Happy Leap Day!
I leapt at the chance to write a blog post for February 29th, a day that only comes but once every four years.
A leap is in and of itself a scary thing to do. It’s not just a jump. It occurs across a great length or distance or height. It’s a stretch and it feels like you may not make it.
What if I told you you could make it? Let’s make 2016 the year to take the leap. What leap, you ask? The one you know you need to make, but are scared to make all the same.
As I discussed in this today’s podcast, we can meet our fears and move on to courage in 3 steps that turn into a leap:
- See the fear for what it is
Step #1: See the fear for what it is – not what you have made it.
There can be a huge difference between reality and our perception of reality.
So first let’s see your fear for what it really is (the hand) and not for what your mind has made it (the long shadow). You have to remove all the dust that worry has stirred up in your mind so that you can see with more clarity.
Begin by setting time aside and shutting the doors to the outside world. Sit or lie down, and close your eyes. Notice yourself in this moment as you reflect on your fears. You are the observer of your fears, so you are not in the fears. Imagine your fears are locked in their own room with one-way glass walls. You can see them but they can’t see you. They can’t blend with you, blemish you, or hurt you because they are separate from you. You are the one who is observing them.
Take a really good look at your fears. Name them. Describe them. Your fearful parts hold stories about where these fears came from. With the fears shut behind the one-way glass walls, now is a good time for your fearful parts to come forward. What happened that made your fearful parts believe things will turn out this way? Now ask them:
- Did this happen a long time ago?
- Are these worries or fears actual and true now? Really true?
- Do we know that they will truly happen?
Here are some examples of typical worries that become the walls of our trap:
- I am afraid of being broke and having to rely on others to take care of me.
- I am afraid of growing old….far away from my tribe.
- I am afraid of looking ridiculous when it really matters to me. Because usually I don’t care if I look ridiculous. But when it matters I do.
- I am afraid of public humiliation and criticism.
- Something bad might happen to my children because I am not a good mother.
So the fears are standing in a row a pointing at you so and they still look scary. Not all fears can disappear just because you see them. However, they are no longer unnamed free floating little anxiety bundles. They are all in one place looking right at you.
Actually putting your fears in objects or outside of you by drawing or writing them down, even telling a friend can bring some relief because these fears and worries stop infecting every thoughts and decisions when you have them all lined up outside of you. You have more clarity in your decisions and choices in your life.
Now what? As you sit looking and getting to know each fear in this new way reflect – ask yourself the question.
“If this became true in the future what is the worst that could happen? And then what would happen then and then and then….”
Unpack your fears one at a time and let them be seen and heard.
The fears will come down to a smaller size and live next to you, not become you.
The feeling of worry may return. Remember, your two best tools to keep you from falling in the endless abyss of worry or fear
- Notice the sensation in your body that you are calling anxiety. Describe it to yourself.
- Breathe deeply into it and imagine a calm spacious place as you breathe.
The next thing to do when your fears are next to you and you’re not all fear is to wish out loud.
Step #2. Make your (scary) wish out loud
Whether you want to move, get a different work, change relationships, tell your partner to stop being so mean, record your song, etc, that is your scary wish. Now have the courage to say your scary wish out loud.
Baby steps. What gets you to a place that resembles your wish is one foot in front of the other. Then next year at this time you are somewhere else than in your self-made fear trap.
You know those people who get what they want? They get “it” by resolving to move toward something they wish to do in small steps too. Especially if it seems scary to them. You might not know,because you often only see the end when they are there in their place of achievement.
One person I know had worked hard building a career in the corporate world only to realize they were suffocating, unhealthy, and unhappy in their different relationships.They dreamed to start their own business in a warmer climate but it really seemed like only a dream not possible.
They didn’t immediately quit their day job and move to the south. And yet two years later they had a small consulting business and internet store, working 30 hours a week, living in a warmer climate with the financial support they needed for them and their family. Life had certainly changed.
Having small manageable steps we can actually see ourselves doing calms and helps fortify us for the courageous adventure that we have set our sights on.
Remember: It is normal to have what you would call a setback emotionally. Because some days you’re tired or something disappointing has happened, and the fear comes back maybe in a huge tidal wave. Again this is normal. That emotional setback is just passing through.
This happens to everyone who tries. Some people notice more and feel ashamed others never even notice the falling down and getting back up. Channel those people who are oblivious to the pain of shame. Leave shame behind you.
What is important to notice is your effort. Great. Encourage yourself. Tell your self, “good job.”
The last tip is a very important one.
Step #3. Don’t get too attached to the outcome
There are often many ideas or passions seen as follies until the world is ready for them. Leonardo da Vinci designed the bicycle and a flying machine before it was imagined by the majority of people. He worked from the inside out not altering his life’s work based on criticism and disbelief. He was there to do what he could offer and he did it with pleasure not always measured as success during his life time. Becoming visible with your ideas and wishes and having fear about looking bad or socially inappropriate kills innovation and visions before they can take hold.
You have taken it too personally and become too attached to the entire outcome.
What does that even mean?
It means realize that your happiness is all around you every single day. It does not only come to you when you finally reach the object of your desire. When you believe you can only be happy when you get what you want whether it is financial security, successful children, health, approval and so forth. That is being attached to the outcome so directly that until you get to where your want or what you want you feel bad and malnourished in your life.
You are not in control of the outcome you are in charge of how you step towards it. What is your daily attitude? You are definitely in charge of that. Where is happiness showing up even as you move towards what you want.
This is a Leap Year – so leap out!
Naming your fears, getting to know them and deflate them and then with intention and baby steps move out of the fear trap and co-create your life will bring you satisfaction. Paying attention to how we are feeling. Noticing and befriending our fears rather than hating them
This is leap year. Leap out! This lifestyle mindset will let you take the leap. –leaping into your wishing and into action towards making your desires happen and feeling the satisfaction of living your life fully.
“Leaping Legends” by Flickr user Justin De La Ornellas is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
“house of the long shadows” by Flickr user Stefano Mortellaro is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.
“all nine candles” by Flickr user Jesse Millan is licensed under CC BY 2.0.