Fear of regret

Everyone knows what it’s like to be halted by fear.  Fear of death or serious injury can stop you from skydiving.  Fear of financial loss can stop you from starting a business.  Fear of ridicule can stop you from living life to your own drumbeat.

In addition to the typical encounters with fear however, fear often worms its way into my mind in a more subtle and insidious way; fear of regret.  If you’re like me, then our desire to be in control, to be right, causes us to not make a decision or take an action because of the fear of regretting that decision or action. Even if the ‘wrong’ outcome wouldn’t be such a big deal, we simply don’t want to make the wrong decision, so we hesitate or even freeze completely.  Developing the ability to not carry regret, but instead to view an undesired outcome as experience, can free us to take more chances and experience more of life.
“He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.” – Aristotle
 “Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom.” – Marilyn Ferguson

 

The tigers come at night

tiger 1I’m sleeping peacefully when suddenly I awake for no reason.  Before I know it, my head is awash with a stew of anxiety and worries, my peaceful sleep torn to shreds.  Illogical, non-sensical worries that in the light of day might only garner a few seconds of thought, now loom like giant shadows of twisted monsters in an old black and white horror movie.  My heart is racing and I’m overwhelmed with a feeling of claustrophobia.  My warm bed is no longer comforting but now stifling, my dark room not soothing but terrifying.  Even to my adult brain, in the dead of night, these tigers are as real as childhood monsters under the bed.  Why am I worrying? What do I really have to fear? I know that there are no monsters under the bed or tigers in the closet, but I toss and turn for hours, relieved to finally see the first rays of dawn streaming in.  These nights don’t happen often, but when they do, I remind myself that in the morning light the shadows will be swept away, the monsters will disappear and the tigers will be gone.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7

 

It is what it is

We all have a tendency to judge and label outcomes as good or bad.  We fear, avoid and complain about the bad.  We desire and pursue the good.  But is good always good and bad always bad?

A Chinese folk tale tells of a farmer who used an old horse to till his fields. One day, the horse escaped into the hills and when the farmer’s neighbours came to comfort him on his bad luck, the farmer said, “Bad or good, it is what it is.”  A week later, the old horse returned with a herd of horses from the hills and this time the neighbours congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was, “Good or bad, it is what it is.”  A few days later, as the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off and broke his leg.  This time everyone spoke of the farmer’s bad luck. The farmer said, “Bad or good, it is what it is.”  Some weeks later, the army marched into the village and conscripted every young man except the farmer’s son because of his broken leg.  Now the neighbours spoke of the good luck of the farmer who replied, “Good or bad, it is what it is.”

I just want to be ..… content

Everyone wants to be happy.  For some, happiness is a state of euphoria or ecstasy, for me, happiness is more a state of contentment or satisfaction.  So, what does the life guidebook (the bible) say about contentment?
1. Contentment is really, really valuable. Paul the apostle writes: “godliness with contentment is great gain”.  Big promo for contentment here; Paul’s aim in life is to teach the importance of God and here he is adding contentment to the mix.
2. Contentment doesn’t come easily to us.  Paul again writes: “I have learned the secret of being content”.  So, contentment is a secret that must be learned.  And, if contentment is really valuable then it must be worthwhile for us to try to learn this secret. So, where do we start?
3. Ditch our love of money.  The writer of Hebrews says : “keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have”. This suggests that loving money is in conflict with being content.  So, instead of loving money (and stuff), love God, love people and be content (happy).

Buying a suit is a nightmare

I’ve decided to buy a suit.  Why?  Well after renting a suit for a wedding earlier this year and now needing a suit for another wedding, I’ve concluded that it makes financial sense to buy a suit, as long as it’s casual enough to be used more than twice a year.

So, easy financial decision, just go buy a casual suit, right?  Well, maybe financial sense doesn’t equate to emotional sense, because, in my whole life, I don’t remember buying anything being this difficult.  Maybe it’s because deep down I don’t really want to own a suit, but I just can’t seem to find anything that makes me want to part with my money.  If it was outdoor clothing or a travel item, one hour on the internet and whatever I needed would be on its way to me.  But after visits to numerous shops and hours online, my head is spinning and I’m no closer to finding the suit I need.  Every suit seems to be either for heavy tweed for old men, bland grey for office workers or designer skinny for teenage boys.

This kind of shopping stress just reminds me why I love a simple, minimalist lifestyle.  So in the end, I might ignore financial sense, rent another boring suit, and save the space in my rucksack for a something much more useful.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first year

21st Aug. One year ago I completed the sale of my house, car and furniture and disposed of everything else that didn’t fit into my rucksack.  Since then, I have traveled, worked and lived with little more than the contents of that rucksack.   I set off that day to walk the Camino de Santiago, a 500 mile pilgrimage across Spain, which I hoped would be the first stage of a new way of walking through life for me.  The previous years had been spent living to the dictates of others, not being true to myself and my values, and destroying my spirit in the process.  For a season, I wanted to simplify my life to concentrate on “finding myself” and figuring out what’s “essential”.  Here’s what I’ve found so far:
  1. Life truly is a precious gift; I want to be thankful every day and I don’t want to waste a minute of my life being angry.
  2. If I walk one mile at a time, climb one step at a time and take one day at a time, I can walk across countries, climb mountains and survive life’s challenges.
  3. I haven’t figured out how to make loads of money in my sleep but I have figured out that I don’t need loads of money (or stuff) to be happy.
  4. Mental, spiritual and physical health is important; good food, meditation, prayer and exercise keeps me healthy.
  5. There are many other people like me pursuing an alternative to the consumption addicted, obese, medicated, destructive lifestyle that is commonplace.
One year in, I know my journey has only just begun. I don’t know how long my season will last, but I am increasingly contented with my simple, minimalist lifestyle and I’m excited about continuing my journey.  There is so much adventure, beauty and love in this world to discover, I’m determined to experience as much as I can before I kick the bucket.

Letters of Note: People simply empty out

“Slavery was never abolished, it was only extended to include all the colors.”

“And what hurts is the steadily diminishing humanity of those fighting to hold jobs they don’t want but fear the alternative worse.” 

Read this amazing letter from writer Charles Bukowski

click here: Letters of Note: People simply empty out.