Monday, July 15, 2013

[Fear] Factor.

The Man in the Arena 
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
-Theodore Roosevelt's speech, Citizenship in a Republic

This is the continual struggle, isn't it? To have the courage to leave the comfortable, to risk achieving that which resonates so deeply inside us that we cannot wait to get out of bed. I know that sentence sounds a bit lofty… It's just that I'm coming to see that doing the great works we know live inside of us means really putting our assumptions about our life and the world all on the table and really only picking up the ones that make sense and if none of them make sense anymore then we gotta go find new ones and therein lies for me anyway, the fear factor. Can I really do the things I know it's time for me to do? Can I really let go of my and other's view of who I am and strike out of the mold? Even in
"these times" a phrase I'm so tired of hearing. Recently I have realized the only option is to say Y.E.S. If not, I will be one of the lost souls left on the couch rather than one of the spent souls from the arena. 

The above passage is what made the speech famous.  To me this quote is about total vulnerability.  It’s beauty has inspired me to lean into my vulnerability, dig into my courage and express myself from the heart.  I’m not really sure how to start, so I’ll start with a list;

…It’s about being all in. 
…It’s about the willingness to engage. 
…It’s about showing up.
…It’s about letting yourself be seen.
…It’s about whole-heartedness.
…It’s about coming out of your skin.
…It’s about knowing when I'm scared.
…It’s about feeling honestly.
…It’s about my huge heart.
…It’s about leaning into discomfort.
…It’s about emotional messiness.
…It’s about meaningful, purposeful connections.
…It’s about being worthy.
…It’s about letting go of what people think.
…It’s about trusting faith.
…It’s about courage.
…It’s about compassion.
…It’s about connection.
…It’s about enough-ness.
…It’s about feeling a deep sense of love and belonging.
…It’s about holding on.

I'm constantly reminding myself that I can't wait until I'm perfect or bulletproof to walk into the arena because that's never going to happen. We just have show up and let ourselves be seen - that's my definition of "daring greatly."  It seems to be a touchstone when I'm feeling vulnerable about sharing myself in any kind of relationships, in a world where it's easy to attack and ridicule. It's also helpful when I find myself using perfection, sarcasm, and criticism to protect myself or to dismiss my own discomfort.  At the end of the day and at the end of my life, I want to know that I contributed more than I criticized.


  1. You are speaking straight to my soul! You are talented beyond your years.
    I think you need to meet me!