Taking Courageous Action To Have The Life You Dream Of
There comes a time when the desire for transformation demands action. Never let your fears be the deciding factor, of taking that action. “Obstacles are like wild animals. They are cowards, but they will bluff you if they can. If they see you are afraid of them…, they are liable to spring upon you; but if you look them squarely in the eye, they will slink out of sight.” Orison Swett Marsden
Action is required when the change comes from within us. The choice to enter through the gates of greatness, is an internal change initiated by our desire to live a fully engaged life. This change requires of us, just a touch of insanity because it means that we will no longer live a life of conformity. It requires from us that we recognize and let go of beliefs that no longer serve us. We begin by setting intentions and making conscious designs of how we want to change our life. Something new is birthed into existence when this happens. Like the caterpillar we emerge from the chrysalis a new creation.
There comes a time when the caterpillar has to make the chrysalis. He has to overcome the fear of what is going to happen when he closes it off with himself all wrapped up inside of it. He has to let go of the fear of will he be able to breathe. How will he eat? What happens if it something goes wrong? How will he get out? “It is when I struggle that I strengthen. It is when I am challenged to my core, that I learn the depth of who I am.” Dr. Steve Marboli. It is the struggle of the transformed butterfly to emerge from the covering that the wings become fully functional. If you “help” it to escape, it will deform the wings and it will never be able to fly.
There is a story told of how an arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming. I have always loved this story, because it is by the action of pulling back the arrow that it launches us through the gates of greatness. It is such a great analogy of understanding that struggle is part of advancement.
Cheryl Strayed said “fear, to a great extent is born of a story that we tell ourselves.” I don’t know how many of you remember back to the late 70’s, but there was a gas crisis. We had lines around the block to get gas, and you could only get it on even or odd days depending on your license plate number. It was around this time that all but two states, decided that we had to pump our own gas, it was all self service.
Now I had never had to pump gas. I told myself this big fear story about how I was going to do it wrong, blow up the service station or something equally horrible. For quite a while I got away with leaving my husband with the almost empty tank, until one day it happened. The tank was on empty and I had to pump my own gas. Well as you can guess it was simple and easy. I didn’t pour gas all over the station, I didn’t implode, nothing caught on fire. I laughed about my fears when I drove away – it was just a made up story, by my fear of the unknown. Richard Bach said, “The meaning I picked, the one that changed my life: Overcome fear, behold wonder.”
That is what I learned from that experience. Fear isn’t meant to shut me down – it is meant to wake me up to wonder. I had let this fear limit how far I could drive. I had let it stop me from filling up my car with gas. I have always pulled that memory out when fears start getting in my way. Fear was making me a prisoner, and overcoming that fear set me free. Free to go have adventures, to embrace transformation and change in my life. To take actions, which is to take risks. Risk is always present when I am doing something that I don’t know how to do. This is what bravery and courage is, not the absence of fear, but the ability to push through the fear and by taking action, to do it anyway. There is nothing more liberating that doing something we didn’t think that we could do. No matter how simple or easy it actually turns out to be.
W. Clement Stone said, “Thinking will not overcome fear, but action will.” It is the actions that move us forward. Actions say who we are, whereas the words, or talking about something, simply say who we want to be. What we have to remember is that our lives are a message to all of those around us. They see our actions that we take, how we go forward in the world, and that is how they see us.
Think of the iconic movie characters. Rocky who fights against the odds and wins. Indiana Jones who will find the treasure, then have to fight the bad guys and win against impossible odds. John Wayne; The Lone Ranger; Darth Vader; Luke Skywalker; Bilbo Baggins; Gandalf; – when you say the names, you see the characters that they represent. The reputations that the characters earned, by the actions that they each took – both good and bad. Each one has a message to the world.
“Adversity introduces a man to himself.” Albert Einstein. Think about Luke Skywalker and how when he was training with Yoda and entered the cave. He asked what he would find inside and Yoda said, “whatever you take in with you”. He took into the cave his fears of Darth Vader, but what did he see when he took the mask off of Darth Vader? His own face. His own fears that he would become what he hated. That somehow he would fail and become evil too. That is the story of his fear. When he faced that fear, he saved not only himself, but also his father Darth Vader. He inspired his father to change back from his evil ways.
Our souls dreams lead us into transformation. This transformation requires that we change. Change requires that we initiate some sort of action to make everything happen. When you are inspired by your purpose to seek change and transformation, your mind transcends the limitations or bonds that have kept you prisoner, held in place. the whole world opens up to you. You see things that you missed, because of the blinders your fear had in place.
Your talents and gifts comes alive and expand to fill in the void created by facing your fears. These gifts are that which is needed for transformation. The caterpillar builds the chrysalis, after which the divine takes over, as the caterpillar physically changes into the butterfly. The action of the caterpillar has to happen first. So it is for us. We feel the need to transform. We take the needed action to start the process. Then you transcend your limitations, your gifts come alive and you begin to see the divine purpose you have in being here. You discover that you are a greater person than you ever dreamed you could be.
Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside of you that the world is waiting for. That the gifts you have been given are required in this time and place. That these gifts can help you to overcome any obstacle. Life has a habit of pulling out of us what is needed. So don’t just dream about the life you wish you had. Go out and make that life real. Let your faith be bigger than your fears. Just remember how silly I was to let the fear of pumping gas stop me from having adventures by limiting how far I could travel. Every time you face a fear, you can laugh with me at how silly we were to let it stop us for even 5 minutes.