from fear to joy

just thought i’d share this excerpt from a newsletter i get from here.  it’s just some food for thought & something that i personally need to remember.


Topic of the Week:
Move Past Fear to Joy


 “Do not be too timid and squeamish…
All life is an experiment. 
The more experiments you make, the better.”

                                –Ralph Waldo Emerson

This week’s newsletter was a favorite several years ago when Lori McKenna, a woman who has now recorded with Faith Hill and been on Oprah, was just starting her career.  She’s a terrific talent and a good woman who has been an inspiration to several members of my family.  I hope this story inspires you to take some kind of risk this week.  Here goes…

Last night I had an opportunity to attend a special family event.  My brother Steven held a birthday party for his wife Janice and arranged a surprise appearance from Janice’s favorite musical artist Lori McKenna.  Lori is a nationally known folk singer/storyteller whose music touches on topics about life, motherhood, and spiritual inquiry.

My sister-in-law Janice loves to sing (and has a wonderful voice), and during Lori’s performance the crowd began to cheer for Janice to join with Lori on a song.  Feeling shy and embarrassed, she refused, and yet I could tell by the look on her face that some part of her desperately wanted to say yes.

How often have you found yourself in a similar situation? Maybe you wanted to get up and dance to your favorite song, yet felt funny because there weren’t enough people on the dance floor yet.  Or, maybe you had a strong desire to raise your hand and offer your point of view during a workshop, and yet felt too afraid that your comment might not be well received.

How might life be different if you challenged yourself to do those things that the deepest part of you — your soul — really wants to do?   For example, imagine what might happen if you asked your boss to let you try the new idea that you’ve been fantasizing about.  Or think about how your body and mind might change if you finally took that dance class you’ve wanted to take.  And what about that speech you’ve been dying to give?  Who knows where that might lead…

When you find yourself lacking the courage or confidence to comply with your desire, here are three things you can do:

1.  Find a way to make yourself feel more comfortable.  For example, while Janice refused to get up on stage with Lori, she did agree to sing with her while sitting in her seat.  By taking a step to increase her comfort, she was able to fulfill her desire while still feeling safe and less exposed.

2.  Try a practice run.  If there’s a speech you’d like to give, gather trusted friends or colleagues together to act as a test audience.  Protect your dream by asking them to only give you positive feedback so you can build on what works.  (We’re doing this for someone this week and I can’t wait to see what happens!)

3.  Motivate yourself with the following question:  “If I do this one thing, what else might I be able to do in my life?” Remember that when you take a step outside of your comfort zone you expand this zone to include an ability to do other things that used to feel impossible.  I’m sure you’ve experienced this before — you finally tackle one fear only to have more energy and courage to try something else.

When we listen to our soul’s desire and follow through on its wishes, magic happens.  Once Janice moved past her fear and decided to sing with Lori, not only did she radiate joy, she spread this joy throughout the room. Everyone was deeply moved by her gift and her courage.  That’s what happens. When you move beyond your fear and share your gifts with others, everyone benefits.  So what’s the moral of the story? Don’t rob us of our joy 🙂


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