Ever since I was a kid I’ve occasionally had a kind of recurring fantasy: leaving everything and everyone I know behind and either surviving in the wilderness or moving somewhere far away and completely different.
Often that fantasy is preceded by recognizing some kind of lack in myself or something I want to improve. I like the idea of being able to go work on myself alone for a while. In fact anyone who’s ever gone on a retreat to figure out a problem or find a spiritual solution probably knows exactly what I’m talking about.
In “Imagine: How Creativity Works” there are a few examples of how changing your scenery or situation can spark a moment of ingenuity that enables you to overcome an obstacle or even just get your creative juices flowing. The idea is that if you remove yourself from your day-to-day situation you (at least temporarily) break free from the preconceptions and assumptions you have made about yourself, or that others have made and you’ve chosen to believe.
The problem is that eventually you have to come back to “the real world” and get back to whatever life you live. Hopefully you can start integrating some of the things you’ve realized or learned, though that’s certainly not always the case. There are a few great teachers out there trying to help people bridge the gap between these amazing realizations and how you apply them in day to day life, but it’s still a difficult journey.
There’s a great quote out there that goes something like “remember that fear is just an emotion. Danger is real and fear can alert you to it, but after that fear just gets in the way.”
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being afraid. It means your brain is working. The challenge is acknowledging fear, discovering its source and purpose, and letting it go.
One of the things that allows you to move past fear is faith, and this is where many religions do a lot of good – they give you something to put your faith into that you know will do the right thing.
With that said there is another kind of faith that isn’t mutually exclusive of the first and that I would argue is even more powerful: faith in yourself. The belief that you will do your best and things will turn out in the end.
The fear of following your intuition about living a different life can be a hidden fear that acts from the shadows – whispering to you in the dark from behind thick curtains.
It can manifest in a lot of fear loops that keep you stuck where you are. “I’m not ready yet” – the desire to make this perfect or to be fully prepared; “What if I wait it out” – the belief that things will get better if you just wait a little longer; “I’ll start slow and then do it” – the (usually faulty) desire to start living your ideal life while clinging to your old one.
There are many other ways that fear manifests itself but make no mistake that it is fear. continue reading…