I am crystal clear that fear is the only thing that holds me, you and everyone else in this world back from living a life that is abundant and joy filled. And, I know that it’s one thing to recognize fear as the barrier and quite another to actually overcome fear. I can even say I’ll try to not be afraid of whatever it is that scares the living daylights out of me and keeps me stuck in non-action, but there is no forward progress in “try.” There really is no value in trying. Remember the example of “trying” to pick up a pencil. Nothing happens. It’s only when you actually pick up the pencil that something is shifted.
The yoga sutras teach that there is a huge difference between imagining doing something, or reading about something and understanding it in our mind and actually practicing doing what it is that we’re thinking about or desiring. The only real knowing comes from actual, real, tangible experience. That means being in action. Doing the scary thing
I have searched the depths of myself wanting to discover the mechanism that stops me in the face of tremendous clarity and desire to achieve or create a dream or goal. And what I have discovered is that I have a massive resistance and fear around what “they” will think, say or do.
This brought me to the question: Who are “they” anyway? In my mind this mysterious “they” or “them” are shrouded in a gray fog, but the fog is everywhere, like an omniscient collective group being that sees everything I do, think or say. And they are the most judgmental and critical mofo’s you’ll ever meet. They are the ones who say “who do you think you are?” “You look ridiculous!” “You can’t!” You’re not good enough, smart enough, wealthy enough, popular enough, fill-in-the-blank-ad-nauseam-enough!”
And then I realized that “they” don’t actually exist. I can put one single face or name on “them.” So I started practicing reminding myself that “they” aren’t real. “They” aren’t out there and “they” can’t possibly hurt me. Every time I felt the old familiar dread and anxiety that would pop up right after I had a brilliant and creative idea of something I’d love to do, I’d remember there is no “them” and “they” aren’t coming for me.
Whoa, what a feeling of freedom! I am coming to experience what all those eccentric old ladies with 10 cats and purple hair, who obviously didn’t give a flying f*ck what anyone thought, must have been experiencing: the pure joy of doing what brings me joy and laughter and light, period.
This practice isn’t of course a license for me to go around unaware and cause collateral damage to those around me. The practices of non-violence and treating others the way I want to be treated still apply. It is the practice of disappearing a very unreal part of me that blocks me from doing the very good and real things that I’m passionate about and that are part of why I’m here living my life – the purposeful things. This is about rediscovering the sheer joy, power and pleasure in living from a place of childlike wonder. Try it. Let me know how it goes.