Taming fear with an eye on synchronicity
Life’s salient decision points
Fear can provide an impediment to forward progress. When there is something important I need to do, but it has high stakes associated, or involves a personal or professional risk on my part, fear provides inertia that makes it hard to take the next steps. If you are in this situation, I hope this approach of looking through the lens of synchronicity will give you a perspective that helps you move forward.
The branching tree of possibilities—describing the many versions of how our life could go from here into the near future—has singular points where universal decisions are made. These are points where you either do get the new job or you do not. They are points where you either do get offered the place to live or you do not, where you either resolve your relationship conflict or you do not. These are highly impactful moments which describe the evolution of your life story.
Both success and failure are real
Living synchronistically does not mean nothing bad happens. It does not mean we are not faced with challenging situations. It means, rather, that we understand the context of the evolution of our lives in a given moment, and we comprehend what the salient decision points are at that time. When we see what is unfolding, we may be afraid to move forward, but we can also see what will happen if we do not. A realistic view of the branching tree means a deep relationship with the grief of missed opportunities.
We really do miss opportunities. What if there is a branch in which this thing that seems impossible actually does happen, without the fearful stories you imagine? If you are thinking of leaving your job and starting a business, but you fear it will be painful and difficult to get enough clients and you will risk hurtful conversations with your spouse about your financial commitments to the family, these may stop you from moving forward. But what if there is a branch on that tree in which the business succeeds and the family thrives?
All of your fears are potential branches of the tree. They are real in that sense. But there are other branches too. So here’s the real fear: What if there is a way through that you can’t quite see yet, but you fail to find it because you are afraid to move forward? What will the regret feel like to know it was possible without your fears coming true, but you didn’t do it?
Embrace the grief of missed opportunities
Fear often leads to missed opportunities. When I consider the things I fear to attempt, within the context of the tree of possibilities a statement comes to mind: “I would feel like such a fool if it turned out my imagination was incorrect and this thing is not only possible, but eminently fulfilling.” From that space, I just feel like “F$%^% it. I am not willing to miss an easy win just because I am afraid it will be hard and painful. Let’s see what happens.” I don’t try to beat my fear, I don’t try to argue with it. I accept it, but I tune into a different fear: what will life be like if I miss out on something important that I could have had.
Look at the salient moments in your life right now. What is unfolding? When are the turning points? What is required of you to commit to the path you want? What can you do today to demonstrate what you really want? Don’t argue with the fear, just see what you can do to move ahead.