Last week the boys were out enjoying every moment of being snowed in and off of school. I sat watching them through the window from the warmth and comfort of my couch. I could hear and see their excitement each time they flew down our street on sleds. But I was simply an observer.
I had this moment while I was watching them. This moment when I recognized just how fully they live. Every moment is for the taking. Every day is a new adventure. They don’t allow fear to keep them from attempting some new trick. Instead they fly forward with every ounce of gusto they can muster up. If they fall, it’s not failure. It’s an opportunity to adjust and try differently. Snow, new people, trampolines, beaches, skateboards…all new opportunities to dive in and experience! Without hesitation or expectation.
As I watched, I realized I want to be more like them. More childlike. Less afraid. Fewer hesitations and expectations. I don’t want to sit on the sidelines of life watching from behind a window. No! I want in the game!
The game was happening and it was not a time to be passively observing. So I geared up to sled with the boys and raced down that hill screaming and laughing and experiencing the joy of being a participant. I was living life beside them.
Later that evening I questioned whether I had consistently been avoiding moments or opportunities that required me to explore new ideas, push through fears, drop my preconceived barriers, leap without thought, or live with gusto. I have sidelined myself often in the past. This time my questioning brought me to an answer that I was really pleased with. I was happy to learn that I have been making forward progress. I am taking more risks. I am opening myself up to ideas and experiences that had sat behind tightly closed doors. For most of my life I have more often said ‘no’ than ‘yes’. Now I am saying a lot more ‘maybe’ and ‘yes’. And that feels amazing.
I started jotting down experiences I’ve had over the past few years that required me to drop my inhibitions and allow myself to be fully vested in life. Some of these I’ll write about in more length. Some are only significant to me.
- I questioned my religion and became an atheist
- I went to Haiti after the earthquake and volunteered at an orphanage
- I tried on being a vegetarian and made it 8 months. I’m ready to get back on the vegetarian wagon.
- I started practicing yoga
- I ran another marathon
- I marked running HTC off my bucket list
- I smoked weed
- I moved and started a new life
- I took a leap and started over with my husband
- I floated in a deprivation tank (twice)
- I tested not owning a microwave. I will likely never own another microwave in my lifetime.
- I signed up for an intensive journaling workshop
- I went to a co-ed clothing optional spa and took my clothes off
- I learned to SUP
- I put purple in my hair
- I started making all natural skin care products and selling them
- I organized a girl’s weekend with brand new friends
- I went off my anxiety meds and focused on more self-awareness
- I submitted my paperwork to get my CVT license re-activated so I can get started on my career again
- I said ‘maybe’ instead of ‘no’ to a friend who invited me to a progressive church. I concluded with no but I gave it space first.
- I accepted an invitation to write a children’s book and wrote it. And I believe it’s good.
Fear is slowly losing its power over me and the more I accept fear, without fear having the control, the more I’m invested in this game of life. Fear is in me but fear does not define me. Nor does fear need to define my experiences. I realize that we can coexist as long as I remember who’s in charge. I am in charge.
I am in charge and I’m here to play!
I’d love to hear your stories in which you challenged yourself to push beyond fear. Journey on, Readers.