I have a personal mantra that I wrote during a challenging time awhile back when I was having a hard time finding any beauty among the rubble that my life appeared (to me) to be. It is a mantra that I have spoken over myself and my life every day for the past 737 days. One of the phrases is, “everything that happens to me is good.” Not because everything is ‘good’ in the most commonly used meaning of that word, but because I chose, at the moment when I scripted that mantra, to see everything that happens –the ugly, the beautiful, and everything in-between – as positive opportunities. It was a hugely transformative decision, as it took away the option of feeling screwed over by the universe (or by any person.)
At the beginning of 2015, I made two intentions:
- To always choose the adventuresome path.
- To choose love rather than fear, every second of the 525949 minutes in a year.
My natural instinct is to act from a place of love, because that is all of our natural instincts as we come from a place of absolute and unconditional love. But my learned/conditioned instinct is to live and act from a place of fear.
Every action, every word, every emotion – every single thing – that we humans do is motivated by either love or fear. It may show its face as anger, jealousy, concern, selfishness, judgment, thoughtfulness, or thoughtlessness, but it all comes from either love or fear.
Love is inherent and instinctual; fear is learned. We’re born with no fear, only love. There’s something indescribably beautiful about babies and little children because they live so wholeheartedly from a place of love. It’s interesting to observe this in children, and to watch them begin to experience fear and its many faces as their awareness, experience, and self-consciousness grows. By the time we reach adolescence, fear has, for most of us, taken over and motivates the majority of our actions, words, and decisions.
As I’ve been walking through the beginning days of another new year, I’ve been thinking about my last year resolutions and pondering this prickly area of fear, and how it can try to disguise itself as caution/care, which comes from a place of love. Caution has value. Fear has no value. I think that to understand the distinction between them – the wise sense of caution and the paralyzing sense of fear – is important. One serves us; one harms us. But fear, just like love, is natural, simply because we live in a world where there is no way to escape unscathed from having it become a very real and conditioned part of our realities.
But back to the resolution… I’m thinking it’s going to rollover as a repeat resolution for this next year, too, and probably every year after that, simply because it is such an ingrained part of our world and society and I would like it to not be an ingrained part of my life.
The resolution really started on that day when I made the decision to see everything that happens in my life as a good and positive opportunity; it was the day I gave up fear. And each day since then has been a day that I’ve walked out that reality, some days more successfully than others.
It’s important to get comfortable with fear; to be aware of it when it arises, and then to sit with it, talk with it, and ask it; “where have you come from? What can I learn from you, and how can I heal you?” To simply attempt to block it or ignore it is useless as it only masks the root of it, which is what must be uncovered and transformed.
Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions? 😉
“Be Brave. Without bravery, you will never know the world as richly as it longs to be known. Without bravery, your life will remain small – far smaller than you probably wanted your life to be.”
-Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic