Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fear Is A Big Dummy

On we sweep with threshing oar, our only goal will be the western shore. So now you better stop and rebuild all your ruins, peace and trust can win the day despite of all your losing.

-Led F***ing Zeppelin

Boldly go where no man has gone before. Onward through the fog. Yea, though I walk through the valley of death. Buck up Buttercup.

Fear is a powerful thing. Fear isn't real, it's only a story we tell ourselves, but we are powerful creatures and our imaginations are strong. Fear is often cloaked and disguised as protection, fear is sinister and tricky like that. Fear has it's place at times, there is good reason to fear a rattlesnake all coiled up and eyeballing you. Should you encounter this . . . turn the f*** around and run. But I am, of course, talking about the fear in life that robs us of true joy. Fear is limiting, fear makes us live conditionally, fear says you are good enough for some things, but not others. Fear is an asshole. Let's imagine you know someone who does their best to tell you that you can only go so far, who tells you are not good enough for this or that so don't even try, who whispers in your ear what a failure you will be and how embarrassing it will be and then no one will like you and it would be so much better if you just settled for oatmeal raisin cookies because you can never hope to achieve or attain enough to warrant chocolate chip cookies? And who the hell EVER chooses oatmeal raisin over chocolate chip willingly? No one, not one single living soul. Anyway, let's say this is a real person, would you ever talk to that person again? Would you ever, ever say "Wow, you are a good friend for belittling me and enumerating all the ways in which I am not worthy. Thank you kind citizen!" Or would you tell that person to go straight to hell? The voice in your head that tells you you can't do something can go straight to hell, and we all must find the courage to stand up to that voice . . . and just like the cowardly lion, it's there, it's been there all along.

So as I mentioned before, fear can seem like a protective blanket. You can hide in your fort of fear made of blankets and peer out at the world and feel quite safe for a very long time. But what about when you see all the other kids having fun? What about all the other kids climbing trees and riding bikes? Oh but wait, that kid just fell out of the tree and broke his arm, that other kid tried to pop a wheelie on his bike and fell and now everyone is laughing. I can't do that, I may hurt myself, I may fall and people may laugh, I may be embarrassed. True enough, all true, and then where will you be? One day the broken arm will heal, one day the wheelie will be mastered with continued effort, and you will still be in your blanket fort of fear. Your warm blanket of protection ever growing into a relentless prison of stagnation. Oh I know, all too well I know. You think I'm just talking about all y'all and not me? Puhlease. We all have fears. Lorde has been quoted as saying she fears nothing. While I don't believe that to be true what I do believe is that she isn't paralyzed by fear. She doesn't allow herself to stay in one place for fear of what may happen in the next. No one is fearless, but doesn't that make the world so much more warm and welcoming? You're not the only one! I'm not the only one! And guess what friends and loved ones, we are all going to fail and to that I say, BIG DAMN DEAL.

People like to tell me they don't do yoga because they can't, they aren't flexible. Well no kidding, that's why you go. Spanish 101 isn't for people who speak fluent Spanish, it's for people who want to learn. Saying "I don't know how" and "I can't" are true, but do you want to learn? Do you want to try? Then try. I've had a couple of new opportunities and pathways come into my life in the past few months. My first reaction to every single one of those things was fear. You know what's so ridiculous? I had asked for every one of those things to come to my life. We are powerful creatures, if you ask for safety you will get it, but it may be at the cost of joy and passion. If you ask for joy and passion you will get it, and your first reaction may be fear. Sometimes I crack myself up, I ask for something new, I get it and the first thing I think is "eeek! I can't do that! I don't know how to do that!" Well no kidding Einstein, of course you don't know how to do it . . . yet, it's new. But you can, and if you resolve to do it, you will. Not flawlessly, not effortlessly, this isn't a Disney movie. There will be much flaw and effort and skinned knees and bruised ego but if this is what you want, work for it. Option 2: do not expand your view, do not try something that shakes you up, only do things that are safe and easy . . . stay exactly as you are, right now, for the rest of your days, learn nothing, experience nothing. Mmmmmmm, oatmeal raisin because chocolate chip is out of my league.

So fear, well it's f***ing scary, no doubt about it. I just joined Toastmasters and if I don't soil myself the first time I get up to speak I am going to consider that an enormous success. Now here comes the part no one wants to hear (like everything previous has been so heart warming), having courage takes vulnerability. YIKES! Who wants that?! Vulnerability, oh boy, it makes people shrink and shrivel. But I tell you this, being vulnerable and aiming for what you really want, what you really want and not just what you will settle for takes courage. Vulnerability takes bravery and stamina and fortitude beyond compare and that, my dear readers, is where we will go next month. For this month . . . go forth and conquer

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