Outside of comfort is where we grow. This means being uncomfortable is essential for our own evolution. Part of us still wants the ever known, the security and safety it seemingly promises. It’s the unknown, though, that really juices us. This feels risky – we can easily be talked out of it, procrastinating, ignoring and avoiding are all our classic dealings when faced with fear – we freeze, we fight, we flee. Our values and our priorities can give us strength, courage and confidence to move us through the fear toward our reward, our prize, the treasure that we sometimes forget is always there on the other side waiting for us to stake the claim.
A wonderful teacher, Pema Chödrön, shares the following:
“Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle. The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. They both had their weapons. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?” Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.” Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?” Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.” In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear.”
Listen and respect fear, feel it, then courageously act – it’s worth it.