“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” ~ Mark Twain
“Happy New Year!”
I have never liked nor understood that phrase nor the goal-setting that is so prevalent in the beginning of any new year.
The motivation to carry out something new, important, or necessary fades. Every time.
I like fear instead. Not the kind created by scary images or imagined disasters if a certain road isn’t taken.
I like the kind that settles in to try to convince me to turn and run even though I’m in the very place I chose to be, doing what I want to do.
- Note: I’m not talking about bungee-jumping or cliff-diving. The feelings that show up at those times are reminders that we are mortal and there’s no shame in wanting to live!
Never once was I comfortable standing in the wings, waiting for my turn to enter stage right or left. Every single time I swore if I didn’t get to the bathroom in the next minute, I was going to explode. All the hours of preparation, every memorized step and phrase of music flew out the window, promising me complete embarrassment if I dared step out of the darkness and into the bright, exposing lights. And I knew that failure was a real possibility.
I thought that with experience those feelings of discomfort would go away. But they haven’t. I just understand them now.
Over time I repeatedly moved forward every time I was confronted with those feelings even though I wanted to throw up instead. And I never failed. I actually had fun. But more importantly, I’d grown. I’d learned to make decisions that weren’t based in emotions.
The jitters, the over-analyzing, justifying self-talk are signals that I’m having a moment. It’s not a typical moment like the ones that string 24 hours together and weave them into another day. It’s the kind of moment when an unexpected and different pattern is starting to reveal itself, and I’m faced with letting it unfold or disregarding it because it’s different and doesn’t fit with the expected and comfortable pattern I’d been working with.
So, the real “Happy New Year” happens for me as it happens. As I get a thought, and with the thought a choice, I walk into new and unfamiliar territory. Every day. I still can’t stand those uncomfortable jitters or the analytical thoughts. But they tell me that I’m up to new, life-changing things.
And I like that.