Just as I was rushing home from the office thinking of my dinner options, it occurred to me that I was about to miss yet another class of the dance course I had signed up and paid for.
I thought to myself, “Never mind, it’s a really busy week, lots of projects on my plate, I’ll go next week.” But somewhere deep down I kind of had this pang almost saying, “No, you won’t.” Which I then promptly dismissed as I was boarding the train home and I reassured myself that of course I was going to go to the next one—I had wanted to learn to dance for a long time and I also paid for the entire thing upfront.
Later that night I came back to this little voice that I had heard earlier. And then it suddenly hit me—I really wasn’t going to go to any of those dancing lessons. That little voice, regardless of how quiet it was, was telling the truth. And that truth—that was my insecurity. And me being busy with lots and lots of projects was not the reason I wasn’t attending. Just as my “extreme business” was not the reason I wasn’t going hiking. Or meeting new people. Or going to Thailand to volunteer for the elephants. Or going on that date.
My insecurities were that reason.
And then suddenly the mask fell away—the “too little time excuse” just wasn’t going to work anymore. And more importantly, this thought was then followed by an even scarier one: I am mortal. And one day I won’t be able to put my class off for another week because it truly will be my last one.
Now that thought felt mortifying and completely freeing—all at the same time.
As Steve Jobs wonderfully put it:
“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. “
As the realization that I’m mortal was sinking in deeper and deeper I made a vow that I would live each day as if I have nothing to lose. The next day I went out and bought a big, shiny ring I put on my finger to act as a daily reminder that I am mortal and that I should go to that class and I should ask that guy out for a coffee, and I should submit an article to elephant journal.
These are all the things that we really want to do and they are the ones making up our lives.
If we constantly hide behind being busy and making up all sorts of excuses, we risk missing that wonderful precious life and leading it from a place of fear instead of from a place of our core truth.
I’m a firm believer that each one of us is fully capable of doing anything we want in life. And of course, if we’re out of practice and have been hiding away from our fears for a while, it’ll be tough at the start! But the more we listen to our inner voice, the more we do things that send butterflies down to our stomach, the easier it becomes and the bigger the grins on our faces.
Until one beautiful morning, we find ourselves waking up and realizing that we are no longer rushing around busy and unaware of our true desires, but are fully present and engaged in our lives. That is well worth putting ourselves out there for and going through uncomfortable moments as we get to know our beautiful selves, more and more.
The further down that road we go, the easier the choices that make our soul happy will become.
So now, every time I catch myself trying to run away from myself and hide from my insecurities into business, I gently touch the ring on my finger, remember that I have in fact nothing to lose, smile to myself, pick up the phone and make that phone call.
Author: Dasha Lukiniha
Image: Guilherme Yagui / Flickr
Editor: Sara Kärpänen