How to be Afraid. Very Afraid. Or Not.
- Fear is generally the result of a self-centered mind that’s lost sight of the big picture. Its greatest concern is the thought of losing something that (I think) is part of me.
- Anxiety is a mind with too many concerns, overanalyzing, constantly scanning the environment for problems.
- Give up your little lollipop life and accept the whole candy store that’s been offered to you (hint: this requires finding a purpose to devote your heart to, one that makes the world a better place).
Special note: I’m looking for a quiet place to finish narrating the Inner Excellence audiobook. I need about 3 weeks in September. If you have any suggestions/places you recommend, I’d love to hear! Just needs to be fairly quiet (ideally a cabin or cottage somewhere beautiful–I’ll have my gear with me); could be anywhere in North America, or the world really.
“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” – Chinese proverb
Long after the career was cancelled, the girlfriend gone, and the loneliness at an all-time low, and before the trip around the world, a homeless harpist met a drowning former athlete.
The thoughts were relentless, like waves crashing again and again against a rocky coast. They kept repeating themselves in many ways, but the message was always the same: You are not good enough.
I had spent several years obsessing about a project (the Inner Excellence book) in relative isolation, and when the sun came out and the clouds parted, the only feeling was fear–and it’s close friend anxiety.
All I could see was what I hoped I wouldn’t. Failure. Loss. Lack of hope and a future. Because I wasn’t good enough.
What this former athlete didn’t know, but would later learn, is that all those scary circumstances and painful feelings were all training for me; precisely what I needed to become the person I need to become, the one that is learning to let go of his life in order to gain it, so he can become the type of person who is filled with deep contentment, joy and confidence, independent of circumstances.
I gave the homeless harpist a little part of me (all the money in my wallet) and he gave me the ability to experience love for at least a moment, and in that moment I gave up concern for self and took the first step to a new life… and a journey around the world.
Five things I learned going through intense anxiety and fear:
1. Getting your heart sorted out–how you want to live, how you want to feel, and what purpose (beyond yourself) you will devote your life to, is foundational. Otherwise fear and anxiety (from self-protection) is always nearby.
2. It’s important to have goals and dreams (after all, we were created for greatness, for glory, to do great things), while making sure your goals aren’t too low. Winning Olympic gold or becoming world #1 is too low for our purposes. Those are little lollipops when we can live with absolute fullness of life (and give us the best chance of achieving something beautiful).
3. When you’re fully present, beauty and possibilities appear. When life is difficult, simplify everything. What can you do, with what you have, right now?
4. Learn the IX disciplines and practice them. Start with the first three: 1. Examine your life. 2. Simplify your life. 3. Create space in your life (be still).
5. Remember the ninth (IX) discipline: sacrifice. You can’t be completely fearless unless you’re willing to lose. Everything. This is why a purpose beyond self is so important (because this is something you can do even if you lose everything–it’s a mindset and way of life). When you’re super clear on this purpose, and ready to sacrifice your life for it, you can have courage you never dreamed of.
Let me know if you’re working on this!
To those of you who responded last time and took a moment to give an Amazon review, thank you so much! If you haven’t, would you mind taking 5 seconds to click on this link and give it your star rating, or if you have 55 seconds, give it a written review as well. Thank you!
Here’s the IX disciplines:
1. Examine your life.
2. Simplify your life (reduce your needs).
3. Create space in your life (be still).
4. Speak the truth (about who you are and what’s possible).
5. Be grateful (gratitude is next to peace and peace is required for inner strength).
6. Imagine glory (the work you have to do is believe; belief comes largely from repeated images and feelings).
7. Celebrate (joy is so important to learn and grow).
8. Fuel your soul (with love, wisdom and courage).
9. Sacrifice (give up your life to gain the glory you were created for).
This is the next book I’m writing (one of them anyway!) Maybe I’ll write it at your recommended cabin/cottage. 🙂
Quick little update on my life: I’ve been traveling nearly non-stop since selling the IX retreat center in Pt. Roberts March 15th. I’m considering traveling abroad (and settling in one spot!) for 6-8 weeks to do some writing this October/November (after I finish narrating the audio book – or combine trips if I find a quiet place abroad to narrate the book!). No bus yet, I’ve looked at a few but the ones I’m most interested in are far too showy (Vegas-like) for the humility I want to convey (along with excellence).