On Monday evening, I’ll be giving a talk on what I have learned about how people can easily start living the joyful, peaceful, creative and loving life they are designed to live.
The simple fact that I am giving a talk is all the evidence I need of how this works.
For decades I had an abject fear of public speaking. Even the mention of a presentation at work made me feel sick and faint. I couldn’t even ask a question in a meeting. I tried everything to get rid of that terrible anxiety: courses, deep breathing, relaxation techniques, hypnosis, rescue remedies, brandy… Nothing worked. When forced to, I stood in front of colleagues shaking and sweat appearing in dark patches through my jacket, unable to say a single word….
The more I tried to get rid of this fear the more of a thing it became. It became an Issue. A Phobia. A Problem. I had to Deal With It. Find a Solution. And the more the capital letters appeared the more impossible it became.
What I realise, as I understand more about how we experience life, is that fear can be terrible. It can be something that, like me, someone will try to avoid at all costs.
Or it can be something we pay hundreds of dollars to experience in Disney Land. Or something we want so much that we demand a refund if the Blair Witch sequel doesn’t live up to the hype.
Awful or amazing. Devastating or desirable.
The only difference is whether we think we want it or not. Which means that apart from our thinking about it, fear is neutral. Like everything else: anger, sadness, approval, concern, anxiety, grief…
This means I can stand up this evening and my hands can be shaking and my voice can tremble and I can blush and sweat and lose my words and dry up and fumble and stumble and the only way any of that would matter even slightly is if I think it does.
For me, having come through years of resisting this fear, only to realise that it is only the resistance that creates any issue, this is the definition of freedom.
When I don’t cling to thoughts of how any experience is to be avoided then I just experience it. And in that openness to what is true and in the letting go of what is made up, I create a space in my mind for something miraculous.
So on Monday, if I stand there gaping like a gold fish for two hours, I really know, deep down that I am still OK and my guests are OK, and that for me is the transformation.
Because after all, all any of us can ever do is (in the words of Michael Neill) show up and respond to what happens. And the fact that I am showing up, whether shaking with fear or not, is the best way I can think of to show the creative power we all possess.