Most of my fears can be avoided. Fear of falling, of roller coasters, of walking down dark alleyways alone at night. Fear of death by alligators.
I also prefer to avoid fear caused by reckless choices, icky fear. I probably didn’t do drugs as a youngster due to fear it would kill me. Or my parents would kill me. Either way, fear is what stopped me, not maturity or better things to do or anything else more enlightened. It was just plain fear that kept me alive.
I simply don’t ride the roller coaster, walk the alleyway, jump into the swamp.
But there’s another kind of fear that I try to embrace, or at least face. It’s the fear that you feel when facing a hard truth or a new challenge. It may be the fear of grief or difficult change or even the sparkling, terrifying, exciting idea that awaits you when all else falls away.
It’s the fear that is at the bottom of the excess, there when you peel off, throw out, clean up, or clear away. The fear that you may work hard to keep at bay, but that could launch you forward if you just allow it to surface.
All this simplifying has made space for creativity, for my writing which feels like air and joy and spirit. It has inched me forward as planned and left me to walk through the fear of writing, because writer’s have fear, you know.
I sent something out into the world; I was testing the waters of what’s to come, of my biggest writing project ever. Okay, I sent it anonymously and it was only a piece of it, so I’m really not that brave yet, but it sort of exploded. In a good way. In a scary way. In a 1000- people- reading- it- on -day- one, then 2,000, in fifteen different countries and then all of it multiplying again and again and yikes! kind of way.
Not a huge deal to some in this day of internet-reaches-everyone, but a big deal to me, for sure. This is what I wanted and I’m doing it and here I go… I mean this is largely what I cleared my life for. This and all the other beautiful, magical moments that come with freed up space- with freedom from the stuff that buries the fear.
The way I see it, there are two choices. Allow the fear or recoil and stay comfortable. And if you don’t recoil then you actually, really get to live and expand, scared but sure- footed. Sure-footed because you are damn sure you aren’t turning back, because to do so would feel like self-betrayal. The fear may subside or may sit beside you, breathing fire down your neck, but it doesn’t have to stop you.
Here’s my scary-fun idea: feel the fear, whatever that is for you, if you have any. Doesn’t everyone? Invite it in. Clear the way. It won’t stay long. Or maybe it will, but it definitely won’t kill you. And it may even launch you forward into something new and wonderful. And scary.
So go ahead, simplify and then see what shows up. What are you afraid of?