In October 2019, my life changed in several significant ways. Among other things, my stepmother was diagnosed with Stage 3 pancreatic cancer. This was devastating news to me, my family and many others because she is full of love, light, and grace. She faced her cancer diagnosis with her signature strength, dignity and bravery.
I reacted to her diagnosis with a renewed sense of gratitude for my life and my own good health. I also recognized the imminent need to overcome my fear, resistance to change and resistance to facing death. I previously wrote about my resistance to change in Embracing the Change of Season. As autumn turned to winter, I aligned myself with a newfound appreciation of seasonal changes, and the energetic shifts associated with each passing season.
As 2020 drew nigh, I summoned all my inner strength in pursuit of confronting my fears, so I could move through them in a constructive, compassionate and supportive manner. People tend to get blocked when “living in the past.” My wise yoga teacher instructed the class to be careful of people and objects that we cling to. To move forward with grace, I’m learning to respect and integrate darkness and sadness as part of life.
In order to conquer my fears, I’ve learned to face the unknown head on, and to appreciate and be grateful for countless unwanted changes. Although the unknown is very frightening to me, I freely acknowledge that new and different opportunities blossom out of change. In my experience, surrendering to the unknown most often shifts energy into all kinds of unanticipated, yet positive directions.
I accept that change cannot be avoided. Mother Nature is going to do her thing whether I like it or not, and there is little I can do to control, alter or manipulate the changes I’m facing during this difficult time. What I can do, and choose to do, is avoid extra suffering — and I do this by leaning into all the changes. I’m less inclined to live in a state of anticipatory fear. I’m too busy moving forward.
In the more mundane professional realm, often the worst that can happen is failure when we try new things. But, failure is a social construct, merely a perception, an attitude or an outlook. Successful people often consider failed attempts as nothing more significant than a lesson learned. There is less stigma and value judgement associated with the “cycle of failure” to a serial entrepreneur.
We can manage “fear of failure” by designating it as just another experience along life’s journey. This diminishes the power of fear, enabling us to move past setbacks more quickly and efficiently. Understanding this is a useful tool to harness when stepping outside of one’s comfort zone.
When we take life in a different direction (shifting our time and attention), and when we are aligned with and open to the energy of the present season, we allow new doors to open, and inevitably create new opportunities for growth and development.