As I sat there in the middle of this big design deadline, I was crippled with a paramount sense of fear. Fear of not being able to complete, fear of rejection, fear of not being good enough and the grand daddy of all fears [well known to designers], REPETITION. I feared that this fear about fear is an hindarance to my other list of things that needs to get done. For example, coming up with new content for my blog. I feared that the hits on my blog will suffer if I am not consistent with the weekly updates. I feared website ranking will suffer. I feared business will suffer. My tryst with fear continued.
As my chaotic mind was racing between the co-ordinates of greed, fear and sustenance, I remembered Pema Chödrön saying: Anyone who stands on the edge of the unknown, fully in the present without a reference point, experiences groundlessness. That’s when our understanding goes deeper, when we find that the present moment is a pretty vulnerable place and that this can be completely unnerving and completely tender at the same time.
I took a break from fear and re-read some of the pages from the book: “When Things Fall Apart” by Pema Chödrön. Below is an excerpt from the book!
What we’re talking about is getting to know fear, becoming familiar with fear, looking it right in the eye – not as a way to solve problems, but as a complete undoing of old ways of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and thinking. The truth is that when we really begin to do this, we’re going to be continually humbled. The arrogance that inevitably does arise is going to be continually shot down by our own courage to step forward a little further.
So the next time you [designers, trade show producers, exhibit marketers] encounter fear, consider yourself lucky. This is where courage comes in. Usually we think that brave people have no fear. The truth is that they are intimate with fear. The trick is to keep exploring and not bail out, even when we find out that something is not what we thought. That’s what we’re going to discover again and again and again. Nothing is what we thought. I can say that with great confidence. Emptiness is not what we thought. Neither is mindfulness or fear. Compassion – not what we thought. Love. Buddha nature. Courage. These are code words for things we don’t know in our minds, but any of us could experience them. These are words that point to what life really is when we let things fall apart and let ourselves be nailed to the present moment.