Recently, I’ve taken on a lot of work that has me stretched between two levels of consciousness. There is the part of my life that I know pretty well and feel like I can control…and there’s the part that is completely foreign to me and in some cases, completely unknown.
I hate it.
Not the new work, of course.
I hate feeling unprepared. I hate not knowing how things will work out. So, I create little stories that help me feel prepared. They are intricate and beautiful. They have complex characters and dramatic climaxes. They are visionary enough for me to remain focused on the work at hand.
If it’s something I really care about, rarely do I create a story with a happy ending. In fact, the more dramatic the disappointment, the better. There are two reasons:
1) the fake heartbreak is meant to prepare me for a real-life disaster
2) in the past, when my heart was broken, it pushed me to be a better person
One of my spiritual gifts is said to be prophecy. It’s far from infallible. What I take that to mean is that the confidence behind my words is enough to plant a powerful seed in people. So I sometimes plant seeds that act on the stories I make up in my mind.
When you act on the stories you tell yourself, they begin to be realized.
If you act on your negative stories, you have done self-sabotage. You can’t afford to tell yourself any negative stories. Your words can invigorate or drain you. If you hope to transform your life, you can’t waste your words on the things that will sap your soul.
My teenage years were filled with relational angst. I saw (and still see) the most beautiful things in my friends and colleagues, but could never see myself as their peers. I filled my diaries with long love letters to boys who had recited accidental poetry in English, or who held my hand as I walked across a puddle. But those love letters were supplemented with wistful comparisons to my fetching classmates, and the list of reasons why the two of them would be a better fit together.
I was forever match-making.
I was forever heart-broken.
It’s a habit– telling stories that don’t work in your favor. That’s called being realistic. Preparing for the worst, but saying that you hope for the best. Agreeing with everyone about “what is.”
It’s really a lie.
“What is” doesn’t have to be “what will be.”
The truth is that the stories that work in my favor are just as beautiful. Even more so, because in those stories, everyone was happy. What makes those stories so hard to tell is that I would have to trust some unknown element to work in my favor.
I have to be vulnerable.
Vulnerability is scary. It’s also the only door to my new life. And (almost) every fiber of my being wants to turn around and run back to the life I know.
So, I’ve decided to Fake It Til I Break It.
Here’s what that means. Whenever I feel scared of the next unknown step, I give myself 20 seconds of courage.
I will grit my teeth and I will walk forward not having a clue about what’s next. But I will do it open-heartedly and hope for grace.
What I am breaking is my attachment to my comfortable way of thinking. What I’m breaking is my habit of playing small and closed off. What I know will break through is the life full of joy, peace and love that has been jumping up and down, waiting for me to embrace it.
If you can’t see what’s next, I encourage you to look again. What you can see is the end– and it’s good. You’ll never know what’s in the middle until you take the first step forward. Fake it until you break it.