How to be more fearless (includes a guided meditation)
Being fearless means obstacles can’t stop you unless you let them.
Recently, I did a process created by the fabulous Margaret Lynch called “Your Inner Child Exercise.”
The amazing thing about this exercise is that it provides you with a connection to the child you once were.
Many times as we live our lives, we forget how it felt to be a child—a time when we’re naturally more connected to our spiritual selves.
When I did the exercise myself, I discovered that the one special and unique gift my inner child wanted to be recognized for was being utterly fearless.
My last show (podcast 47, Spiritual: What it is and What it isn’t) discussed how spiritual people like myself actually live.
During that podcast, I talked about being true to yourself, about being authentic in every sense of the word.
But the thing about being authentic is that you have be pretty fearless to do so.
And being truly fearless can be scary as hell.
Many of us behave differently depending on where we are.
In other words, we might act one way with our friends and another way around our boss.
We might be ourselves around our immediate family but hide parts of our personalities during church or on other more formal occasions.
Sometimes, this is appropriate.
We may do it out of respect—yelling in a library is pretty damn rude, for example.
But sometimes it’s because we’re hesitant to show who we really are.
To share an incident from my own life:
I went to a Christian college. Since I commuted every day, I was one of the few students who had a car.
During a backyard Bible school program I participated in during my freshman year, I volunteered to give some other students a ride.
The first time I drove with one of these students, she noticed that I had a cassette tape of rock band Bon Jovi’s awesome album “Slippery When Wet.”
Yes, I’m that old!
She turned to me and said, “Wow, Jeannie. Bon Jovi! Is that really appropriate for you to listen to?”
Her voice was dripping in judgment—many students who went to this college only listened to Christian contemporary music or church hymns.
At the time, I was shocked, embarrassed and a little ashamed.
Part of me wanted to hide that tape in the glove compartment.
And yet, I LOVED Bon Jovi!
I still do!
There was absolutely no reason to let her opinion make me feel like I was a bad or corrupt or sinful person.
But I did.
Later, I felt a little angry at the interaction.
How dare she act like I wasn’t a good person because I liked rock music?
But back then, at eighteen, the action I took wasn’t to confront her.
Instead, I hid the tape.
I did it because I was afraid of her judging me.
At that young age, I allowed other’s opinions to sway me way too much.
I wasn’t in any way fearless.
Now, obviously, if you work with the public for a living, you probably won’t want to smile and greet your customers with, “Hi! How ya doing? How can I fucking help you today?”
At least not if you want to avoid getting fired.
But there are little ways we can become more fearless at being more of our true selves.
If you’re an author or creative, being fearless may mean taking a deep breath and sending off your manuscript to an editor, agent or publisher.
Or if you’ve been blocked for a while, maybe it’ll entail reaching out for the guidance and support you need.
If may mean standing firm on an idea you had for a story when your editor wants you to change it.
It may mean sharing and marketing your book in a very public way on social media.
More generally, it may be not hesitating to speak to strangers or look them in the eye.
It may mean speaking up when you’ve been silent in the past.
It may be standing up for yourself when your boss or coworker puts you down.
All of those things take courage and bravery.
All those require a decent sized dose of courage.
So today’s Serene Saturday will end with a guided meditation intended to inspire you to be more fearless.
To follow along, please make sure you can safely give your attention to the meditation.
First, take a couple of deep breaths and close your eyes.
Feel your body against your seat, grounded and secure.
Relax each part of your body from head to toe as you take a couple more breaths.
You find yourself in the midst of a beautiful meadow.
All around you is soft green grass, butterflies and wildflower blossoms.
The air is warm and rich with the scents of honeysuckle, aster and fresh earth.
Granite mountains gleam in the distance, their solid presence surround the meadow, making you feel safe.
It is late in the day, and as you continue to walk, the sun sinks toward the mountainous horizon, setting the sky ablaze in vivid pink and orange.
Your hike is leading you toward a tree, and as you approach it, you begin to comprehend it’s massive height.
Once you reach it, you recognize it as a magnolia tree, it’s branches plentiful and close to the ground.
You feel compelled to climb this tree, and you do, going up and up until you reach the top—four stories above the ground.
You feel a thrill of fear as you realize just how high you are.
The sun has completely set now, and you’re alone in the dark on the uppermost branches of this huge tree.
Your heart races and your fingers clutch the smooth bark tightly.
Your mouth fills with the almost bleach-like taste of panic.
You wonder why you did this.
You wonder if you’ve made a mistake.
You wonder if you’re up for this after all.
What were you thinking?
You’re scared of heights!
You glance down, trembling, but then notice a myriad of lights at the base of the tree.
At first you think it must be fireflies, but then you hear voices, calling out to you in encouragement…
You did it! You climbed to the top!
You’re so strong! You’re amazing!
There is a crowd below. Each of them hold a flickering candle.
Their supportive words energize you, make you feel proud of yourself for being more fearless than you’ve ever been.
Come back down to us, they say.
You can do it!
We believe in you!
So you start your descent.
Each step is treacherous because you can’t see in the darkness. You have to feel your way.
Step by step, your feet seek out the next lowest branch as your hands reach for safe places on the trunk to grip on to.
You keep going, making your way back toward the ground.
It feels like you’ve been climbing for an hour when your foot comes into contact with the surface of the ground.
You look around, expecting to see that wonderful crowd of people, but no one’s there.
For the first time, you realize you conquered your fear all on your own.
You really are strong.
You really did do it.
And an astounding feeling of invincibility pours through your system.
You doubted you could do it, you were terrified, but you did it anyway.
Now, you never have to be scared of anything again!
In your heart of hearts, you know you can face any obstacle because you now have real evidence that you can overcome it.
You can be fearless because you already are!
You smile at the surge of confidence you feel.
Whatever you want to accomplish, you know you can.
Nothing can stop you now.
And you take another breath, feeling one with the universe and at absolute peace.
Slowly, you begin to return to your body.
You feel your back and legs pressed against your seat.
You turn your head carefully back and forward, then side to side.
You wiggle your fingers and toes.
You take another deep breath, one that reaches all the way into your belly.
And when you are ready, you open your eyes…