Clarity in large doses is much harder to come by. It manifests as something so much more than simple courage. It is larger than we are. If you catch it by the tail you find yourself on a wave of absolute fearlessness and you better hang on tight ‘cuz it’s gonna be a fuckin’ awesome ride.
In my lifetime I’ve been lucky to ride this wave a few times. Periodic episodes of fearlessness have pushed me to skydive, surf in the Pacific off the coast of Mexico despite my inflated fear of sharks and drowning, leave a comfortable long term relationship that wasn’t doing either of us any favors, move cross country to a new city and start a business in a recession. Oh and there was that time I jumped off a cliff into a river in Hawai’i. Yee-haw!
After yesterday’s post about clarity in small doses, I figured it only fair that the universe would today show me some more clarity in a large dose. But this morning didn’t start off too well. By the time I got the pups back from the dog park pain had come back to my leg. It’s the sitting in the car and the driving that constantly send my progress reeling backwards so I decided to ride my bike to work. On my way in my shoe came untied and when I reached down to fix it I froze again. Yesterday I could squat, today I cannot. I hobbled off my bike, limped to the side of the road and spent the next five minutes figuring out how to reach my shoe.
When I arrived at the cart I was greeted by massive road construction by the Portland Water Bureau. I couldn’t tell you what they were doing but it was obnoxiously loud and seemed to involve suction. They were working directly across from my window. Awesome. I could feel my blood pressure rising as the money worries set in. Business has slowed with the change of seasons and here we had a warm beautifully sunny day destroyed by street crews and noise pollution.
The downward spiral didn’t really hit until the dude I’m crushing on walked past and paid me no mind. This time I didn’t chase him, trusting my instincts as they rightfully pointed out that it was too loud to speak to anyone anyway. I would say I was OK for five minutes. Then the noise and the pain and the worry joined forces with that ego fucker and the berating began.
You’re so stupid! That was your chance and you screwed it up again. Your horoscope told you to make a grand gesture and you blew it. You’re an idiot for liking a stranger who clearly doesn’t find you interesting anyway. This is too hard. You should just quit and eat already. And on and on and on…
When I finally managed to take a breather I checked my email. Four comments to this blog from friends old and new reminding me of something critically important: I’m not doing this cleanse to get a date with a handsome stranger. This moment is about something much different. My job is to focus my attention and just do what needs to be done. In other words, shut up and drink some lemonade.
So I drank and from then on the day moved along quite nicely. Business was stellar, the temperatures hit the 80’s, my mood and clarity rose back to their newfound lofty heights and then all of a sudden there he was standing in line at my cart. I looked down at the smoothie I was making, looked back up and he was still there. After months, he had returned for a juice and immediately I knew it was time. There was no chaos in my head, no sweaty palms or dry mouth, just an understanding that this was my moment. I smiled. I was friendly. I made his juice and slipped him my phone number with a note asking, “Drinks?”
When you’re jumping out of an airplane at 13,000 feet, fearlessness feels like adrenalin. Your heart races so fast and so loud it drowns out any possible voice speaking of concern or negative consequence. The only thing that is happening is the exact thing that is happening. You are jumping out of an airplane.
Other times, back down on the ground, fearlessness just feels right and good. Still the only thing that’s happening is the thing that’s happening. You are taking a step forward.
Regardless of the future outcome (because let’s be honest, he might not call), I fucking loved today.