One of the causes of peace-lessness in our lives is knowing that we need to make a change but being too fearful to do it.
Fear can be a hormonal response, the body’s ancient fight-or-flight instinct kicking in. But the kind of fear that nibbles away at your well-being is often not “real” fear at all.
When you feel afraid of doing the thing you know is the right thing to do, neither fight nor flight feels like a good option. You get stuck. That’s not fear, exactly.
Stuckness isn’t really fear. It’s more like inertia. You convince yourself that you’ll hurt someone irreparably, or that you’ll never earn a living again, or that This is your Last Chance at happiness, and so you simply don’t move.
Stuckness is that voice that walks you up to an imaginary canyon, has you look across, and when you see nothing but fog shouts, “See! You have NO IDEA what will happen!!”
Stuckness is what happens when you lack a compelling vision of life after the change—after you do whatever it is that you know you need to do.
Stuckness is the result of forgetting how to dream. We become afraid of potential losses and discomforts, rather than excited about possibilities and promise. So we stew in our own tepid juices.
Stewing is exactly the opposite of inner peace.
You need to have a compelling vision of life after stuckness in order to silence the voices of fear. To help you start regaining vision, dreams, courage, and peace, spend a few minutes with this poem by the brave, lovely, gifted visionary Mary Oliver.
The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?