Monday, October 19, 2009

The only way out is through.

Someone asked me about my motivation the other day and here is what I had to say:

Starting solo really feels like starting over. I know it isn't quite starting over, but it feels like I've been kicked back to the start by a cruel overseer. I am really quite scared of performing solo. And that is exactly why I keep doing it. For some reason I have been shaped as the type of person that charges forward when something scares me. When I don't understand, when I can't see, when all I want to do is hide: I keep going.

Someone told me once, "The only way out is through."

It's so true. There may be nothing truer.

I know that no matter how scared I am of success or failure or whatever it is I am doing, even if I back out the fear will stay. The only way to get past the emotion is to continue what I started for as long as I want to. For as long as my passion drives me.

I decided long ago to not let fear guide my life. I do what I am driven to do, what I am passionate about. If I let fear stop me my life would be a small pale thing instead of the wondrous fairy tale I choose to live each day.

Fear is the little death. Fear is the mind-killer...

I have to remind myself often of this choice to not be ruled by fear: to be open: to smile at strangers: to hitch hike: to speak a language I am not comfortable with even if I sound stupid: to go for the high note even if my voice cracks: to love someone beyond reason, even if they don't love me back.

The choice has its costs. I am sensitive. I am often hurt. Because I am an optimist I always expect the best and end disappointed. But because I am an optimist I also see wonder where others see none. And because I push past my comfort and beyond what I know, my time on this planet is richer and deeper and filled with strange and wonderful things.

And the more I push my boundaries the further I can go. The less I give in to fear the better I get at it. I exercise my will and it gets stronger, like everything else I exercise. It isn't easy. But it is rewarding.

I take these chances because I know that when I go beyond my comfort, beyond what I know, that is where the purest art comes from.

"When we venture beyond the edge of our knowledge, all we have is art." Jonah Lehrer (Proust was a Neuroscientist)


  1. Beautiful post. Here's a poem you might appreciate:

    The Waking, by Theodore Roethke

    I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
    I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
    I learn by going where I have to go.

    We think by feeling. What is there to know?
    I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
    I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

    Of those so close beside me, which are you?
    God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
    And learn by going where I have to go.

    Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
    The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
    I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

    Great Nature has another thing to do
    To you and me, so take the lively air,
    And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

    This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
    What falls away is always. And is near.
    I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
    I learn by going where I have to go.

  2. I completely agree. I've been one to face my fears ever since I was 9. I remember having a fear of heights and every time I'd climb this tree, I could only get to a certain point.

    One day I looked up at this tree and said to myself, "I'm going to climb this tree to the tippy top and be able to look down without fear."

    That's when my determination for facing my fears began. I climbed that tree every day to a point of discomfort and forced myself to look down. As the weeks progressed, I found myself climbing higher and higher without a problem until finally I was poking my head out of the leaves and over looking the town I was in.

    That was my reward. That beautiful sight at the top. Everything seemed so silent and calm. After that I was like a monkey, climbing everything in sight. I forced people to dare me to climb things, and that's what caused a giant scar across my thigh.

    But even that stormy night of blood and fear that my parents would kill me, I still have the ability to go to high points and look down with no problem.

    Courage is one of the things I admire most. I try to never let fear get in the way of anything.

    I admire your courage, Kim. It makes me appreciate what you do more than I already did. Go Kim!

  3. That is truly awesome! I live within my fears. I take the path of least resistance. I choose comfort over adventure every time. And I know it's a less full life I live because of it. But I'm too much of a cynic to believe that doing the things I want to do will make a difference. I'd still feel empty, just with a lower credit rating and dingier clothes. But that's why I love folks like you. I can listen to your songs or read your blog and know that there are people who are truly alive, and that makes me smile!