Why our fear cripples us and the thrill of change

What does one do with their underlying fear?

Some chose to hide it under makeup and fabulous clothing. Others through allowing their work to become their life. Some chose to live the way society has shown them prior, their values fed on plastic spoons by main stream media and nuclear family TV. Things like college, a spouse, a child, and a mortgage all supposedly confirming that they are on the Right Path. Some of us zombie-gaze into the computer screen well into the wee hours of the night to find ourselves in the morning with more than just bags under our eyes. The questions finally begin to surface as the sun breaks through the blinds or perhaps at the sound of a very irritating alarm clock: “Why do I do this to myself?” and “What the hell am I doing with my life?” Some of us take drugs or shoot them up, some swallow insane amounts of food until they reach nausea. You know, anything to distract us from what’s really going on. Some feel driven mad enough (some call it inspiration) to transform these feelings and turn them into art in hopes that the pain has all been worth something. It had to mean Something. But even paintings that hang proudly from their walls and grand pieces of artwork or literature are not indicative that we have shed this emotion, or healed the burden it has created.

I comfortably sit in my room filled with inspiration. I have shelves filled with books that suggest that I am a cultured, wise, intelligent, spiritual individual. I consider these books a sort of achievement. An accumulation of knowledge, if you will. I have been mentored by Augusten Burroughs, Osho, Anthony Robbins, Eckhart Tolle, Jack Kerouac, Daniel Pinchbeck, Ester and Jerry Hicks, Henry David Thoreau, James Redfield, Seth Godin, Steven Pressfield, Terrance McKenna and Richard Carlson, all in word form.

My fear, probably just like yours, lies in living my life. My fear doesn’t allow me to move past the books or the wealth of knowledge I have acquired. My fear tells me to keep reading, keep researching, keep accumulating. My fear doesn’t tell me to go out into the world and manifest my visions. My fear keeps me well nestled in my solitude as I sit in anticipation for the next piece of information to consume. My fear ensures that all the tools I have discovered and even praise, collect dust, as they wait for me to consider that they are the very things I need to recreate my life, once, twice, and maybe a third time over. Is it possible that this idea of reincarnation or rebirth can happen every day, or at any moment? The moment we decide to push ourselves through yet another womb. To revisit the light once more.

A lot of us have become accustom to assuming that great success happens easily and only to “certain” people. We see a weight loss transformation: a one year journey edited into a 45 minute video and this is how we are used to witnessing change. But not all change happens this quickly. Most change occurs gradually, just as we gently form from embryo to infant to child to adult. And just as gently as we fade away.  Any business person will tell you that they had to endure many failures in order to find their success. That it didn’t and rarely happens instantaneously. Change is a process and our perception of it has become tainted by the very media that sells us these phenomenal and moving transformations. And while I too have shed a tear to see someone strive to reach their goal, I know the journey was arduous because I have been there, climbing over rocks and scraping my legs as I go. However, once you become accustom to the new level you have reached, it becomes your new familiar, you reach a plateau and life settles again. You forget the journey, because it’s behind you now and your life in the here and now is all that sits before you.

So what if we mess up? What if we let ourselves down? It is too easy to fall back into old ways and exhausted habits. Too easy to say “I can’t do it,” and “I knew this was going to happen.” It’s too easy to give up and forgo the effort. Because it’s going to take a lot of effort to change your life. To change your state. To change your situation. Perhaps instead of asking ourselves what we have to do or what we have to sacrifice in order to fulfill our vision, perhaps we should ask ourselves: “What do I lose if I don’t?” and “What will I gain if I do?”

What we LOSE is time. We age and grow tired as we rinse and repeat the same patterns. We’re unhappy. We’re bored. We’re unExcited and unInspired. Maybe we’re not entirely sure how to change, but we’ve grown comfortable and in some ways content. We’ve found something that works, regardless of how poorly it may function. It’s been enough or maybe barely. It’s easy to find contention in the familiar and predictable. There is no risk involved. No effort. Only knowing the steps and walking the same path. Over and over again.

What we GAIN is thrill. We throw ourselves into the unknown and it is terrifying. We may find ourselves recycling countless thoughts in our head:

What is going to happen?

What if I fail?

What if I succeed?

What if I dare try?

The unsettling uncertainty may cause us to crawl back into our haggard shell. For a moment we escape the wind but it becomes difficult to deny that the world is waiting, and we know that soon enough we’ll have to face it if we want to feed. The thrill may cripple you or it can reinvent you and introduce you to strength you never knew lay within you. It will challenge you and make demands you’re not used to nor comfortable with. But in exchange for your courage, the thrill will reward you. Imprinted in your mind is a memory. A recollection that ensures you’ll know how to do it next time and how you won’t. An experience provides more depth than a thought and it is heavy with wisdom. Besides, what’s more thrilling than to realize you’re still alive, and that your fear failed to bring the end of you.

Understanding that fear is a survival mechanism is something that can help us accept that fear is experienced by everyone and every species. While it is meant to keep us alive and alert, it can at times seem more than a little inconvenient. They say that there is a very thin line between being insane and being a genius. Perhaps we have to be crazy to try. Perhaps for some, the thrill of an attempt lies in what one can discover rather than what makes one cower.

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