Expecting the Unexpected and Embracing Fear
What would you do with your life if you had no fear?
If fear wasn’t there, whispering in your ear and telling you that you can’t, that it’s impossible, that you are kidding yourself…what would you do?
This seems like both an inspiring question and a cliché at the same time. How many times have we heard this question and yet…it doesn’t seem to help us reduce our fear nor inspire action.
Maybe it’s not enough to simply hypothesise about it. This is, after all, a conditional sentence, meaning that the hypothetical consequence (what you would do) is based on the condition (having no fear) which is unlikely to happen.
When reality bites and doubt creeps in, how do we maintain our belief that another more beautiful world is possible?
Be realistic and conform
I mean, it’s easy to have our optimism and courage dampened down by well-meaning friends and family who tell us to be realistic, to keep our feet on the ground, to get our head out of the clouds.
We have to understand that what we see as being our beautiful radical dream is way off the Map of Life that most people are following, and so from their perspective, it really does seem like an impossible dream. And because they love us and care about us, they don´t want us to leave the map, go off into the unknown and fall flat on our faces. Nobody wants their loved ones to suffer after all.
Going off-road and forging a new path can cause social friction for four reasons:
- It means that you are leaving the familiar reign of safety and security and all things familiar. And this can understandably scare people and make them worry about you.
- Because we project our own reality onto others. So, that well-intentioned aunt that tells you incessantly to settle down and get a proper job, might well be projecting onto you how she would feel if she were in your situation: scared, worried and uncomfortable. Maybe you are feeling fantastic but she literally doesn´t see that- all she sees is her own fear.
- It can be a threat. Why? Because you, having the confidence and courage to do something different makes people who don´t shift uncomfortably in their seats. And since no one likes to be uncomfortable, they try to get you back on the Map of Life that they are familiar with so you can stop making their lack so apparent.
- It can be a threat to the status quo. Why do you think people get so angry about veganism or vegetarianism? Its because they are throwing off the status quo and casting doubt over some of the things that have been considered normal and good by the dominant culture for a long time. When you have spent all your life thinking that something is good and then it becomes apparent that it may no longer be the case, it can be painful, confusing and difficult to let go of.
A change in our midst
Hence why we are now seeing an aggressive return of more conservative values in the political sphere and society at large. The world is changing, the old maps are out of date and therefore useless in solving the problems that the world is currently facing. This makes us confused and fearful about the uncertainty of the future, so we dig our heels in and resist the change that is inevitably coming.
But resisting change is resisting life.
We can be graceful about it and see what life is showing us and go with it or we will be dragged kicking and screaming.
Humanity is facing its next great initiation. The initiation into The More Beautiful World that Our Hearts Know is Possible.
This is the moment to come together as a global community and courageously dream a new dream.
And it starts by looking fear in eye, feeling its darkness and instead of resisting it or fighting it off (all attempts are futile- it will only gain strength) we have to take it under our wing in a loving embrace and go on anyway. Fear or no fear.
So to return to our original question: What would you do if you had no fear?
Paying my dues
Well for me, I have paid my dues to my fears of going off the beaten track and exploring the unknown. Ever since the day that I flew off to the other side of the world, back when I was 22, I have constantly been coming up against my fear of uncertainty and of being off the map that my culture has taught me. So much so that it deserves a blog post of its own!
But I will say that if you had told me 6 months ago that I would be writing a blog, exploring photography, and sending it all out into the world, I would have said (ironically) ‘Be realistic! No way!’.
Equally, if you had told that the 21-year-old me, folding jeans day in day out in Levis that she would be living in a different country, speaking a different language and not doing anything related to her psychology degree, she would have thought you were taking the piss!
Luckily for me, this has been down to my own choices and opportunities rather than war or economic disadvantage. But, through being open to a greater possibility, life has taken me far from where I thought I wanted to be and has shown me that something way beyond what I could have ever imagined possible, is possible.
And what a beautiful journey it has been so far, full of discovery, adventure and surprise!
We have to begin to be open to the idea that a million possibilities exist outside of what we imagine to be possible for our lives. What we see as possible is severely restricted, due to the erroneous and limiting beliefs of our culture, education, friends, and family that dictate the map and keep us trapped in a cycle of low expectations.
So I say throw the damn map away and begin to expect the unexpected!
Stay calm and live in the mystery of not knowing
Let’s be ok living with the uncertainty of not knowing how it’s all going to turn out. Sure, I would really love to know when and how I´m going to be able to fulfil my dream of buying land and living off-grid, but if I knew how it was all going to unfold, it would be a far less interesting and exciting adventure!
Life doesn’t give out spoilers.
The clue is in the word:
To spoil (verb)- to affect something in a way that makes it worse, less attractive or less enjoyable.
Would you really want to know everything that is going to happen in your life from now until your last? Would that not just be thoroughly boring? Who wants to read a book or watch a film when you know from the outset what´s going to happen?!
So then, that being said, it’s clear that we have no choice in the matter. We either go forward into the unknown, with or without fear, or…
There is no other choice!
Whether we are having an adventure or staying with the familiar, everything is still unknown. Security is only an illusion. So in that sense, we really have nothing to lose!
So let’s begin to dream something bigger, better, wilder, more imaginative, more courageous, more beautiful, more interesting, more meaningful, more purposeful- both for our lives and the whole world.
Because the micro contains the macro. We are all contributing to the whole.
When you are true to yourself; when you give yourself permission to dream big; when you expect the unexpected and walk the path with courage know that you are also lighting the path for others.
This is my single motivation for writing these words, in the hope that perhaps they will make a difference to someone out there. Even just one person and that fully justifies the whole existence of this blog.
Let’s not underestimate the power that our lives have in the creation of a more beautiful world.
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