practicing courage

Courage is: feeling afraid, diving in anyway, and transforming.

We feel afraid, with the recognition that no one gets out of that part. We feel afraid, understanding that it isn’t “bad” to feel afraid, it’s just part of what comes up.

We dive in, anyway, with the understanding that refusing to live to our full potential simply because fear is coming up is less than we were meant for.

We transform–because that’s what always happens when we make the choice to be with our fear. Perhaps the transformation is huge, and perhaps it’s only a millimeter or an inch of difference.

Nevertheless, that inch is one more inch of freedom. Every inch is worth it.

The greatest fear? That our magnificence will be blinding.

To let all of that love in, especially when we’ve been living a lifetime with no context, no prior experience for the glory of really letting all of the love in?

–terrifying.

To let all that love in would be vulnerable, a state of complete surrender, and Ego/resistance/wounded inner child finds no safety in surrender.

Truly–what if there were no problem to “fix,” because you were already equipped with everything you ever needed?

What if you lived as though that were true?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” –Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

I’m sure you’ve read this quote, before.

The question for you now is: What will you do? What action will you take?

The Dalai Lama once said that the most important meditation we can undertake is “Critical thinking, followed by action.”

This is your call to action. It is issued to you directly, and with love. It is issued to you with complete belief in your potential to work with and love all parts of who you are, rather than being an adversary to those parts that are more difficult to be with.

It is your birthright to live in a way that is opened up to all that the world has to offer, and to use your openings to help others to open.

This question can be taken as a cliche, or it can be pondered deeply: What are you waiting for?

 

so you say you want to live “in the moment,” do ya?

Acceptance. Surrender. Being with things “as-is.” Presence. Being “in the moment.”

None of those things are even possible as long as your relationship to fear is one of stuffing it away, trying to deny its very existence, or making it wrong.

We can’t “live in the moment” if we’re practicing all of the ways to avoid living in the moment.

Sometimes, fear is what comes up “in the moment,” you know?

If what you want is acceptance in your life, especially of yourself and the people you live with, examine your fears. Be with them. Get curious about fear. Dialogue with it.

But don’t shut it away.

Fear just “is.” It’s a challenge along the way.

Breathing with and being with fear as it arises could be one of the most powerful meditations you could ever practice.

The theme of so many of my posts lately has been to be direct–to ask you to do something beyond simply reading the post.

So–What might you do, in this very moment? What might you choose? What might you practice? What might you breathe into and “be”?

What if the meditation of being with fear were to start right here, right now? And if you lost that meditation for an hour or a day, would you be willing to pick it back up as soon as you noticed, just as you would return to the breath if you were seated upon a cushion?

You want presence, surrender, acceptance, and living in the “now”?

Then go to the now–even if the “now” contains within it fear of “not doing it right” or fear of change or any other discomfort.

Being with what arises without condition is powerful.

 

Da Nile of Fear

This one always gets me, too: “Oh, but I’m not afraid.”

I don’t believe it.

Everyone is afraid, somewhere. People just don’t always claim it. I dare you to read the entirety of this list, with a keen eye for recognizing yourself:

Fear will show up as:

resistance, low grade anxiety, forgetting, not “feeling like it,” skipping out on e-courses/meetings/calls/group get-togethers that you committed to, not doing what you said you would do, procrastination, self-sabotage, creating drama, running “mental drama” in your head, replaying old situations and getting triggered, imagining future scenarios and planning a defense, persistent anxiety, giddiness, detachment, numbing out, abuse of substances or people or self, high-risk behaviors (oddly enough, it’s the amplification of fear in an attempt to wipe out fear), cheating on partners, dragging your heels, refusing to make a choice and pretending as if that is not a choice, rationalizing (“I’ll do it next year”), justifying (“Now’s just not the right time”), buying more books that you don’t read or finish or actually utilize, creating obstacles such as more debt or being over-committed, lying, fibbing, manipulating the facts, trying to be right at all costs, making it someone else’s fault, rigid fundamentalism, hating the “other,” arrogance, all of the -isms, condescension, taking fixed positions on issues, accumulation of stuff, dogma, attachment to a label or over-identification with a group, rage, sadness, depression, avoidance, shame, running Stories without checking them out, holding grudges and resentments, taking care of everyone but yourself, using caring for others as an excuse not to do the things you’ve committed to, shaming, blaming, taking no position whatsoever and going through life as an amorphous blob shaped by others with no personal identity…

No, this is not a complete list.

Yes, I do some of these things.

I’m not pointing out that the emperor has no clothes, just to be an asshole.

I’m hoping that you’ll laugh with me a bit, at the utter folly and madness that so many of us go through around pretending we aren’t afraid, that fear doesn’t touch us, and that with enough meditation and the right yoga pants, we will never again be afraid.

I’d love it if the world would ditch “living without fear” as a goal.

I’m hoping that what I share here will light a fire under our butts and get us to stop wasting time.

This is life! What are we waiting for? There are no discounts, no refunds, no special perks at the end for living life, halfway.