Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fear-- Our Good Friend

Another year is gone -
A travel hat on my head,
Straw sandals on my feet

Complacency is the enemy of the Hobopoet. We try to be present and mindful in the moment... but we never want to be complacent.

Freedom is a road, not a point that is reached. There are always new challenges to face, new chains to throw off.

There are always new fears. Fear is our good friend. It points the way. It shows us where we need to go.

Most people move away from that which they fear. As Hobopoets, we must move towards our fears... embrace them, befriend them, and ultimately transcend them. When we do, we will arrive at a new level of living we never thought possible.

We'll feel good at that level. We'll feel strong and comfortable. We can and should enjoy those feelings. But we mustn't linger there too long. Always, we must seek out the next fear.

On a recent trip to Baja, Mexico, I realized that I have been lingering too long. I faced the fears of starting and growing my own business. I have succeeded. I'm happy. I'm comfortable. I feel strong and confident in my new life as an entrepreneur.

But it hit me, on that trip, that the fear was gone. I had lost my edge.

I have been playing it safe for several months now. The solution-- scan my soul for dreams & fears and go after them.

I thought deeply about my life and asked two particular questions:
1. What dreams have I harbored for decades? What dreams have I always been afraid to admit, discuss, and pursue?

2. What terrifies me?

In answer to number one, I realized that music has been a lifelong dream for me. I have always wanted to sing and play music. I made a few half-hearted attempts as a teenager, didn't do well, and quit from embarrassment and fear of failure.

As for what terrifies me-- I found one very simple, very raw, very visceral fear that has terrorized me since childhood-- I am terrified of heights. I also found a spiritual terror-- I'm afraid of losing myself, losing control of myself... of death... and Salvia is the thing that simulates that the closest.

Finally, on a less intense level, I realized that I crave and fear the unknown. My travels during the last few years have been safe. I crave and fear a solo trip into the unknown.

So I have started, and am planning, new challenges-- with the guidance of my fears:

1. I'm taking singing lessons, and will perform in public in a year or less
2. I'm learning Bass Guitar, and will perform in public in a year or less
3. I'm joining a Rock Climbing gym- and will confront my terror of heights regularly
4. I'm getting a vial of Salvia 20x, and will face the fear of ego-death
5. I have a motorcycle, and will make a solo, unscripted tour through Mexico & beyond

As I looked at the fat, waddling, befuddled American tourists in Baja, Mexico recently... I realized that a lack of intensity was, perhaps, one of the deeper spiritual causes of their disease. These were people who had shrunk back from the edge-- years, possibly decades ago.

They had lost their ferocity for life.

We must feed that ferocity. We must constantly seek our edge. We must always seek to grow,.. or else we will surely start to stagnate and die before our time.

In that quest, we have one friend above all others-- our fear.