The Thing You Must Do

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.

 ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

This weekend I attended a gathering that consisted of some of the most amazing people I have ever met, including my teacher, Martha Beck. I could write an entire post (or 5) about this experience alone. But I will limit myself to just this one–for now. One of the things I learned this weekend is that it is vitally important to be around supportive, encouraging people, especially when you are about to dive head first into your deepest fears. My longstanding fear has been deep intimacy, be it romantic, friendly or familial. This weekend I discovered that the very thing I was afraid to do, risk being a completely vulnerable weepy mess, was the very thing that set me free and allowed me to experience a profoundly deep connection with others. Consequently, I found myself sharing an intensely real and moving moment with people I had only met hours before. Now I know I can do vulnerable again and again until I’m a complete pro at it, but there had to be the ice-breaker.

There is something you must do, too. Maybe it’s leaving an abusive spouse, taking control of your health, leaving a well-paying (but soul-sucking) job, or finally telling the guy at the bagel shop he’s been getting your order wrong for the last 6 months that you’ve been coming in to the joint. I know, it’s highly personal, very risky and super scary. It’s easy to shrug off this responsibility and claim that it is either too much trouble or that you are happy enough, but you and I both know that is some stinky bull caca. The truth is that doing the thing you think you cannot do is the only way you are going to accomplish all the extraordinary things in life you know you must. It is part of your life’s work and, like it or not, no one can do it for you–even if they could, they wouldn’t do it as brilliantly as you.

I highly recommend doing the thing you think you cannot do with the encouragement and support of your people, the people who think you can do anything (if you are surrounded by discouraging people, the thing you must do now is stop going to them for support – that’s like trying to draw blood from a turnip, it’s not going to happen my friend). Reconnect with your people if you have lost touch. If you feel you are without your people and feel you are alone or misunderstood – I promise you, you are neither. Know that you are in good company. At the very least, know that I am right beside you doing the thing that scares the crap out of me. Underneath the fear there’s a part of you that’s really excited about this, right? That’s what following your bliss feels like. I suggest you see where it takes you.

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