Fear is always circling around in the background of many of the difficult decisions we make, especially in the creative areas of our lives. Whether you are finally ready to put the time aside to make your art for the first time or simply making the decision to paint everything out and start again, a small inkling of Fear is always there.
Understanding or actually recognizing the presence of Fear is half the battle in working with it’s sometimes immobilizing effect upon us. Often along with Fear or at the heart of it, is some measure of Risk. Sometimes the choices that carry both aspects, Fear and Risk together, are ripe with potential change. They might require a significant shift in our thinking. These decisions are the ones that are really worth considering. It feels risky and frightening but sometimes the appropriate answer to questions and decisions that intuitively feel right but are accompanied with a degree of fear and risk, is, more often than not, yes.
What’s interesting about Fear, and subsequently Risk as well, is that these feelings are at their biggest, seemingly most immovable when they are allowed to stay within us, left unattended, a small irritant, like a pea size pebble in a shoe. How long can you walk with this persistent distraction?
It’s not so painful, but at the same time it remains in your consciousness all the while you are walking, and remains so, till at some point down the road you must stop everything, sit down in the middle of the road, pull off your shoe, find it and toss the damn thing out of your life forever. Then and only then can you begin to put everything back together, assemble all the parts and continue down the road unfettered and care free. It’s this difficulty of going “into the fear’ to really stop everything and look at the very thing that is causing the fear that so much of the time prevents us from really making significant changes in our work as well as our lives.
There usually is something, a notion, an idea that is at the root of the fear. Sometimes this is clear, sometimes it is obscured from view, but often it is the very common fear of losing something already obtained in an attempt to acquire something else more suitable in it’s place. This conservatism, this sense that we could lose something at any moment if we veer too far from our comfort zone almost remotely drives our actions.
It doesn’t always have to be the fear of losing something, however, sometimes it can be the fear of gaining something. A dream can come true, but only if the owner of that dream is actually prepared for that eventuality. Finding what you think you have been looking for oddly demands another kind of risk taking and circling around this idea of finally finding what you have been looking for so long is always a small tickle of fear. A very quiet concern that your dream now realized will feel far different in reality than it did when it was your dream and tantalizingly just outside your reach.
If we can look closer, take the time to really understand what it is we are afraid of losing, then this very scrutiny, this pulling out into the light of day, so to speak, of our most cherished fears will in due time diminish them. Often they can be diluted by this truthful introspection so much so that they actually can become smaller, less grandiose than previous felt. The great and powerful OZ, once the curtain of truth was pulled back, was in fact, just a small, diminutive old man, nervously trying to appear bigger and far more menacing than he actually was.
The ides here is that yes, there is sometimes something that is lost, something that is frightening in making a significant change or decision. The happy ending, the rewarding secret in this whole business of Fear and Risk is that more often than not whatever is given away or let go of, will in time be replaced with something of far greater value.
The unimaginable outcomes lay waiting just around the corner, out of sight of everyone but those willing to wander down this new path or course that began with simply taking a Risk.
What’s your experience?
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the founder of Art2Life.
With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.