What’s There To Be Afraid Of, Anyway?

Summer 2017, Day 4: June 24

I woke up this morning to my phone vibrating like crazy with a slew of severe thunderstorm alerts.

I used to be very afraid of thunderstorms until two years ago when I was at a local amusement with my nephew, then 10, and some terrible storms came through. We were standing outside under an awning, and he was a little uneasy about the situation. I couldn’t let on that, inside, I was curling up in the fetal position with my fingers in my ears because I didn’t want to further freak him out. So I pretended that the storms didn’t bother me. I remained calm on the outside despite hearing the sizzle of lightning and the crack of the thunder close at hand. I pointed out different things to look at, like the family dancing in the rain and the people who would run past at top speed every two minutes. We both laughed as we tried to predict when the next person would come screaming through with a bag over their head and shoes in their hand. Within a few minutes, the worst of it passed us and we ended up having a stellar time because almost everyone else left the park. The rides were ours and ours alone for the remainder of the night. I learned two valuable lessons that day. One was to sing and laugh in the rain, and I wrote a post about that lesson in January 2016 (click anywhere in this sentence to read it).

The other was that there was nothing to be afraid of. I couldn’t control the lightning or the thunder, so why had I let the thunder and the lightning control me?

What was there, really, to be afraid of?

Nothing.

The lighting and the thunder would do what it does, regardless of how I feel about it.

Could I ever, truly, prevent the worst from happening?

No.

So when I woke up to the alerts this morning, I didn’t retreat to the floor in the fetal position with my fingers in my ears covered by a blanket. Instead, I opened the blinds and watched the water pummel down from the clouds, making little waterfalls on the trees and the leaves and the neighbor’s roof. There was no thunder and no lightning, but if there was, I would have watched it instead of hiding from it.

Now, let’s take that a step further.

If I look at other things I’m afraid of with the same logic, why do I let fear run the show?

What’s the worst that could happen if, say, I got on that big roller coaster?

Or better yet, what’s the worst that could happen if I took a chance on my writing and stopped using fear as an excuse?

I was afraid of thunder and lightning for almost 44 years.

Did the worst ever happen?

No.

If I take a chance and get on that roller coaster, I’m 99.9% sure the worst isn’t going to happen. And as a wise friend once said, I can do anything for a minute and a half.

I think it’s time to consider getting on that roller coaster ride.

And it’s time to move forward with my novel. I’ve wasted enough time because I’m afraid I’m not taking the right path with the story line.

I’ve just got to trust the path that I choose to take for my characters and go with it, regardless of my trepidation.

What’s the worst that could happen if it’s not the right path?

I’ll simply just start over again.

No worries.

And no fear.

 

 

 

Something to SEA: Banishing The 4 Most Dangerous Words

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On my 45th birthday in February of this year, I held a little ceremony where I wrote down all of the things I regretted, bad decisions from the past, everything that made me feel bad about myself…you get the idea. I put them in an envelope, which I then shredded.  It felt great to officially say “goodbye” to the past.

I was set free.

Or so I thought…

Since then, I have been much better about not letting my past get me down. I’ve made progress towards living in the moment while planning for the future. In fact, I would guess that I am 93% successful in not letting my past affect my present.

Except when the 4 most dangerous words creep in.

When they do, and it’s usually when I least expect it, my mind starts playing its movie of imagined events.

Then my “head hamster”starts running backwards in his wheel, and my thoughts turn around and run towards the past.

And I’m lost again.  For a while.

When I regroup, I am very disappointed in myself.

Here I was, on my birthday, acting all tough when I said goodbye to regret and to the past, and what did I just do? Allow the past and my regrets back in, turning my good energy into bile!

Dammit, why did I let that happen?

Because I’m human, that’s why.

The truth is, with a self-estimated success rate of 93%, I’m doing a hell of a lot better than I have in the past (the past affecting the past…somewhat ironic!).

There was a time when I allowed the past to control me and bring me down all of the time. I couldn’t escape its poisonous grasp. I felt doomed forever, unable to break free from the chains of regret and remorse.

And it was all because of those 4 most dangerous words:

WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN

Those 4 words cause nothing but misery and sadness, and most importantly, they waste my time and energy.

While I might not be where I thought I’d be at 45 years old, I am where I SHOULD be.

Every path, every decision, every step has led me here.  There’s a lot more of life to be had and living to do, as long as I banish those 4 most dangerous words from my vocabulary, and replace them with

WHAT IS AND WHAT WILL BE.

For example, the old me would have said, “I might have been a writer.”

But you know what?

I AM A WRITER.

That IS what IS, and it’s what I WILL BE.

Living in the present, a.k.a. WHAT IS, will allow me to appreciate the moments of today. There’s no more worry, no more lost time, no more gloom and doom. Rather, it’s taking in each moment spent with nature, with family, with friends, and with myself. It’s allowing the rain to hit my face, to feel the ocean on my feet, and to experience LIFE and all of its grandeurs.

While there’s always a “to do” list, I will no longer allow anything that sucks my soul dry to be written on that list. That IS what IS.

I will be mindful today while striving towards what I want MY future to be, a.k.a. WHAT WILL BE.

And you know what? It’s okay if I don’t exactly know what or where that is yet.

I’m definitely on the right path.  I feel it with every part of my being. Each and every step makes the journey meaningful, adding richness and color to the quest of life.

The old me would have been filled with fear when looking at a future that was uncertain and shaped like a question mark.

Instead, I now see uncertainty as exciting.

I’m ready for the adventure of life and every experience it brings.

That IS, and it will bring me to WHAT WILL BE in the most glorious way possible.

Until next time,

Jill

To see my 45th birthday post, click here.