Wednesday, March 11, 2015

"Moment by moment."

"Don't call it uncertainty- call it wonder. Don't call it insecurity- call it freedom." -Osho

        We all experience moments of nervousness, hyper awareness, fear. Do you perform or speak in public? Are you taking an exam? Are you going out on a first date with a crush? Do you have a job interview?  Many of us get a sinking feeling in the pit of our stomachs when having to face certain events or people in our lives. There is nothing wrong with being nervous. Nervousness shows we actually care about the outcomes of our actions. However, we may notice the more we focus on ourselves, the more anxious we become, doubling our own discomfort. We imagine all the possibilities which lead to failure or disappointing our loved ones. How harshly do we judge ourselves?  Would you judge others so harshly? Where did these negative and critical thoughts originate?
     The real problem is we write stories in our minds that simply aren't true. "If I flunk this exam, I'll never get into college." "If I mess up this speech everyone will think I'm an idiot." " If they don't like me it's because I'm unattractive." " If I don't make everyone happy I'm unlovable." Your mind is constantly busy manufacturing terrible scripts that have nothing to do with the reality of your situation. So take a step back. Breathe. One of the best ways to overcome fear is to entirely rewrite and edit our dramatic scenes. In the eloquent words of author, Pema Chodron, "The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment by moment." How do we refocus our attention and overcome fear and uncertainty?

When we find ourselves in a fearful confrontation our adrenaline  kicks in, our faces flush, our mouths become dry, our hearts beat faster. We become hyper alert and more aware of physical sensations. But if we can cool down and stay calm, we have the ability to refocus our attention on others. Our anxiety begins to slowly dissipate. We refocus on our audience, refocus on being part of a team or refocus on the individual with whom we're speaking. By taking our mental focus away from ourselves we can redirect all that nervous energy and conviction towards our initial objective. Why are we there? Why are we doing what we're doing?

Positive affirmations may sound like pop psychology cliches but we all develop strong mental habits which began in our own minds. We have to replace negative self-talk with positive thoughts. Believe we can't and we won't. Believe we can and we'll find a way. Remember the scene from the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein film, The Sound of Music when Maria was sent from the abbey to act as governess for the von Trapp children?  Even though her future felt incredibly uncertain, she fought back her self-doubt with encouraging words, consoling her frustrations.

  "I Have Confidence"

What will this day be like? I wonder.
What will my future be? I wonder.
It could be so exciting to be out in the world, to be free
My heart should be wildly rejoicing
Oh, what's the matter with me?
I've always longed for adventure
To do the things I've never dared
And here I'm facing adventure
Then why am I so scared?

Read more: The Sound Of Music - I Have Confidence (Maria) Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Why are we so scared of the unknown?  Rest assured, it's normal to desire security. Staying in our comfort zones gives us a sense of safety. Letting go of our need for certainty, letting go of fear little by little allows us to gain more strength and courage. The more courage we gain, the more positive steps we take in obtaining what we really want in life.  Word by word, moment by moment, chapter by chapter, we give ourselves permission to create reality from our own passions and dreams. Each day, we should wake up and realize we are the fearless authors of our own story.

A special birthday wish, March 14th, goes out to my niece.
I will always believe in you, Bri.  Love you, forever.