False Events Appearing Real…I coach my students around this concept but it is a tricky one. A man who fears suffering is already suffering from what he fears. As soon as your free of the fear, the suffering disappears. So how can you do it? It’s a distinction. Define where your mind is making up a story around around what will happen, and prove it wrong. Voila!…Haha easy right? In my youth I defined myself by my ability to look fear in the face and defy it. Friends thought I was part crazy, part courageous and frankly, just plain stupid at times. With age comes wisdom…well not really, but it at least gives you more time to come to your senses, your true awareness, so to speak. What I have learned is that there is no distinguishing the feeling of fear and the feeling of excitement. They are virtually the same with one small exception, the meaning you give to the feeling. Heart rate rises, breathing quickens, adrenaline gets released, butterflies flutter in your tummy…whatever your response is for you, can be exhilerating or terrifying. You get to choose. Jumping out of airplanes, off bridges, cliffs, buildings…I thought I was defying my fears but what I was really doing was fuelling my addiction to adrenaline and excitement. I found myself having to do crazier, and crazier things to get the same high.
It wasn’t fear I was conquering, it was excitement I was seeking. I have been truly enraptured by Fear three times in my life and I can remember them vividly and recreate them like they are happening in real time( another interesting ability of the mind…time travel). The first was dreaming as a young boy. My sister being stalked by a huge stranger in a dark alley, and being a powerless young boy unable to warn her or run or anything. Powerless!
The second was imagining my wife and children getting into a head on collision and me not being able to help. ( I created this in a controlled environment in a room filled with 400 people at the landmark forum.) That is where I learned that the story your mind creates can take you over at moments notice if you give it free rein. Lesson learned! I went from fear to laughter in a breath as I finally got that it was me that created meaning in every situation. Sweet…bring it on world.
The the third…We had built a quincy in the front yard in Fernie. We decided to sleep in it and went through the necessary precautions of venting it (3 times the required amount…paranoid dad) and set to story telling and sleeping. We fell asleep at 10. At 11:30 the entire thing collapsed on us! I had semi anticipated this and had made sure that the roof was thin enough not to hurt anyone. I woke when it thumped down on me and paniced. I dug through the snow for piper first and found her and she was lifeless. I lifted her up and she was completely unresponsive. I will never forget that feeling. I started to scream for help and dug to find Hunter. She was buried as well and when I found her little hat she was sleepy eyed but awake and wondering what was going on. I went back to Piper and was lifting her and shaking her to wake. I thought she was dead. Then a tiny voice said…Daddy?. My heart stopped. I asked her if she was ok and she replied “yes fine” in a stoic what do you mean type voice. I carried them in the house and put them to bed and went back outside to collect our things and my wits. She has no recollection of what happened and I am still not sure if we would have been ok if it hadn’t collapsed. I have no idea if the vent holes closed or what but she isn’t usually so hard to wake. If I was more aware I would have noticed the roof creeping in on us as when we made it the roof was a good 4 feet off the ground.I Didn’t sleep thinking of the what ifs. ( For a week). I know what Fear is, and I know what my fears are. It has shaped me to be the guy with the most prepared first aid, the most capable truck, the fittest guy on the block in case anything happens. Fear can be motivating, it can shape you, it can push your limits and make you a better person. Learning how to distinguish it and avoid the suffering it can cause is key to living a life you love. I don’t fear FEAR anymore and I am clear on what it is and how it can rule you. I still push limits and will be the guy who is ready for anything but it isn’t out of Fear like it used to be, its out of love.
I should say though, that when my heart rate monitor malfunctioned last week and indicated I was having heart trouble, I did wonder if I was wearing clean underwear:)
Let go of the voices inside which outline, in great detail, the reasons why you can’t do something. I did it this morning when my alarm went off at 5 am. I’m too tired, I feel a bit ill, better to stay in bed to rest up for the day. Hmmm, isn’t this the same conversation I had yesterday. Yep…and the day before that. My success in the past has been directly linked to this conversation and how I rarely give in. So many reasons not to, and only one reason to get up and train…adventure. I want my life to be an adventure. I don’t want to watch other people on TV live crazy wonderful lives, I don’t want to read about it, I want to live it. I want to model it to my kids, my family, my friends, and you. I could list all the reasons not to, or why I can’t, or how my body won’t let me, or how I don’t have the time…but they would all be stories. Stories I use to validate the voice in my mind telling me I wont succeed, that I’m not good enough to succeed. I hate that voice and will devote the rest of my life waging war on this voice. The voice keeps us small, safe, mundane, and handcuffed to the status quo we have established for ourselves. I am a warrior waiting and watching for that voice. I had no idea that voice was my worst enemy. Now I see it as a friend…ahhh, there you are my friend, I was wondering where you had gone. Now that I hear you, I can use you to rise up to the next level…thank you my old friend. ( Without you there is no victory) See you in the morning. Darin