I have this hunch that I’m exploring every day. A hunch that’s been doing a number on my life – changing the whole shape of it and the ways I think and feel about everything. So it’s a hunch that has WEIGHT.
And the more I dig into it, sniffing around its edges, turning over its stones, the more it feels less like a hunch and more like deep conviction:
We’re all more scared than we think.
That’s my conviction: You. Me. All of us. We’re almost always afraid.
Not in the wake-up-from-a-nightmare way, of course. But more subtly: in the ways we approach the mirror, the ways we think and feel about life, the ways we decide who we let into our lives; where to work; what to eat.
Fear is our fuel.
It’s a puppet master, working our strings.
But there’s more to it than that, right? Because there are people out there, sprinkled throughout the rest of us (maybe you’ve met one or two?) who’ve clearly clipped some strings.
Where fear is moving most of us easily, it can’t so well with them.
It can lift an arm or a leg, maybe. Make shame or depression flair briefly. But little by little, as these people practice what I’ve come to call trust, they’re becoming capable of moving on their own volition. Rather than fear pulling all of their strings, trust is transforming them from marionettes into conscious, volitional souls.
And what’s been most astonishing in my explorations of all of this is what these people DO with their newfound freedom.
They don’t waste the kind of time most of us do, fretting about how they look or how stupid they feel in certain settings or whether or not their work is worthwhile.
Or their personalities fatally flawed.
Or that thing they wrote in that email the very worst move.
Or whether a gunman will stalk them at night.
Or a squad of Validity Police confiscate their Parent or Adult or Artist or Writer or Business Owner cards.
Or whether the veins in their legs preclude them from wearing shorts when they’re hot.
Or their shape or size erase their sexy.
Or their advancing age = everything they’d like to do is — sorry — too late.
They feel these things sometimes, sure, but they don’t spend nearly the time most of us spend dealing with them.
Instead, they’re catching more and more moments of peace. No food or drugs or massage tables necessary.
They’re choosing to lead with power that’s supple and ungrasping.
They have spontaneous fits of compassion.
They’re creating art for its own sake.
They’re experiencing joy.
They’re welcoming with startling kindness the parts of them that do still respond to fear’s demands, being curious about and conversational with them, but not letting them run their whole show.
Can you imagine?
Can you imagine what life could be like without fear in charge?
This hunch I have that’s turned into conviction and all of the exploring of it I’ve done — of fear, and of people getting freer of it — it’s giving me a clue.
And I’m discovering that the very act of noticing fear – behind and beneath and beside and surrounding almost everything I do – is slowly making ME come more alive. More consciously able to LIVE in all the ways that free souls do.
And I’m discovering that in the moves I make to nourish trust alongside of my fear – trust that in a deeper way than I can fathom, all is well – this transformation quickens.
One by one, I’m clipping the strings.
Featured image by Kristin Noelle.
Kristin Noelle is a writer and artist on a mission to change the global conversation about fear. She blogs and sketches at Trust Tending, and can be found scratching amongst chickens and children behind her L.A. home.