I posted this quote from Georgia O'Keeffe on my facebook page today, “I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.”
Yes, this is almost exactly like one of my most favored life mottoes, " I am terrified all the time, but I just show up anyway." Honestly, this is not much of an exaggeration. Some of you who know me might be surprised at this as I generally come across as confident, secure, poised. The truth is that I have been nervous and afraid for as long as I can remember. Anxiety of varying degrees has been a constant companion. The traumas of my life, and there have been many, have rocked my world and sometimes ravaged it, but I have always just kept showing up. I step into the fear and through it. I know that it is only in walking into that fear, though it makes my knees weak, my body tremble, my mind quake, that I will make friends with it, learn the lesson of it. I also have refused to let fear keep me from doing things I want to do. So here is a list of things that I do or have done that I would not have if I let fear get the best of me.
teach yoga and yoga dance - I love to do this and it fills me up so much but I am almost always afraid up to the moment that class begins and sometimes all the way through class. Taps into my most major fear, fear of rejection.
run marathons- Afraid to fail, afraid to be weak or in pain.
do triathlons - Cycling and swimming bring me right into my fear of death, so completing these has been a major breakthrough.
try art school - Serious fear, as in order to do photography I had to do classes in other media, a major learning experience for me even though I did not finish.
travel- I lived in Spain for a year, have gone to Costa Rica, go to Australia quite often and travel in the U.S. and I am afraid of flying
snorkel The Great Barrier Reef, zip line in Costa Rica, wall climbing, - All great life adventures I did in varying degrees of terror.
write a blog- Major fear of rejection involved, not being good, being wrong, being judged.
take on higher levels of training, assisting programs, doing workshops, leading yoga teacher training -
Saying yes even though I am so unsure, so very afraid.
Do my practice, meditate, pray - These activities are about deep inward looking and not just at the nice stuff but also the dark corners and the exiled and hidden parts, but this is the only way home.
have a family -This one is huge and I was so completely terrified going into this grand adventure I could barely see straight. I was so afraid I would be horrible at it, so afraid that I would get it wrong and cause a helpless being great suffering and harm. Thank God I stepped through the fear! My family, my husband and kids are the light of my life, they fill my heart and lift my soul.
I could go on and on. My point is that if you are afraid join the club. Fear can only win if you are not willing to step into it. Be terrified, tell someone about it, and then just show up anyway. Take it from me your life will be so much richer if you do.