Maybe panicked was a better word.
Sitting at the computer with my new beau (now my husband) planning our first trip together.
I had always longed to travel, and now here, on the cusp of a trip to Hawaii, I was balking. So much money, so much time off work- what if this and what if that-
It seemed HUGE.
That’s the thing about big, new dreams- they scare our protective primitive brains- the part of us that just wants to stay safe, avoid risk.
I’ve learned over the past few years that fear, anxiety, uncertainty- these are all part of the package. They are the shadow side of excitement, adventure, dreams coming true. Even now, as much as I travel, I still have anxiety about it- EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
Am I packing the right clothes? Will I need this, or should I take that. I struggle to leave behind certain things that comfort me- a sweater I’ve been wearing, or art supplies I’ve been using, or my iPad. I know intellectually what it is- the anxiety of leaving comfort and familiar (home) for the unknown, and sometimes uncomfortable(travel). But that’s where the excitement and the adventure, and the new vistas, and the fun are! That’s where growth and expansion are. They’re all out there.
This is so interesting to me because it stands as a metaphor for any big new thing we want in life, right? There will ALWAYS be the struggle between comfort (staying the same), or discomfort (something new). But the thing to remember, is that we CHOSE this new thing, we WANT this new thing, we’ve been DREAMING of this new thing. It’s out there, just waiting for us to leave comfort behind and go find it.
So, back to my travel analogy. Yes, I still have the anxiety. But it doesn’t stop me, or slow me down. I know how to manage it. I know I just need to keep moving through it. I know now that it is part of the process and it’s OK. Fear can come along, but it is not allowed to make decisions.
Once I’m out the door and on my way, none of the things I clung to matter. What I packed always works out fine, I don’t need the favorite sweater, thank goodness I’m not hauling the iPad. And the art supplies? When did I think I was going to use them? 😊 It’s all just mind games, the primitive brain saying, stay here, it’s safe, it’s good. Don’t go out there into the unknown, it’s dangerous, you’ll get eaten.
But I don’t get eaten, I get changed. My life expands, my purpose deepens, and my delight grows.
Here’s the important part for you. Whatever you want in life, if it’s worthy of you, will involve a tug of war between your desire and your fear. That’s the truth. Your decision, the big, bold decision you must make, is to keep moving forward. Into the adventure of your big life, your deep purpose, your pure delight. Because nothing awaits you in the comfort zone. You are here for more than that.