Welcome to a month long series of blogs dedicated to BOLDNESS!!! What does this mean, exactly? Well, most likely the word bold will mean different things to different people, but the main purpose is to inspire and encourage people to be bold enough to take small ~ or large ~ steps and live intentionally.
There are two major factors that often prevent us from living our lives the way we really want to. They are twin devils, these two, appropriatly named Fear and Control.
Fear is most adequately defined not in the phobic sense, but more of a lack of courage. Because it takes guts, strength of character, and determination to live intentionally. Sometimes, the greatest changes we can make in our lives require the most courage to undertake, whether it is a small thing, like changing one's daily routines to get out of a rut, or a large thing, like returning to college in mid-life. Sometimes, to live fullest, we must open ourselves up to the possibility that we might be hurt. That our plans might backfire. But there is little in life we do that we can't undo, really, except the regret for things we didn't do because of fear.
Control, in the sense of this blog, is not only traits relative to one's personality or situation, but also the love of our comfort zones and our unwillingness to leave them. Sometimes, we stay in dull situations that don't feed our spirit or honor who we are just because they seem safe and manageable. We will turn away from dynamic oppourtunities because to embrace them would mean stepping out of these comfort zones and opening ourselves up to whatever may come. In our comfort zones, in our carefully controlled spaces, we know what will come.
Shhhhh....here's a big secret: Our comfort zones require little, if any, effort from us to maintain. They require zero courage or initiative. They enable us to just be, without really 'being'. And we can stay in them for years, plodding along with no idea that life could be so much better...richer...fuller. In most situations where we aren't really 100% happy, it's still much easier not to make a change than it is to take even the smallest steps towards something different.
As a young college student, one of my myriad of jobs was sitting with the elderly. I can still remember so many tales and stories that were told to me, so many lives recited to me. But I can also remember so many instances where regret reigned supreme. "I wish I'd visited my sister when she lived in Colorado." "I wish I'd went on ahead and finished my medical degree." "I wish I'd learned to plant a garden, I always did love flowers." "I wish I'd spent more time with my children." "I wish I'd not been so afraid to be on my own that I stayed in a miserable marriage for 40 years." "I wish I'd learned to make furniture from my dad when he was alive so I could have taught my own boys how to do it. I never passed on any skills to my sons." No matter how full thier lives had seemed, there was always a regret for what had not been done.
We all have dreams. We all want things. We all want big things. We all want small things. We all want spectacular things. We all want simple things. But when we want something, the universe will conspire in beautiful ways to help us reach these goals. We either recognize when this is happening and move forward towards our purpose, or we choose to ignore the signs we are given and continue on our current paths, hand in hand with Fear and Control.
Change starts small. In honor of the first of April, which seemed as good a day to start as any, I began my own boldness initiative by breaking out of my 'fashion' comfort zone. For many years I've dressed like a sparrow, resulting in a wardrobe that looks like a rainbow of neutrality: tan, grey, white, and black. It's easy to be invisible when you're muted by color. And for far too long, and for reasons too ancient to mention here, I've sought invisibility. But if one talks the talk, one must also walk the walk. Even when it means donning one's self in a pink wrap so bright it nearly put my eyes out.
But the journey of 1000 miles begins with one step. We change our lives first by changing our thinking. Changing the ideas of what we think is possible for us. Wearing a bright color that is bound to make us stand out and be noticed. And not caring if for once, we don't blend into the background. Small steps lead to great lives. Each day I'll update this blog with stories, thoughts, and comments on being bold and living intentionally. I'd love to hear your stories and comments on this subject! Drop a line here or pop me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org