Anaïs Nin said that “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
What do you think? Do we all start with an infinite amount of courage? Do we “unlearn” courage? Do we “learn” fear?
Is fear the same for everyone? I don’t think it is. What might be a simple act for some of us — trying something new, leaving the house, going on a job interview — might be an enormous act of courage for others, especially for those who live with constant fear and anxiety, or have a profound lack of self-confidence.
We all have our own landscape of fear, mapped by that critical line that marks our zone of comfort, of safety. For some, that safety zone gets smaller and smaller as they allow fear to choose for them. That zone of comfort can become a prison.
Fear keeps us behind the line… but courage allows us to break through it.
But fear has a place, too… to warn us that something might be too risky, or not in our best interest. Acknowledge that at times fear is working for you.
But sometimes fear is just an embedded pattern we have learned to keep us where we are… to resist change or growth, to avoid a potentially painful interaction, to keep us within prescribed (or even proscribed!) family or cultural norms.
Ed Litton says, “Fear is just a call to exercise courage.”
An interesting thought… Is one courageous by taking an action where there is no risk? Nothing to be lost or gained? Probably not!
But is it possible you are trapping your Self by false limits? By self-imposed boundaries? That the fear of failure is more profound and life-changing than the actual outcome of that potential failure?
I recently read a story about legendary baseball player Babe Ruth, the home run king. But I did not know that he was also one of the all-time leaders in strikeouts! Why? Because he always gave it a 100% and did not allow the fear of failure to make his choices, to stop him from going for success.
Beyond that line between fear and courage, between safety and discomfort, there may be amazing new possibilities for you … And it is your courage that will allow you to venture outside that line.
Take a courageous step for your Self.
One can start with some simple Soul Questions:
Who would I be without this Fear?
Does this fear prevent me from being the best I can be?
When did I first feel this fear?
What are the advantages or rewards of having this fear? How do they protect you?
If you want to move beyond your fears (and remember that wherever you are in your journey, you are doing your very best already!), consider taking a shamanic or guided journey to understand and transform them. For instance, n the company of your guides, you could ask your fears what gifts and medicine they want for you that is empowering, what they are trying to achieve. You could ask your guides for support in how you can transform and let go of those fears, and how to use the medicine of courage. You could ask an animal ally to come forth to help you with courage until you have fully integrated that medicine.