…yourself standing at a harbor.
You hear the distant caws of the seagulls high in the sky and the sound of water gently lapping against the hull of a beautiful wooden galleon.
You close your eyes and take a deep breath, smelling the salty ocean scent.
The sun is setting, painting the clouds an unearthly shade of pink and orange. They float like cotton candy in the sky.
You can see the first stars turn on like lights in the early night sky as its dark blue veil slowly unfolds.
A gentle breeze feels like satin against your skin.
You feel alive and anxious and excited as you step on the catwalk that will take you on board and onto The Journey of a lifetime.
This is how I envision and feel about this blog.
This blog to me is that wooden galleon.
If I close my eyes and think about the image I painted for you in the lines above, I can almost feel the breeze blowing through my hair as I embark on this adventurous Journey.
What makes this Journey so exciting is the potential of touching the lives of so many readers worldwide.
The potential of helping You master Your Self and bring about tangible and lasting change in Your life is real, and it blows my mind.
I want to help You find peace of mind and a calm place within Your Self to start Your own Journey from.
But before we get started, there’s a topic we need to tackle right away and that we will discuss again in future posts.
A few words about Fear
As a perfectionist and a control freak, sailing into the unknown has always been one of my greatest fears.
Starting a new project –may that be this blog or moving to another state or quitting a job– to me kinda feels (at least in the initial stages) like floating aimlessly in a dark ocean full of dangerous creatures and no land in sight.
Most of my life I’ve felt vulnerable, adrift, and helpless in the face of change and new beginnings.
Not knowing how something will go, I picture all kinds of scenarios in my head until I finally become so discouraged I drop my ideas all together and retreat into safer havens.
This has been the main reasons for major procrastination and the setbacks I’ve encountered in my life.
And I’ve noticed that, as I grow older (and wiser), it doesn’t get any better.
I believe everyone is more of a risk taker in their teens and early twenties, when they know so little about the world and they feel safe and blessed everywhere they go.
Then with age and experience one tends to become more resistant to change and much more vulnerable to the fear of the unknown.
“I reached my goals from the safety of my comfort zone” said no successful (wo)man ever.
How many of you are stuck in a situation, a job, a lifestyle, or a relationship that doesn’t do you any good but you refuse to leave because you are afraid of what’s next?
How many of you would rather live an unhappy life in the perceived certainty and security of what you know rather than step out of your comfort zone and look for greener pastures? All because of your (often irrational) fears?
Living dangerously: A personal anecdote
There was a time in my life when I was having it pretty rough.
I had just earned my bachelor in psychology and I thought I’d find a job right away. Instead it seemed like everywhere I turned there was nothing but locked doors.
Coincidentally, one day I met up with a friend who told me she was going to an open interview for Customer Service Representatives. She asked me why I didn’t give it a try.
I thought to myself yeah, what the hell, why not?
So I went, not thinking anything of it, and sure enough I ended up getting the position along with a bunch of other people (including my friend).
So five days out of the week I was working at the call center, and the other two I worked at my old job (baker at a restaurant).
At first I was blinded by the money.
I was making $12.00/hr. I had never seen that much money in my entire life. I felt on top of the world, until I sank into the reality of working at a call center.
Don’t get me wrong, some people love it and make a career out of it and wouldn’t have it any other way. Hats off, I am happy for them, keep up the great work.
However, that kind of a job simply was not my cup of tea. It became so unbearable to me that I started developing pretty serious anxiety.
But I just could not let it go just yet. I kept telling myself it would get better, that it wasn’t that bad, that I should count my blessings, and yada yada.
In the midst of all this, I came across a book by Osho, titled “Courage: The Joy of Living Dangerously.” I don’t know what it was, but I felt immediately drawn to it.
I bought the book and when I started reading it I fully realized how miserable I truly was. I had to listen to my Self and quit the damn call center job before I lost my shit completely.
If I wasn’t happy, I had to let it go.
That’s when, on the last day of my first month at the call center, I drove to work knowing it was going to be the last time I walked through those doors.
Driving to that job had never felt so good before. I knew I was quitting and I felt powerful.
