What Would You Do If You Knew You Could’t Fail? Age!
A long time ago, this question was popping up in self-empowerment materials: "What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?" One particular day, I closed my eyes and felt into the question, "What would I do?" The answer came swiftly – not from my thinking mind but out of the depths of my being: "I would sail around the world by myself!"
I was shocked with this answer, because, even though I sailed across the Atlantic in my 40’s, with my boyfriend who had a very large and beautiful sailboat, and at that point in life anticipated sailing around the world because it was what we were going to do together, it rarely entered my mind to do that under my own volition, by myself, no less! But, the point of the question wasn’t necessarily to do something that you couldn’t fail at; the point was to tap into that place within that is fearless, and where failure is impossible.
Today, as I was preparing for this podcast, I was imagining the various things people say they want to do, once they are retired. Travel seems to be a big dream for most people. Personally, I rarely imagine myself traveling because I hate all the details required for traveling. I hate all of the choices I have to make and all the possible parts of the journey that could go wrong. But, today as I imagined myself retired, I experienced myself on the ocean, peaceful and content, not hating anything. This time, I was on a cruise ship. This time, I had all the comforts of home while still seeing the world. This time, feeling safe. Instead of years, I would do it in six months – that felt right! I went so far as to google cruise ship companies that provide such possibilities. That’s a big deal for me. My life on Orcas is simple and I like it that way. To consider such an adventure made me smile. Now I have something on my bucket list!
This little romp of imagination delighted me. And, I find it fascinating that it mirrors a previous notion to sail around the world.
I Can’t Fail at Aging
I used to be afraid of everything. I used to say no to so much of life because I was afraid of all the things that could go wrong. And, because I was someone who was highly shame-based, any thing that could go wrong I would take as a failing on my part. It’s one of the reasons I gave up sailing – too many responsibilities, and too many potential opportunities for things to go wrong. It was best to let go of ‘continually imposed upon me’ opportunities to feel bad about being me.
The cool thing is, the longer I’m on Earth, the more opportunities I’ve been given to let go of my fears of being me. What a gift! I believe it’s the gift each of us is given – to freely engage in knowing ourselves fearlessly – even if it’s just through our imaginations.
Aging, like cruising around the world, is an adventure – failing is not possible. It’s not possible because an adventure is full of twists and turns that bring the unpredictable as well as the predictable. Each one of us is on our unique human adventure through this process of aging. If we look through the lens of how we will fail while on this adventure, well, we might as well end it all right now! And, that’s what some of us try to do. But in truth, we can’t not be in this adventure of life and aging until the moment of death.
The Wisdom of No Escape
While sailing across the Atlantic, there were many times in those three weeks that I wanted the boat to pull up to some dock so that I could get off! I was scared, though there wasn’t any real danger imposed on me. I just didn’t want to be in that circumstance any longer. However, the wisdom of no escape allowed me to discover who I was within that situation. If I could have escaped, I would have missed exquisite moments being with the boat, with the beauty of the ocean and sky, with the people who shared this time with me. But mostly, I would have missed the opportunity to be me with me. I would have missed the opportunity to learn ways of being me with all my fears, frustration, and anxieties. I would have missed opportunities to train myself to be with difficult and sometimes life threatening situations. I learned how to be with those moments when there was nothing to do, nowhere to go; where depression and boredom could take over if I let them. Sounds like aging, doesn’t it?
My deepest intent for sharing my thoughts through these podcasts is to offer you a frame or a lens through which to see yourself while you are on the adventure of your life. You have an enormous capacity to live it fearlessly – no failure required. The adventures of each day provide you with moments where you choose to feel the fear and then retreat to safety, or you choose to feel the fear and then dare yourself to consider doing it anyway. Even imagining yourself doing it differently brings you into a different experience with yourself. How awesome is that!
"A ship in harbor is safe ” but that is not what ships are built for." ” John A. Shedd
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For more blogs, books and videos, or if you are interesting in coaching or training with Dr. Rosie, check out her website: www.theparadigmshifts.com