Be Judged or Be Ignored


You will be judged (or you will be ignored). Those are pretty much the only two choices.
- Seth Godin


Okay. I’ll admit it.
I’m scared. Scared shitless, in fact.

I have a vision of where I want my life to be. I know what I am capable of, and it is
so much more than I am currently living. Playing small has gotten me by, it has paid the bills, and it has kept me safe. But I am sick and tired of playing it safe. I am over being underwhelmed. And I am ready to take some big actions that I know will catapult my life to new heights. Seriously big, y’all. Bigger and Bolder than Ever.

That stubborn little voice within taunts me... reminding me of all the many ways in which I am likely to fail (or be judged).
Do you have one of those? It tells me to wait just a little bit longer... wait until I am more equipped, less vulnerable, more developed in this and that. It asks me who I think I am to do such and such... it sends down torrential rains on my pride parade.

But it’s no longer fooling me. I know it’s just Fear rummaging through my closets... dressing up in all my clothes, pretending to know me better than I know myself. Fear is a wounded child... acting out, begging to be acknowledged and loved whole again.
Don’t we all want that?

To My Dearest Fear:
I see you. I acknowledge that I am afraid. I am afraid of being seen for who I am, afraid of being called out as what I am not... and most afraid of being condemned for either. I am scared of being loved, hated, criticized, or elevated... deified or demonized... laughed at or serenaded... all of it, I am afraid of it all.
Because either way, it means I am seen.

And that, my friends, is the fear at the heart of it all. Can I bare it all, be cast fully into the light, and accept the consequences of living out loud?
Can you?

I do have a choice. I can keep my voice at a hush for fear of offending others. Or even just live peacefully within my close web of friends and family. There is nothing at all wrong with modest living... with simple joys and private celebrations. Nothing at all. But that’s not what I am here to do
. It goes against the very fiber of my being. I am born for something that requires exposure... and there is no denying it.

Damnit. ;)

So yes, I am afraid. But I’m gonna put my ass out there anyway.
I’m gonna to chase my dreams right through the dark... and into the spotlight.
one by one...
over... and over...
and over...
again....
until I prove to Fear once and for all that
there really is no dragon I that cannot slay.

Off, I go.


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From Breakdown to Breakthrough


Turning Breakdowns into Breakthrough
Candice Schutter - theMessenger, December 2008

Sometimes a breakdown can be the beginning of a kind of breakthrough, a way of living in advance through a trauma that prepares you for a future of radical transformation.
- Cherrie Moraga

 
Life is a series of breakthroughs.
 
Consider the way in which we come into the world. Quite literally breaking through, we begin the cycle of life as we know it. We are pushed into being by a force beyond our control. What lies on the other side of the trauma that we are experiencing is unknown, and is therefore feared. Soon we learn that the same force that pushed us into the world is the essence of nourishment and safety. Nevertheless, in the moment of birth and emergence, we cry out as the light pierces the veil of darkness. Naturally, we wince at a power that exceeds comprehension.

 
We spend the rest of our life re-living this birth pattern, comforts followed by contractions. These contractions often come to us as breakdowns - some aspect of our life threatening to dissolve. Each time, life is leading us to a new emergence (greater light) so that we might experience more brilliance - of insight, of connection, of purpose. Through each and every breakdown - however dark it may seem - is the womb through which more light will emerge. Thus, each breakdown is a breakthrough - a state of emergenc-y in the truest sense.
 
If we so choose, we may reframe our approach to the emergencies of life. There is no denying that such seasons of change can be painful and confusing. The time spent in the midst of breakdown is a time of contraction requiring strength and endurance, and can be especially difficult if the light of breakthrough cannot be readily seen in the distance. A breakdown forces us from the comfort of the status quo so that we might acknowledge what we have too long denied. We have become dependent on habits that we have outgrown, and we are being forced to take our life to the next level.
 
Generally, breakdowns are met with fear. (Just look no further than current state of our financial sectors for evidence of this on a cultural level). The natural energy of fear is contraction, withdrawal, and sometimes panic. In times of breakdown, we are conditioned to feel smaller as we are faced with a force beyond our control. We may feel defeated, ill-equipped, and unsure of what is to come. In essence, we ask the same questions that we did not have words for as we emerged from the womb - where oh where could these contractions be taking us?!
 
I suggest we approach this time of contraction with consciousness, introspection, and a certain degree of trust. Activate your inner witness, and assess what is no longer in harmony with your most heartfelt desires. Ask yourself: What habits have I outgrown? How am I being asked to change? In what ways am I limiting the possibilities in my life? And, what am I most afraid of? In this way, we consciously engage with each contraction, willingly and openly breathing through the waves of challenge in the hope of greater insight.
 
Yet awareness, while most essential, is only the yin of it. In the end - and only you will know when it is time - you must be prepared to engage the yang within...to push your way out. Contractions get closer together; discomfort forces you into action...and you facilitate your own rebirth by taking courageous steps that align you with the potential you are stepping into.
 
Listening to the wisdom of breakdown, we learn from it, and thereby facilitate breakthroughs in our own lives. Keep in mind, reflection can be made easier in the company of a coach, an ally, or a dear friend. When we are held in the spirit of self-empathy, fear is transmuted into power. When navigated consciously, fear can actually be used as a wisdom that results in a more expansive you. Just as contractions enable birth, if allowed, fear enables new life. Contraction begets expansion. Breakdown begets breakthrough.
 
Keep in mind, most breakthroughs happen in stages. Each and every contraction bringing more awareness of how we must continually move and grow. Take it one step at a time, and know that the joy of a new path is emerging:
 

AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY
IN FIVE SHORT CHAPTERS

by Portia Nelson
 
Chapter I:
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost ... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.
 
Chapter II:
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place
but, it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
 
Chapter III:
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
 
Chapter IV:
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
 
Chapter V:
I walk down another street.

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