Can you remember that feeling of riding the rails of fear and exhilaration – that feeling of technicolor living when your whole being is rosy and vitally alive? And when you’re filled with laughter and exuberance at the kick of it all?
- When’s the last time you felt that alive?
- When’s the last time you went for it, were audacious, and daring?
- When was the last time you let your hair down and threw caution to the wind?
- When was the last time you found something worth summoning all your courage to pursue?
I’m not talking about some adolescent male version of daring -risking life or limb to test fate for the thrill of it all. I’m talking about putting it all on the line for something that really matters to you. Well maybe your dare is skydiving or summiting a mountain or something else your teenage son would be thrilled to join you on.
But what if your bold, audacious step was following your heart, or baring your soul, or living your truth no matter how many feathers get ruffled? What if your act of daring was no longer settling or staying on script? Or diverging from a lifelong habit of deferring, being agreeable, and playing nice.
Suppose the next time you are on the receiving end of the full court press and you feel ready to cave even though everything inside you screams, “No I just can’t do it!” you cue the movie music in your head, envision your swaggering badass persona, adopt a bold but casual stance and simply respond, “I couldn’t possibly agree to that” as you spin on your heel and stroll away. I can assure you the thrill and exhilaration you would feel at honoring that voice inside by speaking your truth would so far surpass the strokes and kudos you get from remaining an agreeable “good girl “.
So what do you need to do to shift the gears that would enable you to take that kind of a Dare – to really go for it on your own behalf? Or to stand by your needs or your truth without apology?
I wanted to share with you a number of steps you can take that will support you in being your bold, audacious self:
1. Creating a “Homebase”: Daring is all about courage in the face of fear-not it’s absence. A homebase, a ground of being, a place to return to when the fear kicks in and starts to supersede the thrill and exhilaration. Because we know when the fear shows up you need a safe place within to collect yourself and recognize your okay, you still have all your limbs. Think toddler running back to her mama’s leg after venturing out to explore something new in her world!
We can create a homebase within by taking a few moments regularly to slow down our pace and become present to our breath. As you slow down turn your attention inward and breath into your heart. Place your hands over your heart space and deepening your breathing. Research has shown this will bring the rest of your body into your heart’s rhythm and create a calming response. Over time repeating this process will create a sense of solid ground or homebase within you.
2. Have a Cheering Squad: These are girlfriends, mentors, and/or partners to encourage and support you. People who have your back and can see your strength, talent, and that you’re worth it even when you forget. The only necessary element required is either letting them know when you need their support or staying so connected they can tune in and recognize it before you do. But be sure to let them know that they are part of your Cheerleading Squad and ask them for what you need.
3. A Practice: Something that brings you home to your center, your own Wise heart, and your unique Spirit. A practice to ground you in truth so you can see through the illusions created by fear – your own, and of those around you.
A simple practice of conscious breathing I use to return to my center entails placing one hand over your heart and the other on your belly – you take slow deep breaths and bring your awareness to the sensations in your body. Just noticing where you hold tension, where you have a sense of spaciousness or numbness. The emphasis is on open awareness of your experience – no need to change anything you find. Spending a few moments connecting with your body and your breath in this way can do wonders for your perspective and create more clarity.
4. Lighting Your Own Life Spark: This is relighting your spark of vitality, which might be smoldering under some wet leaves of habit or repression or buried deep in the recesses of your psychic closet. If it’s gone missing, if you can’t find it I urge you to start looking NOW. It is a precious gift that will bring the magic to your life. Whatever you must do to track it down it’s worth it!
If you need a place to begin think back to what brought you joy as a girl. Was it dancing and doing cartwheels, getting creative with clay or paint, laughing with friends, exploring the creek, singing or playing an instrument, spending time with your dog, cat or horse, or maybe solving puzzles or writing stories? Whatever it was find a way to bring that experience or essence of it back into your adult life. Take a class, or a hike, go to craft store and explore, or get your exercise outside rather than at the gym. Reconnecting with the activities that light you up will fan the flames of your Spark and bring it back to life. Make a list of all those things you love to do, or used to do, or dreamt of doing. Do a collage in your journal or on a piece of watercolor paper of images and words that bring you joy.
So as you regain access to your Spark and create your Homebase, and you cultivate a Practice that grounds you, and open to the support of your Cheering Squad then you are ready for take off – the skies the limit. You can then go boldly into your life. Let your heart and soul guide you to new adventures in living, loving, expressing, and creating.