I want to write on risk. The choices we make that keep us moving forward. The path of heading out further beyond what we believe is possible is not a fearless one at all. Sometimes it’s full of those tingles of terror, served up with double helping of doubt. Yet to move past being afraid and into action brings some of the most life affirming and life expanding experiences I know. Risk brings real rewards.
In order to move towards what matters most, we have to hold those fears in heart- to let them have their say, listen, reflect, respond and then maybe move onwards anyway, diverting our attention back to action that takes us in the direction of our desires. Action is actually where it’s all at. Dreaming is one thing, daring to do is quite another.
We have to choose to take chance, sure- sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. Develop the resources to reassure ourselves through those uncomfortable periods of uncertainty.
Some sort of supportive structure around us often helps, folks who will mirror our dreams back to us when we have a moment of fearful forgetting. They can tell us why we risked it, reassure us that it really will be OK in the end. Caring connections are invaluable in those moments when we are invariably humbled by our own humanity in the form of doubts, delays and life not showing up quite how we wanted it to. Sometimes we have to tenderly hold our own hearts when things don’t go as planned. But most often we bounce, learning something that is valuable in our lives along the way.
It’s ok to make a mistake, to stumble, to seek guidance and support when we need it. It’s more than ok- it’s where we meet each other, egg each other on; there is a beauty in being in our vulnerability, a blessing that comes with being willing to be seen in our softness, to let ourselves be supported and to support.
Fear will arise, it’s part of life (and if it isn’t then there’s likely some kind of bravado bravery there that doesn’t let us feel the very breadth and depth of life anyway). Yet we are robust, we can build resilience.
It’s ok to be scared- hold your own heart carefully, talk it trough. Be kind and compassionate as you take those next steps forward. Walking was impossible at one point for all of us- now look how far we’ve come.
It’s just a question of gently and graciously challenging ourselves to do that one next thing. Step after step- our lives most often change by day to day drift. It would sweetly serve us to be mindful of what matters most and hear the call to head that way directly and with diligence.
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anais Nin
The risks we take don’t have to be the big and blatant kind. Sometimes the biggest bravery is just to really stay present with what is: the sadness, the strong sensations, the emptiness, the ego’s mindless meddling. To choose to not numb out on drugs, sex or food-to stay present and stare this thing in the eyes. Choosing to stay sitting still, regarding not reacting, is undoubtedly a warrior’s path. So too is wandering off, taking a new direction, daring to be a beginner again –perhaps at something new, somewhere else, maybe with someone inspiring we’ve just met.
There’s no failure in failing, there is however deathly defeat in the denial of our own wishes and wants.
Even if we play it safe, life will still happen to us anyway. There is no refuge from reality. Old age, sickness and death are inevitable for all of us. Realistically it’s riskier to not risk anything at all and to remove much of the richness from life.
Risking more allows for the possibility of real rewards.
Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.
- Robert F. Kennedy
I’m not advocating for recklessness- just for reappraising reality as a place of powerful possibility, not as a curve towards catastrophe. Our inner-tuition will often inform us which choice to make if we let ourselves listen to it.
I’ve never lost anything that I haven’t immensely gained from somehow by living through that loss. Sometimes heartbreak brings a fruitful harvest. Let life in, breath through it- sometimes it breaks us down- allows us to open to being with the beauty of just what is, however that is looking right now. There is a sweetness in surrender. It calls us to be more compassioned to self and others, to reflect on what worked and what didn’t. We can’t take anything with us when we go- only what we learned and the love that we lived.
"Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."
We do only have one wild and precious life, time is ticking, this moment does matter.
So go out and risk something that substantially scares you, let yourself be alive, feel that fear, move on through and find out if you can let the grand and great adventure of it all bring you what you most long for. Let yourself live and love a little (or even a lot) more. Make a move today towards that which matters most to you....
Copyright - Tess Howell 2014