Words matter, and when I hear myself say the same thing over and over again, I start to listen closely. As has happened recently with the sentence, “I don’t need to go bungee-jumping.”
I used the phrase several times to explain what my Year of Courage – 2021 – will and will not include. And in every single conversation I mentioned bungee-jumping as the thing I would not be doing. Eventually, that gave me a wait-a-minute moment.
In brief, my top criteria for courageous actions are:
- they need to scare the living shit out of me,
- and they need to offer potential for personal growth.
When it comes to bungee-jumping, there’s no question it would scare me a lot, and I can see how trusting a rope and diving head-first into the abyss offers certain growth potential. Boom, criteria met!
Well, not that quickly! I also pride myself in not being an idiot, at least most of the time. Given that I shattered my leg and ankle while walking my dog in the park as recently as four months ago and still nobody can explain why this serious injury happened, actual bungee-jumping is out of the question.
Which means I have to ask myself: What is the metaphorical equivalent of bungee-jumping that brittle-bone me can do? What else scares the living shit out of me at least as much and offers massive potential for personal growth?
The answer is already staring me in the face:
That, my friend, is my true discomfort zone.
(Actually, if you look back up what I wrote about bungee-jumping, there you’ll find “trusting the rope”, which of course is the key element in the situation…)
Trusting others is not my forte. I don’t trust others all that often, and even if I do, it doesn’t come easily. My lack of trust prefers to hide behind a lot of ‘I’m fine’ and ‘I’ve got this’. And very often I am fine and I’ve got this.
But – there’s always a but, isn’t there? – my 2020 motto was “Let it be easy” and, even global pandemic aside, I did not let it be easy. Not even the things that could have been. Until I manifested the tough lesson of a few broken bones which required me to trust lots of people – from the surgeon and other doctors to my Go Big team who did a great job while I was out and my husband who took care of me. Not only did everything work out okay – most of it worked out brilliantly!
And I am very glad it did, of course. Still, my number one fear monster keeps raising its ugly head, telling me that I am the only one who has my back, the only one I can trust.
The thought is so deeply engrained that I am even trying to micromanage the Universe!
See, for years, I have been saying the same sentence after meditating: “I step back and let the Universe lead the way. I am protected and guided throughout my day.” Beautiful, right? But I never got into the habit of actually stepping back and letting the Universe lead the way. Interestingly enough, I only realized this fully during my recent recovery when my morning meditation habit was interrupted.
It’s one of the messages I got from this whole broken bones mess. It’s very uncomfortable, I can tell you that. Primarily because it means opening up to the possibility that I cannot – and don’t have to – control everything. Just writing that puts me on edge.
But courage is to be afraid and act anyway.
So, trust. We’ll have some acquainting to do as we go forward together…