Live Life - The Fear Project

I'm Scared, in a Good Way!

At this very moment I'm scared.  I can feel the fear snaking around my belly and slithering up to my heart.  My teeth are clenched and my jaw is tight.  I feel grumpy and stubborn and the last place that I want to be is here, writing these words.  I could walk away, I could plop myself in front of the television and watch myself disappear into the night or I could stay and feed the forked tongue more of what it wants.

You see, I made a deal with myself that I would do this.  I made a deal with a list of 5 things that frighten me.  I made a deal with the Universe that I would check them off one by one.  I have witnesses who will hold me accountable.  This is no joke, this is an act of Will.

What would happen if you took a list of 5 things you were afraid of and did them all in quick succession?  How would you feel?  What would be different?  What would be possible?

I'm going to find out what happens and as part of me sits terrified, the other part can't wait.  The fear project has begun and what's so amazing about the process is that as I move forward, and as I talk about it, folks around me are starting to build their lists and they are starting to tick things off one by one.

Still, I doubt my list, I doubt that the items I chose are worthy of such a project.  I'm not sure if they scare me enough, but the feeling in my body tells me otherwise.  The shaking no of my head and the look of sour lemons on my face tell the truth.  I don't want to do it, but I will.

Who knows who I'll be on the other side?  I know from past experience that when I do things that scare me, I suddenly I find myself in a world full of opportunities and possibility.  If I can do five big things that scares me, then I can tackle the little things that scare me and the next time a big sucker comes along, I can take care of that one too.

For the record here's my current list.  New items may be added as I move along:
  1. Organize a workshop that I facilitate.
  2. Raise my rates.
  3. Revise, finish and submit a short story I wrote in the summer.
  4. Write an article and/or secure a column with a magazine.
  5. Take Stand-Up 101 and perform in front of an audience.
#1 & #2 are mostly taken care of by sending out this newsletter.  I had a meeting with my writing teacher Sarah Selecky yesterday about #3 and I'm signing up for #5 on today.  That just leaves #4...  Eek!

I hope that you'll join me on my mission.  If you're having a hard time coming up with your list of fears, ask the people who know you the best what should be on there, they won't let you down.  The fear project has begun and I dare you to be a part of it.  Make that a Triple Dog Dare, those are pretty hard to refuse.

Good luck!  I will give you a full report in January.  In the meantime, have fun with fear and as always, let me know how it goes. 

This is me, diving in!

Live Life - Play or Pause

My life on pause...

Recently, some unfortunate events caused my life to screech to a grinding halt. Plans were thrown out the window, appointments rescheduled and emotions were set loose to mess up all the neat corners of my mind and my home.

Emails went unanswered, ringing phones stayed cradled and the stairs and hallways were fighting to claim bragging rights to the biggest ball of dog hair. For a week or two, my regularly scheduled programming was put on pause and the scripts needed to be re-written.

The questions is, how to press play again? Life can't stop for ever. When I stop, I get stuck and the longer I'm stuck the harder it feels to get going again. I had started to procrastinate life.

I had to laugh, because I've been facilitating a group at Sheena's Place on Clutter and Perfectionism and one of the trademarks of perfectionism, that leads to procrastination, is "All or Nothing Thinking". You know that saying, you teach what you need to learn? This has always been very true for me.

All or nothing thinking can easily get us into big trouble. This is the line of thinking that says "If I could only take 3 weeks off work, no make that a month, I could clear all my clutter." All or nothing thinking says that we have to do it all, right now, perfectly OR not at all.

Relating this to life, I guess I felt like I had to figure it all out, write the perfect new script and jump into life all the way. Pretend like nothing had happened. But I couldn't do it. I couldn't find a pen, let alone write a new script, so I stayed stuck.

I realized that the only way I was going to get unstuck was by pressing play, but I would do it slowly, by doing little things, one at a time. Get out of bed. Take the dog for a walk, even if you don't want to. Wash one sink full of dishes. Dust one shelf. Make one phone call. Cook one meal.

I remembered the things that were familiar and healing. I went to one yoga class and one night of dancing. I also decided that I needed to introduce things that were new so my partner and I explored a new conservation area and walked on new paths.

This past week, I've been alternating between play and pause, but the more I press play, the easier it is and the shorter the pause. What's been important for me to remember is that something is everything. Taking one step, making one gesture, moving one inch is enough to get life moving again. It doesn't have to be the best step and I don't need to know what my ultimate destination is, but as long as I'm moving, it's perfect.