I am grateful to be writing! Lynn, Sienna, and I send our love to each of you, whether we are close or far, whether you are involved in my practice our not.
I want to chat briefly about the temptation to pull back from stepping up in our lives. I want to explore the fairly common temptation to shy away and avoid that which is actually calling us most deeply. In any dimension of our lives, we may have a vision, a dream, an inspiration, and a deep driving intention. We have this inner push, this inner desire to grow, this inner ecstatic urgency to express more, to create more, to feel more, and to grow more.
Personally, I believe this is a remarkable sign of health and energy. This is not, however, the same thing as the endless “hedonic” treadmill to get and have more for the sake of having more with the hopes of making ourselves less miserable. No! What I am describing is the inner alchemy of the heart that wants to express more in the world in order to express our deepest heartfelt desires to contribute, grow, make a positive impact on others, to experience more connection, and to feel more of our natural and innate peace and happiness. This is the call of authentic leadership.
After countless conversations with hundreds, if not thousands, of people about this very topic, I am pretty convinced that beyond our stories and illusions of fear, everyone wants in some way to love deeply, to give fully, to grow expansively, and to manifest a soulful life of gratitude, grace, courage, authenticty, and contribution. How do I know this? Well, after studying the research on what makes people tick and what makes people truly happy, AND through my work I have seen this to be absolutely true. And yet, something throws a wrench in this natural, well-oiled machine of Life. What is that wrench? Its a 4 letter word that starts with f. F^&*.
Fear. Recently I was leading an immersion retreat in the paradise island of Jamaica. I had a group of about 20 people with me and I posed a question at the beginning of the retreat: “What is it that you perceive is holding you back from making the breakthroughs you desire in your life?” I asked at least half the group privately what their “thing” was. 100% said fear. That is right – fear. There were basically two variations of this fear, but it was all the same song. These are all intelligent, accomplished, deeply evolved human beings who are, relative to most of the world, wealthy and living with a degree of unprecedented personal freedom. And yet, that fear persists. A gnawing feeling pushing, prodding, prickling our insides. Its lies to us and calls us to hold back, pull back, and be less than we are. Its continual presence manufactures complex masks that we wear day in, day out, that keep us separate from a true intimacy with life. Its like we get stuck in a self-created purgatory – an in between world – where we can feel what we deeply desire and yet we are held back by fear. And this fear is the ultimate joy killer. Dogen, the great Zen Master, talked about Intimacy with the 10,000 things – in other words, there is a state where there is a light hearted natural freedom, and in that we have this effortless intimacy with all things in our life. This state may experience fear, but it sees it as that, and fearlessly walks forward to do the next thing. It lives without anxiety about life’s imperfections.
What are we afraid of? Well, all I can say is that after asking this question for 24 years I heard my favorite answer. It came form Tony Robbins (one of my heroes – he is everything you think hes not). We are afraid of 2 things: 1) We are afraid of not being enough; and 2) we are afraid of losing love. You can filter everything you are scared of through this filter and I would bet close to 100% of everything we fear in some way falls into this category. The only way out of this mess is directly through it. And, as Ralph Waldo Emerson has stated, when we begin to do the things we fear, the death of fear is CERTAIN. One of the hallmarks of deep personal and real spiritual growth is that we become less and less afraid. Perhaps a better way to say that is we become less beholden and trapped by fear and we lead with freedom. Fear is there. Heck, its a biological part of us dating back hundreds of thousands, if not millions, if not billions of years. Yet, we have this beautiful Heart that can say an unequivocal YES to life. We can even listen to fear and feel into what it is telling us. Then we can say YES to what our heart and soul are calling us to. Rather than sticking our heads in the sand like a freaky ostrich and avoiding life, we can feel into the fear, and in the context of our bigness, of Life’s radical positive nature, it simply melts. It is one small cloud on the vast, beautiful, blue sky. At the same time we can learn so much from it. The most powerful and honest leaders and teachers I know often experience fear. How they LIVE their lives is what is different than most other people. And that is evidenced by the “fruits” of their lives – energy, success, abundance, positive relationships, powerful engagement, deep meaning, and a contagious vitality.
Often there is a deep fear of rejection, or of not being accepted. These are variations of our two fears I mentioned above. The truth is, as you step up, as you step out, as you lead with your heart and sing with your True Voice, not everyone will like it. Not everyone will accept it. I recently caught wind some things that were said about me by some in my local community. At first it hurt – a lot. And, in truth, the more we play to our genius and the more we say YES and then act in accordance to that, we will temporarily experience resistance from within and without. When we are in our hearts, we say THANK YOU. Thank you for this inspiration to push deeper into the truth and to keep leading from our souls. For before every resurrection and evolution there is often a rejection. These experiences simply prune us from all of the immature fears and stories that would have us hold back – they push us into an unequivocal surrender to Life and to Passion. As Rumi said, “In the ruin of heartbreak there arises a Passion that can raise the dead!” Remember also that most people’s resentment and anger comes from their own unexpressed creative impulse. We can learn from everyone. If there is truth to any criticism, we look at that without fear, make things right, and thank God for the opportunity to grow in humility and Grace. It is a great gift to see our shadow. And we keep moving, we keep putting one foot in front of the other and Creating, as a vessel for Life itself.
We need you. The world needs you. Think of how many people can be blessed by your authentic presence. Dont ever fall into the great disease of comparison – just take one step today to move into your authentic leadership and, as we do this, day in, day out, the fruits of our labor and courage begin to show up. Its a beautiful journey. My steps today – I went to yoga when I didn’t want to, I wrote this blog despite fears that I didn’t have my message clear. What are yours?
Briefly, before I close, I wanted to share a couple of things. If you have not experienced my work, please feel free to join me for a 90 minute workshop on the ins and outs of True Wellness. That talk is this Thursday night at 6:30 at our practice in Meyers Park. Its free and, if you allow it, can totally change your life.
Also, I’ll be leading a 2 hour meditation May 24th at Be Yoga – its an amazing journey into total rest, deep bliss, and embodied joy. I play the didgeridoo and walk you through an incredible process. My last one I played for 100 minutes while guiding the meditation and no one could believe that they just meditated for nearly 2 hours. It was completely effortless. This workshop unlocks the door to effortless meditation – to that intimacy with the 10,000 things! You can register here.
Much love to you! Keep leading and shining. You are all exceptionally beautiful and inspirational.
Dr. Matt Lyon
Charlotte, NC Chiropractor