Fear is a funny thing. I spent all of January (some of you were with me) talking about, thinking about, and writing about making choices based on faith instead of fear. I saw it everywhere, and I really stepped out of fear in a big way. Since then, I made huge steps towards creating some goals that have been in the works for a long time, but have yet to come to fruition due to fear blockages. And not that since then, fear hasn’t come up, it has - but it has been way more minimal. I see it, and I feel it, it maybe makes me feel a little shitty, but I felt so connected to my faith or my purpose in each step that I just kept moving.
About a month ago I started feeling a little more stuck, and these past few weeks have been like running with a 100 lb weight on my back. Now, there’s lots of things behind that, like…the wearing off of the new years goals (lol), needing to shift into new conditions, etc, but the main thing I’m seeing, right now, is the I’m at the cusp of actually doing the things. I just launched my teacher training program, to happen this summer; I’m sending out my choreography reel and all kinds of vulnerable things to people; I’m embarking on another yoga retreat, with the goal of expanding nowhere in sight. I’m short on money, but high on hopes, and oh my goodness, IT’S SCARY!
It’s like, you know when your friend convinces you to do something scary, like ask someone out at a bar, and you agree, but then as you actually start to process doing it you’re like, “yea but shouldn’t I do this first?” And “but what if they are in a relationship?” And “I don’t think I should do that, because that might be rude, and then I’ll send a bad impression”, etc. It’s like all the second guessing floods your brain. Now, in a surface level version of this (like perhaps, asking someone out at a bar), it can be quite obvious that these thoughts are just doubt popping in. But life tends to be a little more complicated, and man we are good at making those thoughts seem rational, important, and even wise. We train ourselves to listen to them.
So what do you do when you’re about to do something “scary” and those thoughts start popping in? How do you know when those thoughts are telling you that you are truly not ready, and there is more to address before you act? And how do you know when those thoughts are only happening because your BS meter decided to go on break, and your fear jumped in and took the wheel?
If you can, pause reading and watch this video:
(Thanks Will Smith…<3).
What he basically just explained, is that - fear IS BS, “the point of maximum danger, is the point of minimum fear.” So the fear you feel, before something scary, is completely inauthentic. Because when you are actually in danger, you are not in fear. You are in sync. You just act. Fear, as felt before the action, is the emotion that decides how we act, not the emotion that happens from acting.
Last week, I went in to have a very very (very very very) simple medical procedure done. Before going in, I had an idea of the amount of pain it would cause, and in my head, given some previous experiences, I thought this procedure was going to be extremely painful. A few hours before, I was training at cirque school, doing handstands, and my back spasmed. I cooled down, stretched and headed home to take some Advil before my appointment. I realized as I walked home that the spasm was coming from my psoas. The psoas is a hip flexor muscle, that connects the spine to the thigh bone. They call it the “fight or flight” muscle, because it’s the muscle that triggers when you have to like, run from a bear. The thing is, now a days, we are not usually running from bears, so often, our psoas triggers for no reason. This is what I believe happened to me. And as I was driving to the appointment, I started to get so scared of the possibility of pain, that I was shaking.
Now, long story short - the procedure was literally painless (LOL), and obviously all the fear was for nothing. But the point is this - FEAR of something in the future caused me to unneccessarily fire a muscle that was not needed, FEAR caused me to spend 2 hours worried for nothing, FEAR tried to do everything it could to stop me from doing the scary thing, which in the end, when it happened, was not scary at all. Now, to give you a little positivity here, I realized that this is what was happening, I called a friend, and I calmed myself down. And not that the freakin hour and a half in the waiting wasn’t still torturous, it really was, but the spasm had already eased up and my back was already relieved.
I also want to add one caveat, as I often do, to say that fear does have a place. Fear is an important part of our evolution, because it helped us survive. It helped us choose situations that led to less pain, more safety, and that is why we are here today. However, for most of us in this modern world, we are confronted with less life-threatening things on a day to day basis, and have lots of time to spend thinking about things, so fear kicks in to keep us safe from doing things are just slightly uncomfortable.
When you feel fear creeping in, you have a choice. Use it as a checkpoint, or a stopping point. Let the thoughts that come from it control your decisions, OR look at the thoughts as just thoughts, and decide what you are willing to overcome. Believe in yourself, AND hold yourself accountable to being safe and prepared to the best of your ability. Fear is here FOR you if you let it. It's up to you if you let it take you down.