It is  time. I have to escape. My enemy leaves me alone if I say nothing, but this leaves me a prisoner. The only way out is through. The door is open. Now is my chance. I don’t know which direction to take. I can hear the sounds of freedom, but I am confused. I am so turned around I don’t know north from south. But, I am determined. It would be better to die fighting for my freedom than to rot where I am. The first thing is to get up. They may not notice if I go slowly, but what if they do? On my feet, out of the cell door, I look to my left and right. There has to be a clue…and there it is, a footprint. Was another here before me? Is the path laid out and I am just seeing it? I take it. My legs are tired, but I take the first step and I feel life returning to them. My lungs take in the free air. A sword and shield lay feet away. I take them. As I grasp the hilt a pulse shoots down my arm. My limbs begin to remember something my brain is having trouble making out. I am a warrior. I have purpose. How long have I been hidden away? The first step was finding the path, and as I make my way I start to remember who I really am. How much time has been wasted?

From time to time, when I have extra moments, I like to use the notes application on my iPhone to jot down ideas and write short passages. The words above are from one of those writing exercises. But, what does it all mean?

I find myself a prisoner sometimes. Not by force, but by choice…or lack of choices. There are decisions to be made and life to be lived, but things don’t go as I have planned or things are harder than I expected and  I choose the path of fear and I completely shut down. (Is this just me or does anyone else do this too?) Fear can be a crippling enemy, but does it have to be? I don’t think so.

What really gets me are the what ifs. You know the what ifs right? What if I am not good enough? What if she doesn’t like me? What if he says no? What if she leaves me? What if I lose my job? What if? What if? What if? What good do they really do? They can leave you paralyzed if you let them. I know they have me from time to time.

I think the solution is to take the what if to their natural end. For example: What if I lose my job? We would have to use our savings and that would not last long. I would have bills to pay and obligations to meet. If I were unable to find another job I might be dragged into financial ruin. Times would be tough. I would lose some sleep. But is this really the end? No. This won’t kill me. (Might lose more of my hair and the rest might go quickly grey.) I would still have my family. My wife and my son would still love me. We would work through things. There would be happy times again.

Like the story above, there has to come a point when you realize the pain of staying is greater than the pain of going. You can no longer be a prisoner. Once you get moving, the excuses and the what ifs tend to fall away and you begin to accomplish. You remember who you are and what you are capable of. I think the most important this is standing up and giving it your best shot. I would much rather do that that live imprisioned by my own fears. Even if I fail, I want to know that I have tried. The following quote is one of my favorite on the subject:

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. – Theodore Roosevelt

What goal are you trying to accomplish this year? What fears keep getting in the way? Keep going. Keep moving forward. Dare mighty things…who knows? You just might get them done.

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