Have you ever noticed that you don’t know you’re not being something, until you do something that reminds you of who you used to be?
Not clear? Let me try that again.
Earlier today, I made a bold move. Took a bold action. Not necessarily an unusual thing for me to do. Except…after I did it…I suddenly realized I hadn’t felt that feeling that I was feeling in that moment, in a very long time. It doesn’t matter what the thing was that I did. The point is, that in the doing of the thing, I was struck with how long it’s been since I’ve felt that way.
I took a few hits over the past year. Big ones. NFL Superbowl worthy hits. Life started to seem harder…And by harder, I mean…it became easier to call in sick, or stay in bed, or in my pajamas watching Netflix all day. It became easier than allowing another hit. No way could my body take another hit. If I holed up at home, and didn’t put myself out there, in anyway, perhaps the hits would stop.
What’s funny, is that I never stopped preaching the importance of being bold. Of stepping in. Of leaping. Of “going for it”. It just took me until today to realize I haven’t been living it. Whoa. Big. BIG personal integrity issue for me to address. I’ve always prided myself on the fact that I’m someone who lives life on the court, playing the game, doing the things, taking the risks…and yet. I stopped and I didn’t even notice.
I think that’s the saddest realization of all. I stopped and I didn’t even notice. I went from a techni-colour life, back to a black and white one, and didn’t notice. Now, I know I’m not alone in this. We all do it. At different times in life, things happen, and we cocoon into our ‘safe zone’. We all have one. Mine sounds a little bit like “I am never going through that again.” Whatever “that” is…we’ve all been there. We all have made decisions that make us take a few steps back. It’s the act of being human. It’s just what we do.
We get our hearts broken. We lose a parent. We lose our job. We cheat on someone. We wrong someone else, and a list of a thousand other “we” sentences. And then, we shut down. We stop growing. We stop showing up. We stop participating in life. And we don’t even know we are doing it. Not until the moment something shifts. Like the subtle shift that happened for me today.
I have been afraid to put myself out there. To risk looking bad. To risk being hurt. To risk…anything. It was subtle. I took the necessary time I needed to deal with what I needed to deal with. And only today did i see the residual effects. The lingering of the fear. Our unconscious is very powerful, so if our brains are telling us not to take the risk, we won’t, and we tell ourselves it was a “good” decision.
Ever notice, when you have a decision to make, you think about it, and you stew over it, and you convince yourself you’re not ready…and then the opportunity passes you by. That’s some old thought/experience that’s back there, making the decision for us. In my case, I’ve built a proverbial iron cage around my heart, even though on the outside it looks like my heart is wide open to every single experience, it’s not – It’s locked up tight. I can’t let anyone get in there…every corner, and crevice is sealed tight.
But for what? What am I saving it for? I like to think that I want to be thoroughly used up when I die…and yet…I’m unwilling to unlock the one piece of me that matters the most. The one piece of me that has me be out in the world, doing all the things I am so passionate about.
**side note – I’ve been obsessively listening to this song called “The History of my Heart” from the Nashville Soundtrack. Yes. That’s right. I said Nashville. I can’t get enough of that show. I am obsessed with that show. When I’m not watching that show, I’m thinking about that show. When I’m watching something else, I feel like I’m cheating on that show. Go ahead and judge me. I’m awesome. I can handle it.
Anyway…I’ve been obsessively listening to this song, and while it’s mostly speaking about love lost…It’s also about that no matter where we go, no matter who we are with, no matter what happened…that experience will stay with us. Because it is a part of who we are. Our history. It’s all a part of our history, and always will be.
Which means we are creating our history every single moment, of every single day. As someone said to me this afternoon, “when you’re on your deathbed, you don’t want to wish you had…” There is something to be said for spontaneous moments, and inspiration. If you’re not inspired by your own self…do something about that. Believe me, you’ll walk with a new spring in your step. You’ll feel proud. You’ll walk taller. You’ll be owning that awesome of yours.
And best of all…you’ll feel more alive. And by you, I actually mean me. I promise.