Thursday, April 05, 2012

The Real Danger of Taking RISKS - a Life of Love & Dream Manifestation OR a Shackled Existence

Cliff diving involves great risk, but when else are you gonna FLY?

What would you take a risk for?  What wouldn't you take a risk for?  See one of my all-time favorite verses below...


To laugh is to risk appearing the fool
To weep is to risk being called sentimental
To reach out to another is to risk involvement
To expose feelings is to risk showing your true self
To place your ideas and your dreams before the crowd is to risk being called naive
To love is to risk not being loved in return
To live is to risk dying
To hope is to risk despair
To try is to risk failure

But risks must be taken, because the greatest risk in life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow or love. Chained by his certitude, he is a slave; he has forfeited his freedom. Only the person who risks is truly free.

-Author Unknown (often attributed to Janet Rand or Leo Buscaglia)

Consider that in areas you dream/desire to get something done that you take no action, often rationalizing that "you're too busy" or "you'll get to it someday soon, but not now", you're hiding out.  You are not willing to risk for fear of failure, because then that dream can't exist anymore.  This is where we are dead wrong.  Whatever you're dreaming of, your version of it, is failing to exist NOW.  Even if you go after it and fall short, that's merely temporary failure.  The Japanese have a saying...

"Fall down 7 times, stand up 8."

In some cases, you'll get knocked down 7 times, and need to stand up that 8th time anyway, even if you know you're about to get knocked down an 8th time (see film clip below)...

Things in life rarely manifest in the way we initially imagine them.  In fact, that would be boring as hell if everything were exactly as we expected.  The way we imagine things up front is the childlike dreamer anyway, beautifully naive.  As we go after things, we evolve, the thought that turns to action, the action that develops the idea into a reality, it's a process that is quite magical.  Many of the things I have in my life right now, today (my wife, my career, my dog, my fitness) are all off-the-charts manifestations of dreams and desires I have had for a long time.  Each one is wildly beyond what I could have come up with in that initial conceptual dream phase.

Photo by Jayme Burtis
Was I TERRIFIED of each one: getting married (i.e. meeting a life partner), committing to keeping another being alive/happy (in the case of Spirit, our dog), going after the career I am passionate about (leaving behind a very lucrative 8-5 career in sales that I held down almost 7 years), and taking on doing things physically I never imagined possible (running 135 miles through Death Valley in the hottest week of the summer, for example)... YES!!!  Not only did each one take courage to pursue, I am still scared $#!^less about these 4 incredibly important things.  The fear is vulnerability.  The fear is being invested.  The fear is of course "but what if it all doesn't work out down the line"?

I discovered something a while back, maybe about 11-12 years ago: when I feel FEAR, then face that fear, it is a time in my life I feel most alive, completely engaged and present to my experience.  Fear is a reason many don't act.  Fear has become a reason I act.  So I apologize if I've broken any glass ceilings, and I apologize if I've destroyed your image that I've been 'living fearlessly' all these years.  In the words of a 5-year-old, "I'm a scardy-cat" and I'm proud to say what a man who inspired a man that inspires me said so elegantly:

"I have much courage." -Fred Akers
Photo by SLK
So, my friends, WHAT have you been avoiding?  What dreams are you selling out on?  What have you long desired but put off and rationalized you'd get to later?  Time to get to it.  Today.  Life is too precious, and too short, to not have what you're dreaming of realized in your amazing, one-of-a-kind life.

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatsoever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

-Martha Graham
Photo by Jayme Burtis

RISK on, my friends...

*Would love to see WHAT dreams/goals you must "face your fears" to live out fully!  Tell me what you're taking on this year (in the comments below).