“Expose yourself to your deepest fear, after that fear has no power.” ~ Jim Morrison
A few years ago when I was in Sedona, Arizona, I went on a hike to the area’s famous energy vortexes, led by a rather intimidating ‘shaman’. I will never forget standing among those beautiful red rocks, on an equally beautiful June day, and having this complete stranger yell at me: “You are so scared, you don’t even know what you’re scared of!”
I was completely taken aback by the vehemence of his words, so I can’t remember now if I even responded. But I do remember thinking he had no idea what he was talking about because, having just finished 5 weeks of radiation treatment for early stage breast cancer, I was pretty sure that I actually did know what I was scared of back then.
And even today, though, luckily, cancer is no longer at the top of the list, I think I still have a pretty good handle on what my deepest fears are.
For instance, I’m scared of being the center of attention. And of being judged by others. I have a deep, inexplicable fear of anything having to do with vampires. I am also becoming a little worried that I won’t get through all 100 topics on my Official List by the December 21st deadline, which I guess points to a certain fear of failure.
Anyway, as I started to think about this week’s topic to ‘Face Your Deepest Fears’, I was reminded of that crazy shaman’s words, and it occurred to me that maybe he wasn’t as crazy as I’d thought. In fact, maybe he had just been trying to get me to do what this week’s assignment was forcing me to do.
Because it turns out that it’s one thing to know what I’m scared of, but to actually do something about it is an entirely different matter. Not to mention, a whole lot harder.
Ok, so for my assignment this week, I decided to face one of my bigger fears (i.e. being judged by others) by trying to do something I’d been putting off for a while. Ever since last summer, I’d been tossing an idea around with a couple of my like-minded friends about getting a group together to talk about spiritual stuff. Kind of like a book group, but without the book. I kept putting off doing anything about it, though, because (and this is pretty embarrassing to admit) I was a little worried about what my other, less like-minded friends would think of me if they found out.
And, unfortunately, the longer I put it off, the worse I started to feel, because I knew that, deep down, I was really just being a total chicken. I kept hearing this little voice in my head telling me that I better be careful. That if I started this group people may talk. About me. Behind my back. Yuck.
But because it was ‘Face Your Deepest Fears’ week, I made myself take a deep breath, shush the little voice in my head as best I could, and figure out what I needed to do to get this group going. And so I picked a date, made a list of people who I thought might be interested, and sent out an email inviting them to come to my first ever Consciousness Group.
Pushing the ‘send’ button on that email may have been one of the scariest things I’d ever done. That is, until I had to stand up in front of all the people who had, happily, all come to the meeting, because that was even scarier.
But the way I felt after it was over was definitely worth every moment of terror that led up to it. I imagine it’s the same way someone might feel after they’ve gone skydiving: elation that they’d found the courage to actually jump out of an airplane into thin air, and relief that the parachute had opened so they didn’t plummet to their death. And though I realize that starting a spiritual group is a very far cry from jumping out of a plane, that is exactly how I felt.
I had stepped out of my comfort zone and survived. I was so happy.
The thing is, in the long run, I’m not sure it actually matters how I stepped out of my comfort zone, just that I did. Because whether it’s starting a group, fighting cancer, or jumping out of a plane, the important thing is to find a way to quiet the voice that’s telling me I can’t, so that I can hear the other voice that’s telling me I can.
Because, as Eleanor Roosevelt once said:
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence in every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
And I think that in order to do the things that I’m not sure I can, I have to listen for the voice that’s going to remind me to be brave, rather than careful. The one that’s going to urge me forward, rather than hold me back.
And, most importantly, the voice that will remind me to be who I really am, rather than who I think everyone else wants me to be.
I just have to remember to be brave.
P.S. I realized as I was crossing ‘Face Your Deepest Fears’ off my Official List just now, that I can actually cross off a few other topics as well. Because in order to do this week’s assignment, I really, really had to ‘Muster Up Some Courage’ (#54) to ‘Form A Mastermind Group’ (#80) so I could ‘Be A Leader’ (#83) to ‘Share Unique Insight and Wisdom’ (#38) and ‘Guide Others in Raising Their Consciousness’ (#77).
At this rate, I might make my December 21st deadline after all. Yeah!
