Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Risky business

Out on a limb, courage, taking chances, stepping out, being brave... So many ways to say it. It can be either good or bad, and sometimes both all at once. That pushing everything you know about the impossibility and unattainability of  your dreams and desires aside and doing it anyway.

Nike was a mastermind advertising genius when they came up with "Just Do It." I know they had the athlete in mind when they started that kind of ploy, but it applies to so much more than that. We all have responsibilities and duties that have to be done, but we also spend alot of time ignoring the things we wish upon or love, but don't make time for...  Aren't you tired of that? I am!  I don't want to be the person on my death bed that says, "I wish I had..." I want to be the person who says, "I'm glad I did..." Don't we all?

Ok, ok... I know, sounds very oversimplified and naive, right? Exactly! Of course it does! But that would be the whole point, wouldn't it? Now, please believe me when I say that I am not advocating throwing your entire life to the four winds and traipsing off into the forest to live off the land... But how about some balance? How about we allow ourselves a little of that pursuit of happiness we hear so much about? 

What happens to us in our lives builds us, molds us and makes us who we are. Some of that is awesome. Some of it is heartbreaking. We lose the ability to see past our current circumstances, we lose our faith in dreams, and in short - we lose. We start focusing on all the wrong things for all the right reasons.

We tell ourselves we will work at this job to pay the bills until... We will stay with this person until... We will live in this particular place until... Until what? Until it becomes a habit we cannot break? Until we are so engrossed and ensconced we become too complacent and lazy to break free from what is expected to what fulfills us? Or maybe, just maybe, we escape from expected and risk a little of our safety for what may bring us indescribable joy, fulfillment and purpose.

I've been reading a book - well, sorta reading a book. It is called "The Flinch" and it is free on Amazon. It is hard to read. Not because of its verbiage, but because of its message. It is about our reaction to pain. As kids we all seemed rather fearless. As adults we move into safe zones and we seldom veer from our cozy corridors of life: wake up, coffee, work, home, tv, bed, do it all again. The change is slow and incremental. We seldom see how we morph from the fearless kids we were to the corridor walking zombies we become. This book challenges that. It tells us that doing life safely is fine, but it will never be excellent. Want to live? Don't flinch, DO! I read a little at a time, because this book is calling me out. I don't like that - I don't expect many of us do. This book makes me angry. Angry at myself for how much truth it holds, angry at the resistance I feel when I try to change it, angry because the buck stops with me. I am the only one who can change my flinchy behavior. Sometimes I feel like a Turrets patient and that pisses me off! The good news is, I see it now.

I am recognizing my Flinches more each day. That is maddening on certain levels, but it is the first step in waking up and facing the fears head on. The next steps come easier each day as well. Like facing a cold shower, I know that it will hurt until I get used to the cold. I know there will be discomfort. I also know there will be an invigorating response and my adrenaline will kick in to spur me on. Yes, I might leave some endeavors with scars. Even the things I know I am called to do may cause me pain. So be it. Until I start living the life I have been meaning to live I will never know the joy of it either, and there is bound to be joy!

What are you missing because of your flinch? Where has your path diverted from one of joy to one of habit? How will you respond to it now? Or are you waiting until...