Note: If you missed the first week of my meditation experience, scroll through the home page to review.
In Day 8 of the Meditation Experience, the Centering Thought is focused on making smart choices from our true self. This means moving outside of our comfort zone so that we can stretch and grow as individuals, and not confine ourselves to living within the boundaries of old habits and fears.
I have a lot of friends who “played it safe” throughout their lives. Those that did, stuck with the traditional “checking of life boxes” because that’s what their parents did and even generations before them. They’d go to college, meet someone, start their careers, get married, buy a house, have children, etc. Living life any other way would feel foreign and unsafe to them. The unfortunate part is that commonly, these friends of mine did all of this so young that by the time they hit their 30s, they realized they missed out on a huge part of life. In other words, they began to understand that they didn’t allow themselves to grow, out of that fear that they would have been old and gray with none of the above checked off. Yet, they now wished they lived a little more. It’s those friends that constantly say to me, “I live vicariously through you but could never do what you do.”
While no two people (or their circumstances) are the same, the above (to some of us) illustrates an example of living within the confines of generational habits and personal fears. And unfortunately, many people do it throughout their entire lives – myself included. I’ve always (somewhat) “colored outside the lines”. I’m the type of person that will (generally) say, “Just do it” but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I’ve still been placing limits on myself, based on past life experiences or innate childhood fears. So how does one overcome that at any age?
Getting Over Fears Slowly But Surely
My parents weren’t big into physically active vacations or other activities. We did a lot of walking/sightseeing but I never learned to ice skate, ski, play team sports, or anything else that could potentially result in a broken bone or two. For YEARS I was afraid of taking that leap because I, myself, didn’t want to be holed up in a hospital with a grueling fracture (or worse). Over time, I decided I had to at least try the aforementioned things above and just see how it went.
The trick to overcoming many fears is centering yourself. Taking deep breaths, meditation, and even yoga. The more you are able to relax, concentrate on the task, and envision yourself doing something you’re afraid of, the easier it gets to overcoming some of your fears.
I played for a competitive flag football team (first team sport ever) and excelled at it. I attempted snowboarding a couple of different times and decided that it wasn’t for me. I tried ice skating for the first time last year and loved it. The commonality amongst all of these was giving myself a goal of overcoming a fear and giving it an honest, objective attempt before writing it off. The more I did it, the more I wanted to see what else I could overcome. The more I felt this need to overcome previous fears, the more these “fears” turned into life goals. What was once a HUGE FEAR of skydiving has now become a life goal of mine to skydive over the Swiss Alps (nope, never done it before but to me, it’s “go big or go home”). I used to have a HUGE fear of speaking in front of groups of people but now, it’s one of the things I want to do the most.
The shift in mentality is ginormous to me. Fears become exciting “to-do’s”. When you get to this realization, you begin to uncover that your life potential is limitless, opening up your entire being to experiences and sensations you would never have previously thought possible.
I encourage everyone to start small, set goals for yourself and of course, also set rewards. Oftentimes, you’ll find out that overcoming a fear is the biggest reward itself.