The most beautiful and unpredictable breakthroughs often manifest in unknown territory; times of reaching, risking, and letting the mind venture someplace new.
There's a true art to reaching, to taking that first step, but keeping ourselves in our newly found uncertainty is the only way to reap it's rewards. Yet staying sustainably in a space of uncertainty is demanding. Scratch that– it's absolutely petrifying, and especially when the stakes of failure are high. And so we take the leap, but soon after landing in the unknown, we just want to go back to even ground.
We reach, react, and retreat.
This cycle tries to beat us to the finish line every time we step into unknown territory. But retreating simply is not an option if we ever want to see that very finish line we set out to achieve.
So how do we break this cycle? How do we stay in the unknown, peacefully? How do we stand in front of our fears and simultaneously pass through them, instead of allowing them to push us back? Let’s take a look at the process.
1.) The Reach: What happens?
The act of reaching is expansive by nature. We evolve our very being every time we push ourselves a step beyond our current environment. We also open up the door for new unexpected possibilities to enter. During this initial exploration we often push past what we previously thought was possible, and as a result, we evolve in our own complexity through that process.
After the leap, we are never again the same.
2.) Speeding up & slowing down: The reaction to fear.
Fear likes to show up when we are on the brink of entering a space of not knowing. Not only does fear show up, it brings its allies–doubt, resistance, panic, you name it. Better yet, you can't name it because it brings all the crap you never anticipated showing up. That challenge you thought you resolved 5 years ago? Don't be too surprised if it resurfaces.
It is in these moments when fear is taking grip that we need to gain space from it and slow down the timeline of feeling and reaction. We have to catch ourselves before entering into a reaction.
This question is powerful over fear because the present moment holds very little space for actual fear rather than future hypotheticals. Learning to identify the onset of fear, rather than simply experiencing it, helps us then harness total mental focus to look objectively at the fears and investigate their root. Doing this is extremely challenging, and is something I work on constantly. The beauty of this challenge is that trial and error is the only way to improve the ability to recognize and objectively dissect fear.