Yeah, I've been quiet lately. Partially because I've been engaged in the most soul-sucking writing project ever- a federal grant proposal that turned out to be a whopping 250 pages by the time it was done- and partially because the Mother of All Ear Infections had me unconscious for a week. If I'm honest, I also have to admit that I also just lacked inspiration.
But now I'm back. Or at least some version of me is back. The soul-sucked, half-deaf, wiped out version is back because of something someone said to me yesterday. Actually, she didn't say it to me, per se, but she said it in a room I was in and therefore, by virtue of the fact that the universe revolves around me, it was said to me. The context escapes me ('cause like I said- half deaf so not able to hear half of what is said to me), but the part I caught was this:
What would you do if you weren't afraid?
There are two things I love about this. The first is the assumption that of course I'm afraid. That we're all afraid. I like the shared insecurity there, the "of course you're scared. We're all scared. If you're not scared your either stupid, crazy or not paying attention." It releases me from the sense that I have to pretend to be certain of anything at all. It equalizes us in this shared insanity that is life in the 21st century.
Then there's the invitation to imagine a world in which I exist without the fear. A place in my life where I do things because I want to, because they inspire me or speak to something in me or because they sound like fun. Where I say things because they're what I really think and feel, without wondering who isn't going to like it, how they might judge me, what the long-term political ramifications might be of every single statement I make. What would that be like? Would it be liberating or horrifying? Would it lead to some kind of cruel narcissism or would I discover some deep truth, some wisdom born of fearlessness? Is fearless the same as brave? Or is brave only the recognition of fear- the decision to move beyond it- and fearlessness a lack of ability to respect our internal "Danger Will Robinson!?"
So maybe it isn't about always acting on the fearless- of ignoring the danger. Maybe it's just about asking yourself the question. Maybe it's about recognizing the decisions that come from fear rather than some other authentic self, and choosing to go with the later rather than the former.
So I'll ask you, What would you do if you weren't afraid?