Something I have been accused of having from time to time. Somewhere along the way, in the past few months, I seemed to have dropped it. A tisket a tasket. But it was a momentary blip. I have stumbled and recovered. I got it. I get it. I get it now.
I think that the introspection about anger has helped me right myself, rub my ankle and keep walking. It has given rise to the lion cub within.
My fearlessness got lost in the stories I was telling myself. and when those stories didn't make sense - or I got lost in the telling - I would shake it off - and just get angry at the world. For the raw deal. The betrayal. The bad roll of the dice. But I have never been that girl. I have always been the one who rose up out of the cloud of dust, covered in soot, beaten and bedraggled and said, "Oh my God - a penny! Isn't that cool?" I was the one accused of making a feast out of a morsel - as if that is a bad thing.
When things didn't go as planned - and I couldn't reconcile the results with the picture in my head or the ending I had seen at the movies I started telling myself all about how anger was the backbone of fearlessness. I was calling up the hounds of hell to stand beside me and fight all the imaginary dragons. I told myself how anger was the only way that I could keep on going when the odds seemed insurmountable. That anger was the only way I could get past betrayal and...well...all the anger. Heh heh
But fearlessness is a power that super-cedes (and I don't care WHAT spell check says - that looks wrong) all other super powers. Fearlessness makes the anger go away. True fearlessness is a gift that allows you to look all things that hurt you and scare you, square in the eye and say - YOU are a figment of my imagination - GO AWAY.
But to be fearless is to live in the act of not fearing. That is a tough place to be on the best of days. And we all feel afraid from time to time. In my search to uncover the genesis of the story-telling that helps to mask my anger (yes, layer upon layer upon layer until we are all bored to tears) I found myself wide awake late at night a few nights ago - Surprise! - watching Rocky. This is my favorite movie of all time.
I was snuggled under a blanket, up all alone, when suddenly it hit me. Wait a minute. Rocky Balboa reminds me of ME! The scrappy fighter with a tender heart, struggling to find love and acceptance - check! He has drive - check! He has ambition - check! But above all, besides one scene of self-doubt, he was fearless - double check!
And I was so struck by Rocky's fearlessness. At his integrity with the odds stacked against him. How the right thing to do always won out over the easy thing to do. And once his decision was made, once the trepidation about choices were dismissed, once the doubt about his reasons for his actions, risking his life, his eyesight (Cut me, Mick. Cut me!) - he stepped center stage, as himself. Fully committed. Himself. He was aware of all his possibilities. But equally and deeply aware of his flaws. And he prevailed over his fears - and attained fearlessness.
Accepting and acknowledging these flaws produced his fearlessness.
And that folks - is a beautiful thing. Knowing yourself and accepting what you bring to the table in any situation gives you the foundation for a grounding that no one can shake. You are firmly rooted in your reality.
It isn't quite as simple as putting the chicken before the egg - but it kind of feels that way. I believe that if we stand tall and face the things that frighten us - it calls forth the backbone. Because, in that moment of vulnerability - before the anger shows up to vanquish the bad guys, we find our purpose. For Rocky it was Adrian (which is why my ex-Rocky was never a Rocky Balboa at all) - he did for someone else. He never once asked what was in it for him. He had a shot and sure he took his shot. But the fight was really about finding his footing and claiming his love.
My favorite little nerd - Adrian.
There is a great comfort to me in that whole scenario. Because if we discover our footing - our purpose - our reason for fighting - in the stillness before the fight - then the fight is not about winning - as much as it is about unleashing our possibilities. In the quiet, in the moment before we face our fears we truly discover who we really are and define our purpose. We acknowledge our position and our flaws and fight nonetheless.
There is no anger or fury only an end - only drive - only pure purpose. There is no reason to call the hounds of hell. There is no reason to build Cortisol and hate in our veins. We can get what we need by simply claiming aloud who it is we are. Stand firm. Find our footing. And move forward within the dignity of purpose. We can leave anger aside to raise its head at poverty, prejudice and injustice. It has no place in our lives while on our quest for self-acceptance and love.
To realize this - and to step forward regardless? This is fearlessness.
And the picture above is of me and my trainer Cas - who helps me every day to be a little bit stronger - a little more fearless. You have to be, to be in the dress I'm wearing...