Friday, September 19, 2014

What if I Fail? ……Worse yet, What if I am Happy?

What if I Fail? ……Worse yet, What if I am Happy?
Catherine Cook-Cottone, The Yoga Bag

What if I fail?” For some reason, this is the question that comes to mind when I set any positive or healthy goal. I have a bias. You see, I never worry about failing at going to bed too late, drinking wine, complaining, overworking, overthinking, obsessively checking my email, or being afraid. For some reason, these things seem to hold steady like gravity, ready to manifest in my life whenever I drop my guard.

What if I forget to stay up to late? What if I don’t have the persistence for another glass of wine?  What if I forget to be afraid?

No, interestingly, I never worry about stuff like that.

My fear shows up in a different way. It’s sneaky and hides under the pretense of  What if I fail?” When I am honest with myself, I know that fear-of-failure is a cover story.

Recently, I realized that there were 108 days until the New Years. In a flash, I had an idea. I have been feeling badly about losing my inertia for last year’s New Year’s resolution. In the past few months, I watched my commitment to meditate at least 5 minutes a day slowly fade away. The 108-days-to-New-Year was my chance to get it right. I asked, “How wonderful would it be to start meditating now and meditate all the way to the New Year?” I answered, “Very wonderful indeed!” So, I set a goal, put it in my countdown application on my phone, rallied people of Facebook to join me……and then the voice, “What if I fail?”

If these thoughts were a one-time-deal, it would not be so bad. Sadly, it seems that when I set my sights on any healthy goal, I fear failure almost more than I actually pursue the goal. Then, when I do fail-- I feel a deep sense of resignation, “You, see Catherine, I knew you’d fail.

Don’t get me wrong; I have successfully completed many things. Which begs the questions, “What is going on when I commit to self care? Why fail here?

I have heard it explained all of theses ways:

1.     You are afraid what other people might think if you fail.
2.     You think it means you are not capable if you fail.
3.     Humans hate change.
4.     Bad habits die hard.
5.     More things like that….

None of these land for me. It is not my fear of judgment, fear of change, or a habit. It is something else.

When I dig deep and shine the light, I think I am actually afraid that I WON’T FAIL. I am afraid I will accomplish the goal. I will meditate (or whatever other healthy thing I do), reap the benefits and…… happier.

Yeah, I think I am afraid of being happy.

I know.

It’s weird.

My mom used to be afraid to be happy.

She said that once you are happy, you have something to lose. In this way, sad is sort of safe. Do you think that maybe she was on to something? Perhaps our clinging to the mediocre, the comfortable, and the mind-numbing drone of half conscious living is all probably some sophisticated protective mechanism?

You see, if I continue with this meditating thing, I run a very high risk of becoming more conscious. If I become more conscious, I run a very high risk of seeing more and more reality and feeling more and more feelings. If I see more reality and feel more feelings, I might love, really love, the people in my life. If I love the people in my life, ugh- yeah- I might be happy, really happy- and now I have a lot to lose.

So, it is way better to stay in my endless cycle of starting to meditate and quitting and starting and quitting and hating myself for quitting and starting and quitting. Yeah- that is a way better life. Super safe and sort of sad—good old trustworthy, familiar, going nowhere- sad.

Hmmmmmm? I am reminded of something that I tell my kids when I make them put on their seatbelts in the car, “Safe is more important than happy.

Maybe- things that are true for seatbelts aren’t true for everything?

Maybe sometimes- Happy is more important than safe.

This time I am going to risk it. I am going to stick with my plan. I am going to meditate for 108 days. I am going to become more conscious. See more reality. Be more present. Feel more feelings. And Love more of the amazing people in my life with a big, conscious, open heart- even if it scares the hell out of me.

Yep, I am going to be happy, that terrifying and beautiful happy.

Watch for my smile on New Years. It will be 108 days big.


The Yoga Bag


No comments: