How Falling in Love With Your Fears Can Change The World
Kyle Cease is an American author, comedian, and transformational speaker published a powerful book called “I Hope I Screw This Up” which combines elements of humor with inspirational wisdom to describe how embracing your fears can actually help to change the world! It’s funny, moving, full of insight, and teaches many tangible practices to help one get in touch with their true desires and move beyond the barriers of fear.
Today we’re going to explore some of the insights from this book, and if this resonates with you – we know you’ll enjoy reading his full book too!
The Deep Down
There is a section of the book that poses the question: What if deep down wasn’t a place to live, but rather it was just what you were?
When we express things like “I feel scared, but deep down I know everything is okay.” What are we really saying? There is a part of us that ultimately knows everything is going to be okay in the end, but this feeling can easily become clouded by the worrisome thoughts of the mind.
Kyle describes this inner knowing as our heart, soul, or spirit, and that anxious aspect of ourselves is what we call our ego. Our ego is designed to protect us from the unknown, and in this we prioritize thoughts of “What if…” over the knowing that everything will be okay.
What if it was possible to make the “deep down” our default setting? Where we can override the anxiety of the mind and go straight to the depths of our being, understanding that everything will happen as it needs to.
The mind always needs something to do, so we’ve programmed it to create problems and then work on solving those problems. This is extremely evident during meditation; as soon as you sink into a state of calm, you will notice that your mind tends to pop up with thoughts that pull at your attention.
They may feel urgent, or as if there’s an issue that needs resolving in that moment. Kyle describes this as the mind or ego getting called out in a way, as it realizes that there’s nothing for it to do in that moment, so it tries to create some mental work for itself.
To a generally busy mind, simply being with your breath is an unknown and unusual experience, and can even feel like a threat to the egoic mind, which will then grab onto anything it can; a catchy song, a problem, a task you need to do, anything to distract you from just breathing and observing your thoughts.
It’s very natural for us to mentally identify with worrying over than the feeling that it’ll be okay; this is simply the ego trying to protect us. From a space of fear, we can’t risk getting hurt, whether that be emotionally, mentally or physically. This is how the mind justifies over-thinking; by creating problems and running through them over and over. It is a protective mechanism that conjures up hypothetical issues that we create ourselves, and then tries to find a solution to them.
The more we can simply sit with ourselves and breathe through this feeling, the closer we get to our deep down: The space of the heart. This is where our true selves exist, in the calm and joyous feeling of simply being. It is a place within us that inherently knows everything is in perfect alignment and there is no need to bring up any “What if…” scenarios.
One way that we can start to bring this “deep down” way of being to the surface is to consciously watch what we’re saying. If we want to express that we’re scared, but deep down everything is okay, we can shift our verbiage to just say “I’m scared, and everything will be okay.”
Eventually shifting it to just “Everything will be okay.” When we can focus on the space of calm within us, rather than the space of anxiety, we will be able to tap into those peaceful parts of ourselves more easily.
The mind is like an organic machine, always needing something to do. A powerful way to begin controlling it is to bring your focus back to your breath. In the beginning, your mind will focus on the inhale and exhale of your breathing, get distracted and pull in a thought, and your breathing will become shallow.
Catch yourself in those moments, take another deep breath, and refocus. Get yourself into the habit of doing this and you will create a monumental sense of peace and control over your mind. It will truly free you from the worries of the ego and allow you to step into the peaceful energy of the heart.
The Ice Cube Vs. The Ocean
Kyle has a great metaphor for being able to “get into the moment.” He describes it like a fish asking how to get into water. It’s already there; completely surrounding them at all times. As soon as the present moment is seen as somewhere to get, you create a false obstacle for you to overcome.
The present moment exists infinitely, and that includes moments when thoughts are popping up and distracting you. It’s not your job to resist the thoughts, but allow them to flow and observe them.
He likens our ego to being like an ice cube in a glass of water; It needs to work hard to stay cold so it doesn’t melt into the water around it and essentially “die”, even in a metaphorical sense. When we begin to shift our understanding to reach beyond ourselves, we see that we are more like the water itself. Then we can allow ourselves to melt from a rigid ice cube, into a warm ocean which is our true infinite potential.
From this space, we can connect to an entirely new aspect of ourselves and access a new level of being. You can be the water that holds the space for the ice cube, meaning you can be the understanding that surrounds the ego; not just the ego itself.
If the ego is the ice cube, then love is the ocean. It completely surrounds us at all times, we just need to be willing to surrender and release ourselves to it’s potential. Kyle gives a few practical examples on how we can push ourselves to “melt” our ice cube faster.
One of the ways is to give up using your phone for social media, and stop going on all social media sites at all for at least 10 days. This frees up a lot of our time and gives us opportunities to tap into ourselves, meditate, create art or do something that truly lifts us up.
Another great practice here is to start each day by meditating for at least an hour. Kyle emphasizes sitting up in a comfortable position and making sure your head isn’t resting against anything so you can stay as alert as possible.
From these practices we can begin to tap into what our heart says a lot easier without having to wade through the chatter of the mind. When you listen to yourself in moments of anxiety, your heart will always support and love you. If you were to translate a feeling into language, it would probably say “It’s going to be fine.” Or simply “I love you.”
It refocuses us on the inherent feeling of calm rather than chaos. This uplifting and supportive universal energy already surrounds us at all times, and we can always experience it if we are willing to let go of our ice cube and melt into this ocean of infinite love.
Towards the end of the book, Kyle gives a number of great practical exercises to help you shift into a state of allowing and abundance. When we focus on what we don’t have in life, rather than what we do have, we create a sense of lack within us. Shifting our attention to the abundance that is already present in our life can help us to create more of it.
The first exercise requires you to get two pieces of paper and a pen. On the left sheet, you write down a list of things you want to do in life. On the right sheet, you write down correlating reasons for why you can’t do those things.
For example he has “I want to meditate every day” on his left sheet, and “but I don’t have time” on the right sheet. Write down as many desires, dreams and things you want on the left page, and explore the feeling you get when you write them down. It may be a swelling feeling of excitement in your chest, or perhaps it’s little more of an overwhelming tenseness in your stomach.
Allow yourself to feel those fully for each desire you write down. Now do the same for the left side; feel the sensations in your body when you focus on the feeling of lack. It may feel like it’s more in your head or throat rather than your chest. It may feel restricting and limiting rather than expansive.
The feeling of excitement you get when you focus on the things you want are like a preview of the kinds of sensations you’ll get when you follow your dreams. The more you move towards doing the things you want, the more expansive and free you’ll feel.
A lot of the “but I can’t” reasons, are mental limitations we have imposed on ourselves. By stepping into our excitement, we can begin to create solutions for those problems. If one of your desires is you want to travel, but you can’t because you don’t have the money; you have to view that as an exciting opportunity to find a solution, rather than a dead end.
Focusing on the problem itself only creates more of it. Moving towards this feeling of pure excitement will align you with more experiences that create more and more of that feeling.
Living from a space of excitement explodes us forward into motion, creating new experiences, allowing us to meet new people, and find amazing new opportunities for us to continue growing in that direction. When bouts of fear and anxiety come in, having the ability to breathe through them, tap into the calm of our heart and continue on is crucial. When existing from this balanced space – we can truly do anything our heart desires.
This book is a beautiful place to start if you’re feeling like you want to break through your fears but need a little extra push. Keep going, keep growing, and don’t forget to breathe!