Have you ever considered how many things you have wanted to do in your life, but stopped yourself from doing? I am not talking about those on-a-whim momentary ideas, but the things that speak to you over and over, and grab your attention on a regular basis. The things we often suppress within ourselves, trying to talk ourselves out of them by using all the reasons of why we cannot, or how it will never work.
There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.
Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Having recently attended an I Can Do IT! conference in Toronto, I was reminded by Wayne Dyer during his talk of the story about Ivan Illyich from The Death of Ivan Ilyich, where he says a profound statement: “Don’t die with your music still in you.” I am always invited to stop and reflect on this statement to be conscious that I am living and playing out my music each day, not tuning it out or turning it off.
So while some of us may think that some of the things we are called to do are frivolous or unrealistic, I am here to tell you today that anything that comes to you from your heart and soul should be honored and lived. In this way, we can live with no regrets. From starting some new business to creating something artistic, if you have a call within to do it, there is no better time to make that happen than now. And to help inspire, motivate, and empower you to take action in your life, I will share with you about a recent creation I decided to follow through on, and how fear and failure could have played a role in sabotaging it, if I allowed it to.
I think it is safe to agree that the number one thing that holds us back from doing anything in our lives that we wish or hope to do is fear. Excuses about time and money, or not being good enough and so on all stem from fear, and usually are a cover for a fear of failure. Along with failure, let’s face it, we fear the unknown. People would rather live a mundane life they know than live an extraordinary life that is a brand new possibility.
During the month of May and June this year, I set out on what can be considered an epic adventure. I had an intention with my husband to do a long-distance hike — that is us in the photo above. Up until that moment, we never hiked for more than a few hours during some day hikes. We never slept in a tent (my grade 6 camp experience excluded ;) or had the chance to experience a few other firsts that would become part of this journey. Yes, fear could have gripped us from so many angles. We could have second-guessed ourselves and our entire decision to just pick up and leave everything while we went away, and pretty much cut ourselves off from “everything” for 5 weeks. Yet, living in the present moment there was nothing to deal with, or worry about or fear. There was just the moment we were in. And when we are in the present moment there is no fear or worry, there is just responding to the moment. It is such a powerful way to live, and if you perhaps are still not convinced about the power of living in the present moment, I definitely encourage you to shift more into this space.
We had the choice to fear if we can even do this hike, or where we would sleep each night, or how the elements of nature would impact our journey, or what we would eat, or if our bodies and equipment would perform as expected. We could have feared hitchhiking, or sleeping at stranger’s houses. And as we were going with another couple of friends, we could have feared how everyone would get along, as long-distance hiking is a very intimately individual experience where each must find their own flow. We could have had fears about our work back home and not being able to be there if someone needed us, etc. So many things we could have allowed to stop us from acting on this idea. However, knowing that fear is a choice, we chose to move beyond fear, and simply choose to be present. From this space, we have found everything flows. The Universe has a way of supporting each one of us when we align with our soul purpose, making everything work out.
Through the example above, I invite you to reflect on your personal life. Where is fear keeping you stuck? How is fear holding you back from doing or being something you are called to do or be? The best way we can move beyond fear is to get into the present moment, releasing the past and future, and being in a space from which you can act consciously. As we become conscious creators of each moment, fear releases its hold on us and we are able to move along the path of our highest potential, paving our life in the most favorable ways.
My long-distance hike on the Oregon Coast trail, as well as time in Washington and California, involved more amazing adventures and experiences than I can count. So much new and different. So many personal boundaries to expand. It was an incredible experience all around that has deeply enriched the being that I am. I chose to honor my personal life path and make this hike happen.
However, the experience I had may not be what some may have expected it to be. Did I religiously walk from the start of the trail to the very end? No. Did I push myself to get in a certain amount of miles/kilometers per day? No. Did I negate my state of being? No. I did what felt right at any given moment, knowing that whatever I chose, is the right choice for me. I have come to a point in my life to know when things are not in perfect alignment in my life (perfect for me and my flow of being). And so amidst the hike’s path, there were times that called me in another direction. At one time it was to take shelter and put the hike on pause when it rained for almost the whole first week. At another time, it was to honor my body and give it some rest. And yet at another time to move into a different creation where I was being called to experience something different altogether.
So in the end, perhaps we walked two-thirds of the actual trail, perhaps less. I could not care to count the physical distance. I only cared about paying attention to how I was feeling at each moment. Was what I was experiencing joyous and expanding, or gloomy and confining? In my world, there is no need to be a martyr, or endure unnecessary suffering or prove anything to anyone, including ourselves. Yes, sometimes we may have “no choice” but to be or do something that can be labeled “unpleasant”, and in those cases, it serves us most to make the best of the experience and finds inner peace at that moment. But more often than not, we have a choice, in fact, many choices to move into another direction….to choose a new path. In my world, the joy of living to our personal highest potential and alignment at any given time is what is most valued.
