Stare Death In The Face And Keep Moving Forward.
It’s important to do things that scare you; for, the thing you value most is often waiting on the other side of fear.
As a child, this meant staying out past curfew; biking far beyond the limits of where I said I would; seeing if we could climb onto the roof; setting an alleyway on fire; bombing down steep hills and surfing my bike—as I got older—switching university courses; getting into martial arts; leaving that and discovering yoga; backpacking around the world for 5 months; exploring the power of shamanism; trying to start my own business—and, more recently—getting a few tattoos; exploring jiu jitsu; and learning how to rock climb.
Now, to you, that may just sound like good-natured fun, but a lot of that had fear as the gatekeeper standing in the way. We all want to do things, but often times fear gets in the way.
“I can’t do that because…”
“I’m not like that, since…”
“I would, but I just have no time…”
There’s an excuse for everything that we could or would do, but we must realize that excuses are just mind states that set us back and lull us into complacency; rather than helping us rise up into our true being.
Granted, that doesn’t mean that you should be completely foolhardy when going about doing things; nor does that mean you should have a death wish. It just means weighing the stakes and realizing the very limited time that we have left here on earth.
As law-abiding, normative members of society, we don’t really spend too much time contemplating our own demise. When, in fact, we are all going to die eventually (check out my exceptionally old article on death, now immortalized in my second Photo Book, HERE*). In realizing that we are each going to die, that gives us the capacity to know what it means to truly live. Not survive, live. Survival is about drudging on for the sake of drudging on; where as living means doing the things that we each want to do, simply because we have the capacity and time left to do them.
It also doesn’t mean that you “have to do everything”. I mean, I personally don’t go skydiving; I don’t free-solo; I don’t compete in martial arts; I don’t gamble; and I don’t race fast cars. Not necessarily because I could get hurt in doing those things, but because I just don’t feel the inclination to do those things in the first place. I know what I want and I know what I don’t want to do in life—and that’s what matters most.
What we sometimes lack is knowing where to draw the line. Thus, we should each spend some time thinking about and find things that we truly want to do in life; and then go and do that!
The only way to learn and grow is to be open and willing to fail. Not everything you try will work out, but at least you will have gained the invaluable experience of knowing what it is to live.
And, after all, isn’t that why we’re all here in the first place?
Enjoy your experience; go do the things that you want to do; and never let a simple thing like fear (or laziness, for that matter) ever stand in the way of doing what it is that you truly want to do.
In the end, it’s not about having a death wish—it’s about having a life wish.