(one of my favorite Instagram wordsmiths: zachary smith)
“Do what you love.”
Simple to say.
But it used to scare the life out of me.
What about you? Are you somewhat secretly or even unconsciously afraid of doing what you love?
Some people avoid love like the plague, even though they believe they’re wide open. After dating a slew of divorced and previously heartbroken men who said that they were “open” but really were not at all open. It was a parade of people who turned into the worst version of themselves at the hint of emotion that ran deep and struck a familiar chord that resonated with panic.
Funny enough, that turned the mirror on me. What was I doing that I was a magnet for this same-same weirdo pattern? The whirwind that ended in tears or anger. The catastrophic and seismic boom.
How did this reflect me and my own feeling of love…?
What the hell was wrong with me?
That’s how I felt. So I avoided relationships like the plague. Even the ones that seemed promising…. until I figured out where and how I was avoiding the big love in my own life.
It’s not all romance.
My soulmate puppy Bob broke things open. I love him so much it brought up all my paranoia about losing love. I guarded him like a precious statue. Didn’t let him sniff too close to things… didn’t want his feet on questionable grass… didn’t want too many dogs around him…
He became too sheltered, bored and perhaps resentful of me.
That had to change. I realized it when a guy who told me he loved me told me not to get too close to him because he couldn’t handle love.
That was it.
It was the mirror of life talking at me, directly. It was my puppy Bob sulking when he looked at me in the morning, wishing he could play in the neighborhood despite my want to hyper-protect him.
And it did change. It had to change.
So did my whole concept of love. And my fur baby Bob started his own life of adventure.
I see this dynamic of avoiding love happening everywhere that love and fear dance too closely together. Suddenly you realize you can lose it, it gets trapped in too tight a grip, the spin-out starts… and what was once precious crumbles to dust.
We don’t just do it with romance.
It happens with passion projects, with deep life goals, with health programs, with positive changes… When you aren’t used to feeling so deeply, the love can be disarming. It can pull you out of your typical self, and once you’re deeply invested in the process, it can feel like the hugest personal risk to feel so many feelings.
In the face of love, you see all kinds of things you maybe don’t want to believe. Like how much you really do want to be accepted, how you do care what people think despite how much you protest that you don’t… How great you can feel… How much you can be hurt if things don’t go your way…
Do what you love- really love- anyway. No matter how much the weird voices in your head- or from your friends, parents, random people on the streets- make you question your choices to write books, make art, become a humanitarian or anything else that makes your heart open hugely and life run though you completely.
That’s the road to the type of Tao energy of connection that makes you super-powered.
If you aren’t feeling anything close to the edges of excitement that might be similar to fear, I challenge you to ask yourself if you are really loving enough.
A few weeks ago, I got a text to come out to the beach at night. It was dark. My immediate response was “Is everything OK?” followed by, “Um, I’m afraid to go out there in the pitch dark.” The guy on the other end of these texts was and is fearless and in a month of having him in my life he brought to light how much of a “fraidy cat” I was in many ways that even I couldn’t talk my way out of…
I thought I had a handle on doing what I love and loving and all of it. I thought I mastered the fear stuff. But… I wasn’t writing with my full heart. I fact, I felt dead inside like a robot. I wasn’t leaping past certain clear barriers that should be easy to overcome. I wasn’t able to get out of my own way in ways that were a no-brainer, to do things I longed to do, even though I seem so creative and so self-expressed.
There’s always a next place to go, and if you aren’t getting there, I really believe its a product of not enough of what you love. Or loving big enough.
I walked out there to the shore anyway, cold step after cold step. He was flashing his cellphone light intermittently like a North Star. I was sort of trusting my way into the dark, even though it’s not what I do. I don’t do “danger.” Though Santa Monica in the 8:30 dark of Fall isn’t really dangerous.
The unknown was dangerous.
And this is what was waiting for me, what he pulled me toward reluctantly, what was the best thing I’d ever experienced so far so purely…in multicolored glow-stick typography at the edge of the water.
I said yes. Of course. Even though it took me a while because I was so stunned.
Yes to everything creative on the back burner of life that would likely never happen started to roll out in full color…after that… Creative projects, huge opportunities, real adventure…
Life has it’s edges back. Things feel wider and alive again.
Without fear, and sometimes with fear that sort of melts away.
It’s worth doing more of what you love. It’s worth getting past all the reasons you don’t deserve it, you can’t have it, you’ve been unworthy, you’ve made mistakes, you’ve picked wrong, you’ve been to emotional or too invested.
Care that much.
Everything you’ve ever wanted is a few steps into the dark.
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