Insidious. They lie. Telling you what’s realistic. Practical. Pretending they’re protecting you. Working in your best interest. Keeping you comfortable until later, when things are easier. Your Fears…Masked as good judgment. But good judgement is looking both ways before you cross the road, not safely staying on the sidewalk. Fears will tell you that thing you’re called to do is silly, too big, too expensive, not “you”… will take too long.
On the other side of fear though is not the cotton-candy happiness of a new pair of shoes. Not the plastic glitter sparkle of a caramel mocha-frappa-latte. No. On the other side of fear is the deep joy that radiates out like the gazillion suns of a diamond. Glorious. Beaming at everyone. Giving others permission to choose joy too. Lighting the way. On the other side of fear is you. Bold. You. Fierce. You. You… alive.
Because this life is miracously short and long at the same time. Long enough to forgive yesterday so you can choose again with each new wakening. Fear lulls you with life’s length. You can wait. Start next year. When your hair grows or you lose 10 pounds. Insidious. But life is fast too. Faster than Insta-Snap-Face-Tube-Pin. So fast that each dawn matters more than fear will let you grasp. Life goes so fast that you blink and your babies are grown, your hair grew long and you already cut it again. And now it’s graying. You’ve gained and lost the same 5 pounds how many times?
Go to Italy. Book your photo session. Start your business. Buy an electric guitar. Take your kids out of school and play with them all day. Take them to Italy with you. Sell your car and replace it with one that costs half of what you sold it for. Sell your tv. Cancel cable. Cook your meals. Look yourself in the eye with love and commitment, like you look at the people you love most. Do that thing. You know that thing. The thought that Fear dismissed before you even realized you thought it. And it flits away on hummingbird wings. But it flits back, over and over because joy finds solutions where fear presents obstacles. Fear tells you why not. Because you’re fat/ old/ wrinkled /broke. Joy looks at those reasons and says “Yes! That’s exactly why! Right now! I’ll show you the way.”
Hushing fear and feeling joy pulsate in your muscle fibers just takes one step toward your calling. Forward, upward. Just one thing done today… now …in the name of your Best Possible Life and you’ll see that it all unfolds in front of you. Because the time will pass either way. Proudly, unapologetically claim that thing that lights you up. Claim your calling. The sea parts when you take a step. Not before.
Want an example? Let’s call her S. She was newly married. Her husband stationed in Asia. Still in college. Taking care of her grandparents when she wasn’t working or studying. Worked a couple jobs. Said she’d need a payment plan. Fine. Fried her hair dying it pink. Adorably curvy. Terrified. Booked her boudoir session in the face of all these reasons. Came in 6 weeks later with longer black hair (and extensions! Because joy finds solutions!) Worked extra shifts and paid in full. Because joy finds solutions. Felt more beautiful than she ever had. Left my studio, finished her degree. Visited her husband in Asia, went to Disney with her sister and starts law school NOW. Goes back to Asia in November. Because Joy Finds Solutions. And solutions beget solutions. And it is so damn fun to watch the Boldness and Magic feeding each other.
Lately I’ve been thinking about medium format cameras… aka the Maserati of cameras. Big. Expensive. High quality. Demanding cameras. Not dial in settings and point and click. Incredibly expensive. And damn heavy. These thoughts like hummingbirds at the feeder… flit in, take a sip, flit away. But the hums and chirps of my calling are familiar to me. I can recognize them and watch them come back and forth and take steps to feed them. A google search. An Ebay search. An appointment to visit the one store in 20 states that sells them. Steps toward joy.
For years I’ve loved Annie Leibovitz. Years. Like 8. Her work. Her attitude towards her work. When the Annie Leibovitz hummingbird shows up, I google. I read her books. I watch an interview. I send an email. I send a post card to one of the 4 addresses I can find for her. Or to all 4 address. One day I will meet her and carry her camera. Bring her coffee at a sunrise shoot for Vanity Fair. Set up her lights. Or I won’t and I’ll get whatever I need from these steps. Either way, fear tells you to keep your calling quiet. Fear says “What’s the point” Or “You sound ridiculous.” It’s insidious. Joy has you shouting your silly ideas from the roof tops. The internet rooftops. At 3am. Steps towards joy. Best possible life. Calling claimed.
So, what’s your calling? What do you want to shout from the rooftops? Hit Contact and tell me. Really. Nothing has me bouncing in my seat like dreams. What lies is fear whispering in your ear? Like the wasps that chase my humingbirds away. Tell me. I’ll be your calling’s spokesperson in the face of fear. But beware, fear might boil your blood in the face of joy’s cheerleader. You might think you’re angry with me. You’re not. It’s fear. Insidious.