I have said this and believed this for as long as I can remember. Okay, maybe since around junior-high or high-school. At some point I realized the rush of taking on something I was afraid of and getting to the other side, and I was hooked. That doesn’t mean I chased that high with reckless abandon. In fact, did so with a little less enthusiasm with each passing year. Some of that is wisdom. I know how bad it hurts to fall…off a horse, off a pedestal, out of love. But with wisdom come too many fears sometimes.
We all have fears. Some of us more than others…maybe. (Likely they are just different fears.) But it is when I give into those fears that I feel most constricted and unhappy. Usually I get to a point of discontent that is deep enough that I have no choice…I have to face them head on and move toward them, and what’s next.
I believe we are motivated too much as adults, not by the pursuit of pleasure and happiness, but by pain and discontent. It is only when a situation gets painful enough that we will really push through our fears. If only we could change that, we could avoid so much of that pain. Fears are paralyzing.
I keep talking, lately, about living more like our child-selves…those little versions of ourselves who liked to build sand-sculptures at the beach and didn’t care if we got a sand wedgie in the process, or stripped off our clothing as quickly as possible to jump into a body of water, without a thought about what we looked like in our bathing suits. If only we could think more about what makes our hearts soar, rather than how they could get hurt….
Kids don’t think so much about avoiding pain. They want, and they ask for their object or experience of desire with every expectation the answer could be a yes. And even if told no, they are likely to ask again. They head into experiences the same way, with every expectation that this is going to be FUN!
Marianne Williamson summarized it well in her book Illuminata:
What I challenge you to do when feeling stuck, or even paralyzed by fear is indulge the beast for a bit. Go ahead and make the list of all that could go wrong. Done. You indulged the ugly creature that lurks in your brain. Now, list all that could go right, and what may happen in your world if it did. Zero in on those. If even one or two of those happened that went well…imagine how you would feel. Lean into that. I know for sure it’s almost always worth the risk to head toward those potentials.
It may be big (leaving a job, applying for a job, falling in love….) or small (tackling a cleaning project, attending a new fitness class at the gym)…but what fear could you face today? Be brave my friends. I am so confident you will feel lighter and freer when you get to the other side.