Ok, let’s get it right out in the open, all the Will Smith/Oscar Slap business was discussed to a nauseating degree, with more people weighing in with more opinions than we ever needed to hear, and the whole thing got a bit ridiculous, a bit hypocritical on behalf of the Academy banning him, whilst not lifting a finger against so many other men that perpetrated so many worse crimes. Let’s also agree, violence is not the answer, ever. Now, I had to preface today’s Signal Fire with this, because I’m going to discuss Will Smith for a tiny fraction of a second, for no other reason than to discuss a quotation from him, in a documentary I recently watched. Phew, let’s put all that Slapgate nonsense to bed, and just move beyond it for the purposes of this post haha. Thank you, and onward.
Recently, the fam and I finished watching a documentary on Disney+ and National Geographic, called “Welcome to Earth.” Over the course of a few episodes, Will and the crew of scientists, photographers, adventurers and the likes, wander the planet and discover all sorts of magical and mysterious and magnificent things, creatures, and phenomenons. Throughout all of it, those involved always get to a point where the line between fear and excitement gets a bit blurry, where there’s a place on that line that would warrant either turning back, or leaping in. At one point, Will Smith speaks a quote passed down from his grandmother, that says something along the lines of
All the best things in life, are on the other side of fear.
While we again will not dive into the fear Will is so obviously still carrying, he did have to face some fears in this documentary, and in doing so, got a front row seat to some of the most magical things Mother Nature has to offer. Now, we’re not all so lucky to have a full film crew, a budget of millions, and a small army of experts that can help take is to that blurred line where fear and excitement exist, but the lesson stays the same, and ol’ Will’s granny really did hit the nail on the head, proverbially speaking.
Last week, I spoke about the need to live our life like we’re on fire, that we’re here to reignite the flame we were born with but let reduce to embers somewhere along the way, and this Signal Fire, is somewhat of a continuation, a sequel to that piece. Perhaps part of the reason why we get stuck as embers, why we let our flames reduce down to sparks and warm coals, is because fear is preventing us from embracing that heat within us, those things that stoke that fire around us. Perhaps, it’s a constant battle between fear and love, and when we let fear win the battles, the war for joy starts to be lost. Perhaps, all the best things in life ARE on the other side of fear, and it’s up to us to walk to that line, and rather than pause and retreat, leap right over.
What I propose is simpler than flying halfway around the globe and diving in submarines, or rappelling down into an active volcano as it erupts, but it brings the same benefits, and it pushes the same boundaries within you. I think, every single year, everyone should do at the very minimum, one thing that truly scares you. This does not have to cost a fortune, does not have to require plane tickets to war-torn areas, does not need to involve the booking of deep sea exploration, it can be as simple as taking a class you never thought you’d take, learning a language, reaching out to someone you’ve lost touch with. You can do this once a year, you can do this multiple times, you can push yourself as far outside your beautiful zone of comfort as often as you’ve the stomach, the nerves for, as long as you do it.
There is a freedom that comes when we stare into the face of what scares us, refuse to blink or back away, and find the bliss waiting on the other side. Yehuda Amichai once said, “Behind all this, some great happiness is hiding.” What the “this” was, what the “this” is for you can shift and change, can ebb and flow like tide, but the happiness stays the same. The key to it all, is the behind, is the beyond. We must step up to that line, we must dare to cross it, we must become more than we were before we found our way to it.
I swear to you, a magic world is waiting for you to find it, I swear to you, you are made to jump though it feels, especially lately, that all we do is fall. Once a year, at the very minimum, force yourself to face your fears, and to step beyond them. Right out there in the wild places, right beyond the fear, everything awaits. Go, find the great big everything, and I’ll be there when you do, grinning like some manic moron, ready to celebrate with you.
Oh, and don’t slap anyone along the way. Just a thought.
Just beyond the fear
some magic world is waiting.
We are made to jump.