Facing the unknown with trust
Five mentors preside over our inner world, each with a duty to guide us through a specific dimension of our psyches. The Compassionate Guardian expresses for love, the Resilient Hero enforces for freedom, the Resourceful Developer develops for prosperity, the Bold Creator expands for destiny and the Joyful Luminary intuits for meaning.
In part four of this five part series, we meet the mentor of destiny, the Bold Creator.
Why am I here?
What is my purpose? My destiny?
What am I good at? What am I terrible at?
What do I love? What do I hate?
Where do I belong? Where am I not wanted?
I ponder these questions endlessly as I move with increasing lifelessness through the safe life I've created for myself.
To make myself comfortable during my search for the answers that allude me, I've surrounded myself with a bubble to protect me from dangers that lie beyond in the great unknown.
Initially, I wondered whether this would be the only life I know -- life in a bubble.
As time passed, that wonder began to turn to fear.
I would repeatedly tell myself that I have to be meant for more than this boring life of mediocrity and anonymity. Right? RIGHT?!
But, behind the self-talk, there was a nagging dread that I could come and go from this life having never done anything of significance for anyone.
What a terrifyingly awful reality to ponder.
Finally, I decide that I can't let my life pass without doing something significant. To accomplish this, it's clear that have to do something differently.
So, I allow myself to at least consider the possibility that my boring and mediocre life is the result of a boring and mediocre approach to discovering the answers I crave.
I assess my approach from beginning to end, top to bottom. Throughout the assessment, my thoughts repeatedly return to the bubble that surrounds me.
I begin to wonder about the purpose of the bubble. It is really there to protect me from dangers of life, or is actually blocking me in from the life I'm meant to live?
With the question, something shifts in me.
Suddenly, I hear a loud banging at the door of my bubble.
The sound is absolutely terrifying. Yet, I'm overcome by a strange feeling of excitement as I walk towards it.
I open the door just a crack and ask, "Who is it?"
The mysterious visitor bursts through the door and angrily shouts "What took you so long!?"
Stunned and frightened, I meagerly repeat the question back to my visitor "What took me so long...?" After a short pause, I mutter "What do you mean?"
My visitor looks annoyed, but offers a further explanation anyway, "I've been pounding on this door for YEARS! Why have you refused to let me in?"
"What?" I reply. I don't have any memory of someone knocking on the door of my bubble. All I've ever experienced along the walls was the threatening cries of unknown dangers trying to get in. Then I realize, the banging at the door I heard today was the same banging I've heard and felt threatened by my entire life.
I offer a meek explanation, "Oh, I didn't know it was you. I thought it was danger trying to pierce its way through the walls of my bubble...." as I trail off.
My visitor lets out a sympathetic sigh, gives me a warm embrace and whispers in my ear, "It's been me all along. I'm sorry that my eagerness to get your attention has been tormenting you for so long."
I push the visitor away as my fear shifts downward from gripping terror to sweaty discomfort. "Who are you then?" I implore.
"I'm your inner Bold Creator. My duty is to help you find your purpose and to keep you moving toward your desitiny through all of the highs and lows you'll experience along the way." my visitor replies.
"My inner what!?" I reply, irritated by the absurdity of my visitor's claim.
My visitor looks me directly in the eyes and with knowing authority says, "What?! Do you think you don't need me? Do you see your purpose here in the bubble? Have you already found it then?"
Seeing the arrogance of my reaction, I offer a meek "No" in response. I allow myself to consider the possibility that my visitor's claims are real and that I've actually come face to face with my "inner Bold Creator", whatever that is.
"Ok then. Let's get started." The Creator responds. "You've been living a life of mediocrity here in this tiny little bubble. The world is vast. Your potential is unlimited."
"Unlimited?" I ask excitedly.
"Yes. Unlimited. But, to reach the heights demanded by your purpose, you must be willing to expand the boundaries of this suffocatingly small bubble." The Creator continues.
"Ok. How exactly am I supposed do I do that?" I question.
The Creator pauses for a moment, considering how to respond to such an enormously complicated question, and finally offers an explanation, "Your potential lies only within the walls of your bubble. Small bubble, small potential. To expand the walls, you must be willing to open up to the fear of the unknown."
The Creator looks at me to assess whether I'm following so far. Apparently satisfied with my non-verbal response, The Creator continues, "Your purpose lies on the other side of fear. You must be willing to trust that I will guide you through the trials and triumphs of walking through uncertainty."
Sensing my apprehension, The Creator says, "I believe in you. I always have. Your destiny awaits if you're willing to trust me."
I sit in silence for what feels like an eternity. It seems an impossible task to process all that has happened in the last couple of minutes.
In an effort to snap me out of my trance, The Creator speaks again, "Are you willing to trust me?"
"I guess so." I respond reflexively, still trying to make sense of things.
Feeling the gravity of my agreement, I suddenly realize that The Creator has asked for my implicit trust, but hasn't offered any details about the "why" I'm here or about "what" my purpose is. "Wait, before I agree to trust you, you must let me know what my purpose is."
The Creator giggles at the apparent silliness of my demand and replies, "Your purpose is to follow me."
"Follow you? Follow you where?" I ask frustratedly.
"Your destiny lies on the other side of fear. The only way through it safely is to follow my lead. Your path is only revealed with each step we take together as we endeavor to expand the boundaries of your bubble. Without me, your path through fear will lead you past the safety of your bubble and directly to your destruction." The Creator responds.
I'm not even remotely satisfied by the response. My purpose has to be a something!
I think about all of those who have inspired me. Each one had accomplished so many amazing and seemingly impossible things. Now, I'm being told my purpose is to follow this stranger through the untamed and dangerous lands of the unknown. On top of that absolutely wild idea, I'm also supposed to offer this stranger my full trust?
I reply finally, "No. I will not follow you. I need to know where we're going before I'll agree to follow you."
With a look of disappointed rejection, The Creator moves toward the door to leave.
Soon after the words leave my mouth, I experience a flood of memories that remind me of just how miserable and lifeless I've felt during my life in the bubble. I can now see clearly how I've allowed myself to be controlled by fear, cycling endlessly between:
Rebelling against fear as the Tortured Artist: Refusing to accept the suffocating grip of fear, I would venture aimlessly through the dangers of life beyond my bubble without any protection or direction. I would always be forced back to my bubble battered, bruised and feeling cursed by my inability to survive in the wild of the unknown on my own. As the rebel, I was inspired by the stories of innovative artists who seemingly proved that real innovation can only be manifested by those willing to live wild and tormented lives.
Protecting against fear as the Tense Perfectionist: I would put my effort into reinforcing the walls of my bubble, believing that I could block out fear and all of the dangers that linger outside if my walls were strong enough. Only, with each reinforcement added, I would find it harder to breathe, as I need the air beyond my walls to survive. As the Perfectionist, I was inspired by the stories of those I admire who taught me that I the path to a full life lies in consistently making safe and responsible decisions.
I'd spent enough time with both The Artist and The Perfectionist to know that they were illusions I'd created to rationalize why I had been allowing myself to be controlled by fear.
Whether living as The Artist or The Perfectionist, the walls of my bubble have been continuously closing in on me. With each day, I'd been forced to live in increasingly tight quarters as fear continued to beat on the walls.
Returning to my senses, I realize that I'm going to have to make a change sooner rather than later. So, I tell myself "screw it". Why not at least try being led by something other than fear? After all, this could be the opportunity of a lifetime.
I yell out to The Creator who was just about to walk out the door, "Stop, I trust you! Take me with you!"
The Creator turns and smiles, "Great! This is going to be fun!"