I recently had the opportunity to take a “doors-off” helicopter ride around the west Maui Mountains, and down the spectacular north shore of Molokai, Hawaii. This is the kind of thing that some of us only get to dream of doing—and I almost turned it down.
As you may know, I am a huge advocate for self-observation and taking responsibility for the choices that we make. Practicing what I preach, I watched myself pulling away from opportunity. I did a little self-inquiry and realized I was experiencing interference, or “innerFEARence,” from my ego mind. It was telling me that this was not safe and recounting every helicopter accident that I had ever heard about. Knowing that the ego’s sole job is to protect us but that it rarely does so in a skilled and well-informed manner—I (my Higher Self) had to pull rank on my own ego.
I am an advocate of taking risks with awareness, as this leads to true growth and great opportunities. Risks without awareness can cause disaster or death, but awareness without risk leads to a boring life full of missed opportunities and lost love. Wisdom reminded me that more people die of falling coconuts each year than helicopter accidents (and I ain’t afraid of coconut trees!)
My ego and my Higher Self fought a tough battle, with the ego winning as the helicopter rose and banked sharply or neared a 1,000-foot-high cliff and waterfall, Spirit winning as I relaxed into the sheer beauty of it all—turquoise and green of every shade along a coastline few in the world have the honor to witness.
In the realm of relationships, our egos also run innerFEARence and keep us from connecting with others. In those moments when someone asks you out, or you are facing the next stage of commitment (getting serious, getting married, having kids), be mindful and watch the ego. The ego will try to talk you out of loving to protect you from getting hurt, but not loving is also hurtful. Or the ego will talk you into a relationship to protect you from being alone, when alone may be exactly what you need. This is when utilizing the head and the heart together can help you determine whether to move forward or back, when an interference is appropriate and when to override it.
We humans have a tendency to think either with our heads and not with our hearts, or with our passion and not with our heads. When we are “in our heads” we are often cut off from our hearts. However, when we learn how to drop into our hearts, we can then use the intelligence and wisdom of the head. It is my experience that we have both a head and heart, a right brain and a left, an ego and a spirit because they can work great together as a team; they have different, but complementary skill sets. However, when fear comes up, unless we remain conscious, we seldom access our full capabilities.
Fear itself is not the problem; it is the lack of self-inquiry. Fear is simply a reminder to take a deeper look. Practice self-observation as you feel your fear running interference on something you want to do. Take a moment to really explore whether your fear is the guidance of wisdom, or the misguided protection of ego. If you need more awareness before taking risks, gather more information before jumping in headfirst. If your information gathering reveals that your fear is actually the better side of wisdom, allow the innerFEARence to steer you out of harm’s way. If you have all the information you need, have deemed the task (or person) worthy, allow your Spirit to override the ego and, as the saying goes, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” You may simply discover the spectacular shores of your soul and the expansion of your heart’s capacity.