I absolutely LOVE this post. It’s so uplifting! I think you are a lot braver than you give yourself credit for.
Thank you Cynny!
You are VERY brave! Nice message.
Don’t hurry through to meet a deadline! Love reading the posts and don’t want them to end in December anyway!
This in my opinion is one of your best entries. One of your comments on deadlines caused me to flash on the “Stick of Happiness” that Sarah and I are contemplating this week. if she hasn’t told you about it, ask her. I apologize for the length of the post. But hope you will find it worthwhile.
Love and Blessings,
NEVER BE A PERFECTIONIST
The Eighth Stick Needed to Fuel the Fire of Happiness
I am happy because I never insist on perfection.
To insist on perfection is to insist on the impossible. No person, including myself, is perfect. Noone has ever gone through life without a single problem or single regret. No creature is perfect. Creatures lose their lives because they cannot understand all the dangers that confront them. The world is not perfect either. Nature has caused immense destruction and loss of life. If nothing living in the womb of Mother Earth has ever experienced absolute and continual perfection, why do I insist on it for myself and others? I can experience only failure and unhappiness when I insist on perfection. Why don’t I simply do my best? Why don’t I ask others for their best effort? Doing my best or giving total effort is all I can ask of myself and others. I will not insist on perfection anymore. Knowing and believing in this basic truth will make me happy.
I will never be a perfectionist.
From now on, I will not insist on perfection for myself. I know perfection is an unattainable goal. If I insist on it, then I will be confronted with anger and despair—I will be unhappy. If I ask for eflort instead of perfection, I will be happy. From now on, I will set goals but will not despair if they do not come out exactly as planned. I will look for the best in every effort—I will not dwell on the worst. When I work hard, I will be proud because I know I am giving my best. If my end is not achieved, I will not blame myself unless I know I did not work to my fullest potential. Because I know and understand that failure is part of human nature, I will accept failure and use it to my advantage. I will learn from failure because I know it can teach me important lessons in life. By not insisting on perfection, I find it much easier to be happy.
Because I don’t expect perfection for myself, I know I can’t expect perfection of others. Knowing this makes me a better person. I understand when others do not do what I ask; I sympathize when things go wrong for them; I feel their pain when they are saddened. I can only ask of them what I ask of myself— best effort. If I insist on perfection from others, I will become their enemy. If I insist on perfection, I will be cold-hearted in their eyes. If I insist on perfection, my leadership will be disregarded, because they know that perfection is unattainable. If I insist on perfection, I will never be satisfied by the performance of others. Perfection is a dream; effort is reality. I will live my life with an eye for reality—I will not live in a dream world. I will be happy because my wisdom leads me to this basic truth.
I will not insist on perfection from nature. Just as I cannot insist on perfection from myself or others, I cannot insist that nature be perfect. I will not expect the sun to shine every day, and I will not be surprised when storms create a path of ruin. I will come to expect the unexpected. I know that to insist on perfection in nature is to be the One True Power in the sky. I know I am not God. I will not insist on perfection.
I will never be a perfectionist.
How will this affect my life and the things I do? It will make me happy. I will become more patient, more understanding, and wiser. I will be looked upon favorably by those who appreciate my kindness. I will know and understand thatI cannot please everyone with the things I say and do. By not insisting on perfection, I will come to understand this important truth. By understanding this, I will find it easier to be happy.
If I insist on efiort instead of perfection, I will look upon my own life with a greater understanding. I will accept, with greater patience, the problems that confront me. If I insist on effort firom others rather than perfection, they will come to appreciate me as a person and friend. If I do not expect perfection, I will be happy because I see the world in a new way.
Effort, not perfection, is what I will ask of myself. Doing this will make me happy.
Peg,.. so happy for you to be on week 26 of your journey,.. you do so well to dive into the heart of these matters,.. and come out regenerated!! I am now officially a “My Consciousness Project” believer!! xoxo
Thanks Keith! My journey has taken a bit of a detour the last couple of months so I am falling a little behind! I’m hoping to get back on track the next couple of weeks! xxxx
I am supposed to be sending christmas cards, but I started reading unread emails. and LOVED this post. you go girl. you are so strong. believe. for we beliieve in you!
xoxo ann obes