You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it.
You have to go down the chute.
Don’t you love it when a quote (like the one above) just grabs you and hits the nail on the head! Overthinking used to be one of my top 10 qualities. It’s still up there when I get a little worked up, but not quite in the top 10 anymore I am proud to say. But it has taken time, a lot of time, to get past the over reliance on the intellect to figure out everything including life.
Recently I was asked to be part of an experts panel at a book launch. Now I don’t consider myself an expert in anything but the opportunity was quite charming. I could feel the subtle tug of charm leading me to a yes even though everything in my head was saying “no, no way, are you nuts?”. So naturally, I said yes. Of course. Makes total sense. Why?
Overthinking never did anyone any good. I should know. Far from being helpful, it blocks up the whole system. Sometimes we just need to say yes and figure it out afterwards (another Tina Fey gem). Get in there, roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty.
If I had gone down the path of the intellect (as I have many many times before), I would have found and listed a whole page of reasons to politely decline an invitation I was curious and intrigue to accept. Reasons such as:
1. You’re not an expert on anything, except maybe overthinking.
2. You don’t like public speaking.
3. You’re not an expert on anything.
4. You won’t be able to answer the questions (because you’re not an expert, remember?) and on and on the list continues…
It would have been the safe option to say no. I would have stayed home on a Wednesday night and feel good about how I managed to save myself from potential embarrassment. The 100 or so excuses in my head would have assured me that I was doing the right thing.
Instead, I chose to tune into the sense of curiosity and intrigue and follow the subtle tug of charm that I felt upon receiving this unexpected invitation. Not having been on a panel before I had no idea what to expect although closer to the time I was provided with proposed questions and brief bios of my fellow panel members. The night itself went surprisingly well. It’s never anywhere as big and bad as our minds make it out to be. And everything is always figure-out-able. Yes, there were questions I didn’t have answers to and I said so. I had a great time, learned many things and met lots of new people.
When we do something for the first time (and something we are a little scared to do), we become totally present in the moment. Our present moment awareness is switched on. All thoughts dissolve. The past and the future don’t seem to exist as time is funneled into the present moment. Now is all that matters. And in that moment, we find ourselves capable of things we didn’t know we could do. And when we have the courage to take the step and make the commitment, what happens is that nature will respond to meet us, and lift us, so that we can go on to take the next courageous step and so on.
So in place of avoiding what we fear in order to stay safe, maybe what we can do is examine what it is we say no to and have excuses for, and how life might be vastly different if instead we choose to say yes and engage. To ditch the excuses and go down the chute…
Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it’s a feather bed.