You may be familiar with the following scenario playing out in your life at some point.
You decide to do something, make something, create something. You start with good intention and energy, it feels awesome! Then you are stopped by some invisible but familiar force and you find a reason to not do it or finish. This process is drains the energy you originally had when you started, but it’s greedy, it wants more so it takes what it wants. The result of this absence of energy can leave you feeling depressed, disappointed, fearful and anxious and definitely not creative, loving and grateful.
I am certain that my resistance to really living my purpose has always been created by the fear telling me that if I achieved whatever it is I’d convinced myself I’m supposed to be that it would somehow not live up to the vision of my dreams. Fear created resistance that paralysed me almost before I’d started.
We are all able to get perfect reception to our own personal radio station that broadcasts for an audience of one. Most of the shows on this station are garbage and they are certainly boring. Starting the day off with the ‘You Suck Breakfast Show’ running through the schedule to bedtime is the ‘Late Night You’re A Disappointment To Yourself Show’ this one includes plenty of full HD interviews with your former self to illustrate how you have fallen short. I call my own radio station Fear1X.
What your station might be broadcasting today -
- You can’t do this you don’t know how!
- You are not respected enough to share your knowledge or gifts so why even bother!
- You aren’t successful enough so perhaps YOU aren’t enough!
- Other people must just have something special you don’t have!
- You failed before so why put yourself through the disappointment of failing again?
- Sooner or later you will have to accept that your dreams are not achievable!
- You don’t have talent!
- People don’t want to hear what you have got to say!
- You’re not ready for this yet!
- Your ideas are not going to make a difference to anyone!
- Yesterday was a disaster and tomorrow surely be a replay you loser!
Fear can feel like a dark and scary forest that you’ve wandered into and can’t see a way out of. There are many kinds of prison we can put ourselves in and this is just the way I have found to visualise it. Even though we create them for ourselves they can feel like very real and inescapable places.
Of course the truth is this forest is created by fear that shrinks us down to the smallest person we can be and aims to trap us there. It blocks out light from the world and from others and in turn dims our own light from shining out for others to see. Just as wandering into this place is our own choice so is release and freedom. Gratitude, for this day, for everything we are blessed with and already have gives us the power to release ourself. I like to visualise this release as the forest shrinking as I grow. As the forest shrinks the trees gradually become smaller and smaller until they are mere blades of grass that I can enjoy feeling between my toes. The brilliance of the light makes me squint as everything comes back into focus. The warmth of gratitude now feels like sunshine on my face.
In 2016 I found myself back in my fear forest, it was dark, it was cold and frightening and of course I totally put myself in there. I had no map, not enough supplies for even a small camping trip let alone a lengthy expedition. My only company was my ego who always likes to come along on these nature hikes out into the wilderness. I had hiked my way into this place in the past only this time the forest was bigger and darker than I’d ever seen it. I spent months in there, wandering aimlessly around feeling small and afraid. The more frustrated I got the bigger and darker the forest grew. In the end the only way I’m ever able to leave fear forest is to remember who I am and absolutely what I am truly grateful for. Only then am I free to leave, free to create without expectation or self judgement. Of course this freedom is always available to me every day that I am lucky enough to still be here. It’s a choice I can make each day which is a wonderful thing.
As Elizabeth Gilbert says in her wonderful book Big Magic which I highly recommend – fear is along for the ride but you don’t have to give it a say in whatever it is you want to create or make or do. It’s job is to keep you safe from real danger. Other than that it’s allowed a voice but not a vote.
I don’t have any plans for any hiking trips in 2017, not unless they are to real places where I can energise myself with nature and fresh air and bring my sausage dog along for the adventure!