While peace and calm is a wonderful goal, there are times when I need to kick myself out of the comfortable in order to do something brave.
Me, at the top of Eagle Rock at Lake Tahoe.
Most of the things I write about here on this blog and that I’m trying to do in my life are carefully selected to reduce anxiety and promote peace. Less heavy and more light. And that’s a good thing. That’s definitely something I need in my life.
But as the years march on and I find myself proverbially “over” that hill, I find myself often in reflection over things I wish I had done differently in my younger years. Particularly, things that I didn’t do because I wasn’t brave enough to try.
Now I know that it’s not healthy to languish in such a place. Constantly pining over what didn’t happen or what could have been isn’t healthy for me. But when I find myself noticing a regret, I can use that awareness to do things differently in the future. At least that’s what I’m hoping for myself.
About 11 years ago, on a random and fun trip to Las Vegas with my mom, I found this refrigerator magnet.
It spoke to my soul.
Even then, I knew I wanted to be more brave. I had let fear keep me from fully experiencing my college education and getting a degree in the field that I really wanted. I had let fear keep me from auditioning for several opportunities because I didn’t think I was good enough. I had let fear from a failed marriage keep me from reaching out and connecting with new people. I had let fear make me settle for boring but comfortable and known because I didn’t know if I could do anything else.
But that wasn’t really what I wanted. And my soul ached from it.
So I bought the refrigerator magnet. And it’s been on my refrigerator ever since. OK, until last year when we bought a new refrigerator, and by golly, the new one isn’t magnetic! So, I have to find the magnet a new home.
I’m not as brave as I want to be… yet.
But, that quote, by the amazing Eleanor Roosevelt, has inspired me to do some brave things in the last 11 years.
I went back to school and finally got my teaching credential. I quit a stressful desk job and went to work for a non-profit arts organization. I took a chance on a great guy and married him. At nearly 40, I had more children, with a set of twins!
But I’m still working on my bravery.
Since January, this magnet has been calling to me from the drawer behind my desk where I stashed it. I don’t know if I can manage doing something every single day that scares me. But I’m paying attention to those times when fear creeps in and I don’t think I’m good enough to do something. And I’m trying to do it anyway!
For example, one of the websites that I write for and really enjoy, recently mentioned that they are working on creating audio files for all of their posts. Tap. Tap. Tap. I could feel my creative soul tapping on my shoulder, begging me to let these people know that I do voiceover and would love to help.
And then the fear crept in. But I saw it. And I called it out. And I told it to crawl back to where it came from.
And I sent the website an email.
And I got an email back! They were interested and asked me to record one of the posts and send it back to them. I responded that I’d be happy to do that and would get it to them by the following week.
And then the fear crept in. And tried to convince me that I wasn’t good enough. And that I didn’t have the time. And it darn near got me. It took me a week to deliberately carve out a time (granted the 5 year olds had to be at school) and record the post.
And the fear still tried to tell me that it wasn’t good enough. But I called it out. And told it to leave me alone.
And I sent the audio file.
That was about 30 minutes ago. So, we’ll have to wait and see what happens from here. But the point is, that in spite of fear, I did it!!
I have loved this quote since I first heard it in the movie, “The Princess Diaries”:
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the determination that there is something greater than that fear.”
I really truly don’t want to sit in a place of boring complacency. My soul will wither away if I do that. I really truly want to do bold, creative things! And that takes courage.
I want to be BRAVE.
Yes, Sarah Bareillis’ song, “Brave” is on my playlist and gets blasted pretty regularly around here. I want to see me be brave.
And while it’s true, stepping out of my comfort zone and doing something that I’m afraid of definitely brings up some anxiety, but the exhilaration that comes when I actually do something bold and creative, is as bright as a lightning bolt. That’s the kind of light that illuminates my soul. And I need that kind of light.
Maybe if I do something that scares me every week, that will be a good starting place. I guess I can check this week off. Now for next week…
What brave things have you done that scared you?