And hence I think one of the greatest things that we forget when it comes to failure, and trying new things is that we can change our mind at any time. So you decided to take a new course, but after five classes you realize that it really does not resonate with you. Pulling out is not a failure. In fact, in my personal life, the word failure literally does not exist. When I decide to do something new, or create something, or experience something, it is what is felt in the moment. If halfway through I change my mind or decide that the experience does not quite resonate with me, or represent me, or something within me shifted that is no longer a fit for what I thought I wanted, I release it with grace. And it really and truly can be that simple.
The idea of failure is a made-up construct of the mind, and it doesn’t help that our society drills it into our head from our early years in school. However, you hold the power of what to do with it. It will exist as long as you choose to create it, and give it power over you. When you are ready to release the idea of failure, your life will be transformed immediately. Do what you love at this moment, but do not hold yourself to artificial constraints in the next moment. Maybe you will still choose the same, and maybe you won’t. Give yourself permission to just be. Give yourself permission to change your mind. Give yourself permission to express and experience. Just be sure that if you do decide to change the course of your path at any point in time, that it is not secretly driven by or sabotaged by fear.
You may have started a new community group and after several consciously honest tries, had no one show up. You may have opened up your own bakery, or Bed & Breakfast, or antique store and after some time found that it was “not working out” for you. That is okay, you are enriched just by taking the step to do what you were called to do. There is no failure in that. What I have found almost always, is that when things don’t go “our way”, or the way we hoped or expected, there is a bigger reason for it that is trying to get our attention. Going within and finding out what we may be missing in the learning from the experience is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves.
Whatever It Is….You Can Do IT!
We now come back again to you, and what it is that you may be really wanting to do in your life currently. Our diverse human nature is amazing in how we express our creativity, our desires, our dreams, and our wishes. We have infinite ways of experiencing this physical human state of life. Thus, it is unfortunate that so many people still live in a space of lack and scarcity, thinking that there isn’t enough to go around for everyone. Our Mother Earth has abundant resources for everyone, it is simply up to us to use them wisely and live in harmony and balance with all life.
When it comes to specific experiences, we have to realize that not everyone wants the same thing. In fact, once we move into the heart, and out of the egoic state, truly aligning with living out experiences and expressions that most match our soul purpose, we never worry about competing with someone else for something, or some state, or experience. Not everyone wants to win the lottery. Not everyone wants to be a famous musician. Not everyone wants to own a company. Not everyone wants to do a long-distance hike. There is enough for everyone when we learn to live consciously from the heart, and the ideas of competition, lack, or scarcity vanish like fog into thin air.
So what do you want to do? Really, really want to do?
Look within your soul. Be still. Listen to your heart. What is a current, or a long-standing dream, or goal that you have?
If it is to run a marathon, you can do it!
If it is to get some degree, you can do it!
If it is to volunteer in another country, you can do it!
If it is to start a website or blog, you can do it!
If it is to relocate to another part of the globe, you can do it!
If it is to publish a book, you can do it!
If it is to sail around the world, you can do it!
If it is to sing in front of an audience, you can do it!
If it is to grow your own food, you can do it!
If it is to meet a life partner, you can do it!
If it is to start your own business, you can do it!
You can be and do whatever you set your heart and mind on.
Just be sure that whatever it is that you are called to do is in alignment with your heart and soul, not your Ego. We don’t need to prove ourselves to anyone or be someone we think others expect us to be. We just need to express and experience the richness that life offers from a heart-centered space, and live in harmony with all life. And remember, if you try it and realize that it really is not for you, or giving you the joy you seek, release it with grace—don’t get attached, define yourself by it, and cause yourself unnecessary suffering. Move on to your new experience or creation that best represents you in the moment of now, honoring your personal life journey.
So to make things happen in your life, here is a summary of the key ideas to help you on your path:
Whenever fear, doubt, worry, or anxiety sets in, shift your awareness into the present moment. In this space you are most empowered to act consciously, paving favorable future moments in your life.
Dissolve the notion of failure. Remove the construct from your mind and the word from your vocabulary. Empower yourself by knowing that you are always at the right place, at the right time and everything that happens, happens for your highest good.
Release old creations with grace. Don’t let any experience, creation, person, or thing define you. Attachment only causes suffering and when we embrace the impermanent nature of life, living out each creation in the present, we are able to sustain the most joy and inner peace.
Whatever it is that you want to do (from a heart space), you can do it. We only need to take conscious steps in the direction of our dreams and allow the Universe to help us along the way.
And best of all, today we have so many resources to help motivate, inspire, and empower us to do anything we choose. From books and courses to conferences and personal coaches, whatever support you need, know that it is out there for you. The Universe truly conspires to make your dreams come true, so know that YOU CAN DO IT!