brownies

“Well, I declare,” as my grandmother would say. “I’m hanging out with giants.”

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be called a nut, just repeat the above quote in public. In fact, you may need to watch your back, lest you are hauled off to the asylum.

If you are serious about getting outside your comfort zone and not just reading these columns for entertainment, and if you have connected to the giant within, you may be asking yourself, “Could I be delusional? Where did the me I’ve always known go?”

Not so long ago, I lived in a locked box of fear. Inside that box, I was a slave. Each time I even thought about going outside my comfort zone, an electric current zipped through me. My CZ made sure fear gripped me. Remember, I’m the one who had never driven farther than 40 miles from my home by myself. I’m the one who wouldn’t ride an elevator. I’m the one who couldn’t go out after dark, not even to gaze at the stars. I was afraid something might be hiding behind a tree or under the picnic table.

I wished to escape this fear-based life, but was too afraid and had no idea how to change. One summer, when I was 56, my daughter, then 21, paid me a huge compliment. She asked me to go backpacking with her for three months to Italy. The only reason I went was because my daughter invited me. Everything else about the endeavor scared me.

Can you imagine going to Italy with no credit cards, cell phones, little cash and no reservations? Can you imagine asking strangers on the street if you can sleep on their sofas?

My experience during those three months changed my life because my daughter had her own ideas about travel. Most nights at midnight I had no idea where I’d be sleeping, but Jenny always found us a place and each home we visited reinforced to us the beauty of the human spirit. This was a new experience for most of the Italians who opened their homes to us, so we all were outside our comfort zones, but the result was captivating.

For me, the change came when I realized and then experienced what my fears had denied me all those years. I found new worlds out there that were much more exciting than the one to which I had confined myself. In Italy I left behind my tiny comfort zone. If you would like to read the full story of how I morphed from a scaredy cat to an adventurer, “Two Nuts in Italy” is my book. You can order it from amazon.com or bn.com, and I’d be happy to autograph it for you.

Having lived in a tiny comfort zone all my life, I knew I could not go it alone outside the zone. Until that summer in 2005, I had no idea I could do anything solo, so I reached deep inside and asked my giant for help. Ethel behaved as giants do and stood beside me. Even fear shrinks in the presence of a giant.

It took me six decades to get beyond the tiny CZ I had created for myself. I can look around and see many who merged with their giant much earlier in life and applaud them. If 6-year-olds could partner with their giants, how different this world would be, but it is never too late. Just be forewarned, some may call you a “nut” when they see the new you.

If you have ever wished for more in any area of your life, Edgar and Ethel will “hitch horses” with you and partner up to “git ‘er done,” as they say in Texas.

A partnership is a commitment on both sides. This seems like a moot point, but I know adults who don’t realize it takes two to have a relationship. If anything goes wrong, it’s always the other person’s fault. I’ve even known couples to go to counseling for help and one points out the other’s shortcomings and asks the counselor, “Can you fix him/her?”

Edgar and Ethel will not drag you along. You must do your part, which is usually taking action, although from personal experience I can tell you there have been times I could hardly believe I did something like hauling my horse across the country… alone. So, I know my giant was there supporting.

The mere act of merging with your inner giant is a fear buster. Remember your giant is not on the outside. He/she is the part of you that is big, beautiful, confident, creative, smart — all the things your parents, peers and other elements of our culture have convinced you that you are not.

If you have made the connection to your giant, you are to be lauded, applauded and crowned. Your journey forward with giant alongside will have you laughing at your fears and old beliefs, and moving past them. You might not recognize yourself at first. You might even realize you are responding to things differently. You have put aside the person you have always been certain of and embraced the complete, multi-dimensional you.

A giant’s nature is, well, shall we say … large? When you have a giant on your side, you will notice big changes. Don’t be surprised if things change on many levels. Not only have you instantly become a bigger, better you, but you have made an impact on the rest of the world that will pay it forward.

So, there was no pot in the brownies. It really was an illusion. In the story “Beauty and the Beast,” the beast came to Beauty in a dream and asked her to look beyond her illusions. Many years spent in slavery to my fears were the illusion that veiled the real me. Once connected to the giant within me, I could see the disconnect in all those years. Ethel has helped me experience the power that is me, but the greatest connection she has moved me toward is that there are many illusions in life and, if I can stay connected, I can see them for what they are.

The power behind this realization can move mountains and slay dragons.

As for the brownies, a little pot in them may help you see your illusions, but the giant within you can do the same. As Albert Einstein said, “Time is an illusion.” (He must have been familiar with Pagosa time.) If time is an illusion, then there are a whole lot of illusions going on out there.

Until next week, don’t eat too many brownies, and I hope you’ll join me for, “I need an attitude … what?” Have a great week.

sueellen.hanint@gmail.com

This story was posted on July 18, 2013.