Why you are afraid to begin
It’s almost as if it’s not random, after all.
“You are not a victim of the world, but the one who holds the key to freedom. In your eyes is the spark of divine light that leads all beings out of the darkness of fear and mistrust. And in your heart is the love that gives birth to all the myriad beings in the universe. Your essence is unbroken, whole, dynamic and creative. It but awaits your trust.”
“Waiting for the right time” is not a real thing.
It is a half-assed way of saying that you are afraid to begin.
I see a hundred hands going up, a hundred voices saying, “Now hold on just a minute, that’s not what I mean at all…”
And then you’re telling me about how you’re halfway through school, or you have a new baby, or you’re in debt, or you have young kids, or you don’t have kids, or you don’t have a boyfriend, or your spouse has issues, or someone’s sick, or there are family problems, business challenges, always something.
Hey. Listen. I hear you. Life is full of circumstantial hazards that seem to exist merely to keep us from reaching our goals.
It’s almost as if…
As if life is a race, or something, and these circumstances and relationships (or lack thereof) and situations and environmental obstacles and genetic deficiencies and psychological handicaps are put there, in our way, right in the middle of our route, as if, well, as if to challenge us.
No that’s silly. It’s all random. Never mind.
Let’s pretend for a moment. Let’s pretend it’s not all random. Humor me.
Look around at your own life and look for the order in these random happenings, these circumstantial events, these obstacles.
What scaffolding supports or enables each hurdle?
What choice, made once or made many times, has resulted in this effect?
If you look long enough, and are honest and brave enough, you’ll notice some patterns.
One of these patterns might be that just about every time you are free-and-clear to go after that big thing, you encounter some hurdle.
Every single time.
Huh. What about that.
It’s almost as if…
As if it’s not random, after all.
As if, perhaps, there’s a hand behind the scenes, actively keeping you from having a clear route forward.
It’s not demons or devils or imps. It’s not a government conspiracy or a Machiavellian enemy. No, that’s not the direction we’re going, no worries.
It’s not a force of darkness raging against you and your success.
You are your own choice-maker, life-creator, and obstacle-builder. You’re the only one keeping yourself from moving forward.
Deep down in that core of who you are there is a force.
You could call it hope.
It is the spark, the light of creativity and desire, the ambition, the drive, the knowledge that you matter – you – on a cosmic level. It is your soul, your identity, your courage, your meaning, your value.
It is the best of you. It is you.
On top of that force is every word that has been spoken to and over you since your birth. Every experience. Every pain-filled moment. Every deception. Every betrayal.
Every heartfelt but utterly wrong attempt to save you. Every misidentification. Every wound.
Every cultural attempt to fit you into some box. Every codependent manipulation. Every loving but ultimately selfish attempt to change you, hold you, shape you, or keep you.
All the small and big things, together. The good and the bad. The love and the hate, and how we understand it, and let it define us, and how we try to make sense of it.
All our coping mechanisms and self-defense strategies, every voice that’s ever screamed in our head, all of them
this infinite depth
And it covers up what is real.
It covers it up so thoroughly and deeply that you can’t dive in there and see it anymore.
But the spark is not put out. It lives, because it is you.
And it sends up flares. Messages. Whispers.
They sound like desires. They come as impulses. They push through as intuition, preference, sometimes stubbornness.
They get translated into career options or personality quirks or relational needs.
You think about them, you push a few of those messages together, and they become stronger.
They gain volume.
You hear them as a single desire or demand for something more. Maybe you call it your passion. It’s to do good, or to matter. To conquer or to make art. To be successful in some meaningful way, or love, or help, or serve. To be creative, to expand, to understand, to make things, to make a difference, or all of the above.
And you decide (quietly, inwardly) that you want to go for this, this thing that seems like it is more you than anything else.
But every time you get close, what happens?
Life. Circumstances. The hurdles. The obstacles.
The head-down, low-muttered, “just waiting for the right time,” and you keep on waiting.
Maybe it is a force of darkness.
Why do you hold yourself back? Why would you do that to yourself?
Because all those layers are still piled on the spark, on the real you. As much as your gut tells you that this is you and you need to go for it…… those layers (upon layers upon layers upon layers of junk) tell you otherwise.
They say a lot of other things:
You don’t know what you want.
You don’t know who you are.
You can’t trust yourself.
You don’t deserve this.
The big challenge is to understand what is false and what is real.
Every whisper of fear is false.
Every risky move forward, every step of faith, every day you breathe in and keep trying is real.
Every beginning matters. Every step forward is significant.
I hope with all my heart that you will hear this well. Hear it and let it sink in past those layers. Hear it and let your gut tell you what you already know. Hear it and take courage. Hear it and believe.
Quit thinking. Quit looking for proof. Quit waiting for the right moment.
The only way to be is to start being.
If you want to, you can start right now.
Old blog post: 50 ways to stay confused and afraid
New blog post: Tools for making decisions
Last public letter: Waking up slow