As many of you know, I came out to LA a little over a week ago to study and collaborate with my amazing music production mentor, Gary Gray – and to collaborate with a couple of incredible musicians in San Fransisco.
I love being on the move and experiencing new things in general, but being here has reminded me of a fear I had forgotten about: fear of the unknown. Whilst I love a good adventure, I’m also the sort of person who likes to plan and be organised. I feel uneasy leaving things to chance, despite knowing in my heart that’s when the magic happens.
Day by day, several times a day I’m having to remind myself to let go of my need to be in control – and to trust that things will work out the way they are meant to. It’s not easy for me to do – and it’s even harder to do it when you’re in unknown territory, far away from the comfort and safety of home. But when I do it, magic always occurs.
An example of such magic is this: I’m travelling on a pretty limited budget and am therefore relying on people offering me places to stay for free. I put myself out there and reached out to people on Couchsurfing.com. Total strangers. The result? My first 10 days in LA have been spent with 2 beautiful hosts who have now become lifelong friends. Was it scary for me to do this? Of course it was! But it serves as a great example of the magic that can occur when you push your comfort zone and venture into the unknown.
Most of us are conditioned to think small – to sit inside our little boxes and lead a life that is planned, safe and predictable. There is one major problem with this: the very nature of existence is unpredictable and random. Can we predict what is going to occur in the future? We cannot. Perhaps the unpredictability of the future has given rise to our insistence on needing to maintain so much control over what is going to occur in the future. Perhaps our fear of the unknown has been exacerbated to make us easier to control.
For the most part, we are conditioned to feel uncomfortable with surrendering to the flow and leaving things to chance – but can we realise that by attempting to fill every conceivable void in our lives with stuff or plans, we are shutting out the chance for magic and serendipity to occur?
Don’t get me wrong – a level of focus is required to achieve any endeavour – as is hard work. But do we really need to push for so much control over how the journey towards that goal unfolds? Would it not be better if we kept our eyes on the prize, but surrendered to – and trusted in the journey that gets us there?
Fear is the most paralysing of emotions we battle with. Personally, it’s a constant and daily battle that affects all areas of my life – not just my creativity. At times I feel so much fear surrounding something that it affects my health. My guts knot up and become crampy. I can’t sleep. I get pains in my liver and stomach. These all arise from the suffocating grip of fear.
I wish our society dealt with fear in healthier ways, but it seems those that pull the strings of the puppet names society need fear in order to maintain not only their control but their enormous bank accounts. I don’t have the answers as to why countless numbers of us are thrown into the pool of fear and drown there without even putting up a fight.
What I do know is this: pushing through the things that scare me the most is really uncomfortable. But whenever I do this, not only does magic occur – I also grow. I become stronger and I can then use that strength to help rescue others that might be drowning in the pool of fear. I can take my experiences and use them to help give strength to others, to help them get that twinkle of excitement back into their eyes.
I let fear control me for most of my life. Realising I could choose to take the power back was probably one of the most exciting things that I learned. I refuse to be suffocated by my fears – and I will do my best to help prevent others from being suffocated by theirs.