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Thankful (& Scared)

Building a New Path

Everything you've ever wanted is sitting on the other side of fear. George Addair

I was just reading that fear is a reaction and courage is a choice. Being thankful is also a choice, and when you choose it over and over, my theory is that it will become a reaction. But, make no mistake, you forge a new path step by step, choice by choice. Building a new gratitude trail where one doesn't exist is no small task. My fear path is well worn and deceptively inviting. There is no work involved--it's grooved and well traveled and waiting. It will take time and the lack of use for it to grow over. To be clear, I'm not talking about primal fear here--the edge of a cliff, a bear, a swift running river--that's different, helpful fear. I'm talking about the sophisticated kind of fear, the fear that we nurture, that is so familiar that it can feel comforting and reasonable.

Well, I don't want to be that kind of reasonable. I want to feel that flow of gratitude that fuels BRAVE and joyful behavior. The trail doesn't exist until you start to build it, and it's not easy, at first. The work is hard. But the rewards are grand. And the more time and attention you put into building this path, the easier it becomes to travel on it.

What I'm learning is that there are footpaths back to the main trail, back to fear. My furlough is ending, but work is not resuming--that's a footpath. My writing is just beginning, but I don't know where it's going. My business idea is just beginning, but I don't know if it will take off. Both of those? GREAT, BIG, GROOMED footpaths back to the main fear trail, marked with signs that say STOP! GO NO FURTHER! BACK THIS WAY TO SAFETY!

The future is uncertain, Thanksgiving is without family, and the world is still living in a suspended, pandemic state. I am looking down a footpath back to the familiar, but thankfully I'm wearing my trail shoes, and I have the memory of the joy of the new path that I've been building and running on lately. The view ahead of me, with all its work and uncertainty and even risk, is going somewhere. I know, now, that the footpath back to the main trail is actually a dead-end. I know, now, I can feel a little fear without totally bailing and retreating to the path of fear. I know, now, that everything I've ever wanted is here on this wild, risky, joyful trail in progress.