#3 Stand on a Ledge
Last year, while on a missions trip to Nicaragua, I faced a fear of mine. Everyone wanted to go zip-lining. I'm really afraid of heights. But instead of letting my fear dictate what set of memories this trip would hold, I decided to push past and literally stand on the ledge. The experience was terrifying (height + speed + uncertain safety regulations in a foreign country = gulp). I don't remember the last time my body was that physically wracked with terror. But on this side of it, I can say I did it. And I have a few photos even. I will NEVER forget the experience. And it's highly unlikely that I will repeat this. But I faced my fear.
As artists, we all have those looming fears too. The ones that stop us, divert us, cause us to choose another route, or just plain procrastinate or give up. That's why I've listed standing on a ledge as my number three rule. It's only on the edge looking over to what may seem like certain death do we gain a new perspective, even if it's an uncomfortable one. And some of our most interesting art can come from uncomfortable places. Because it's real. And relatable. Or it's in pushing into those places where we cross a barrier that's been holding us back. We take new ground. And in the process prove to ourselves we can actually do it.
"Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it." ~ Judy Blume
I've got a few things even right now that I need to crawl out on the ledge with. I feel the paralyzing presence of fear. Want to know one of them? I am doing a 4 foot by 4 foot live painting during my church's worship service. It was one of those things that when i was asked I immediately had several excuses: My comfort zone in painting is 11 x 14 inches usually. I've never painted like that in public. What if it looks crappy when I'm done and I have 200 plus people stating at me & my art scratching their heads. But that's why I knew this was a "ledge" moment. So I said yes. And then I'd just figure it out as I go. (I'll let you know how it goes..)
What's that thing you need to bring out on the ledge? If you keep it in it's safe confines, the only certainty is more of the same of what you've already experienced. Go on. Crawl out there. And watch that first step. It may be a doozy, but it's also the first step into something larger.