I waltzed in with everyone else, just like every morning, but instead of walking to my cubicle with the headset in hand I walked up to my supervisor and said “I quit. Here’s my badge.”
He looked at me with eyes wide open and said “uh… ok… can you wait here one second? I’ll be right back.”
And he was right back indeed, with his own supervisor.
The lady took me for a brief walk and told me words I’ll never forget.
She said: “Francesca, listen. I have been working here for eight years and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t hate this damn job, but let me tell you something… It pays my bills.”
I remember looking at her in dismay. I had never felt so bad for anyone in my life up to that point. Eight years of working a job you detest on every level of your being. Is that the fabled American Dream?
I told myself I’d rather live under a bridge (or head right back to Italy, not sure which one was worse at the time) than do a job I loathed.
I said “thanks for your time” and left
The drive back home was exhilarating. I was done with that nightmare.
I was totally pumped up. Optimism was me. I knew that was the beginning of a new life for me. The sense of elation and empowerment were immense, overwhelming, flabbergasting.
But of course a high can only take you up that far. At one point or another you have to come back down. And the higher up you go the deeper you sink when you come back down to earth.
The high from quitting the job wore off pretty quickly
I came down to my mind racing like a cockroach trying to get away from roach-killing spray.
“You quit your job. Hello? Are you nuts? Now what! What were you thinking? That was pretty decent money, the most money you’ve ever seen in your entire life! How are you going to survive?”
At the time I had been separated for months and I was going through a divorce. I was alone in a foreign country. I refused to go back home empty-handed. I felt like a total failure, as I looked at my bank account and surfed the web for jobs all over again.
Needless to say that was probably one of the darkest times in my life if not the darkest of all
All of a sudden I empathized with the despair some people experience when they’re trying to make ends meet and the money in their bank account goes out quicker than it goes in.
I applied for hundreds of different jobs in Virginia, and I either did not hear from them or, if I did, it was to let me know the position was no longer available.
On one occasion I went to an interview and I was told “You’ll hear from us next week. If not, give us a call.”
I was full of hope, but the phone never rang. I was so desperate I called them myself to no avail. I even left a voicemail asking them to please let me know even if it was a no go.
I felt like a goddamn stalker. I was angry and disheartened. I felt as if I was begging for a job and I fucking hated it.
Finally, I burned all bridges and moved to North Carolina
I lived there for a year, during which time I started studying again. I worked part-time at a hotel for a little while, then I applied for an unpaid internship in Miami and the rest is history.
Taking a chance, despite the mind trying to keep you safe but as miserable as possible, is actually worth it.
Had I not had “the courage to live dangerously” I would probably still be working at the call center in Virginia. And I would be on medications –just like many of the people who started working there at the same time as I did, as I found out later through my friend.
Remember: the mind is self-preserving
Its job is to keep us alive for as long as it possibly can. It will always try to scare you away from the unknown and have you settle for what’s perceived by it as safe, even though that means living a miserable existence.
The mind doesn’t care for happiness. It only cares about survival
Now, the soul, our true essence, knows we are eternal pieces of the great infinite.
Soul doesn’t fear death because it knows it is immortal. And that’s the part of us that pushes us toward self-realization, even though that means taking a chance. That’s the meaning of living dangerously.
You do have a choice.
You can choose to be a slave to your fears and your chattering mind, or you can take a different approach and live a happier, fuller life doing what you truly have a passion for.
In the upcoming posts I am going to provide you with the tools necessary to sail successfully through whatever rough weather you may happen to come across in your Journey.
They are the same tools that helped me overcome my own storms along the way.
The sooner you learn to use these tools the better.
In the meantime, ask yourself
What is standing between you and your goals right this moment?
Take an honest look inside you and find what it is that’s holding you back. Even better, try grabbing pen and paper and jot down all the thoughts that come to your mind when you think of what’s standing between you and your goals.
Are you making any excuses?
Are you blaming someone or something else for not being able to reach your goals?
Are you blaming a past experience?
Think about it, write it down, and feel free to share in the comments below or shoot me an e-mail with any questions or requests for future topics and/or clarifications at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, do subscribe if you want to jump aboard this ship and stay up-to-date with my posts.
I look forward to hearing from You and sharing with You.
The Lone Wolf