Fear, progress, and hand siphons.

A pair of recurring themes in my life right now are fear and progress. The two are definitely interconnected. More accurately, they are like a valve on a hand siphon. If you have never used one of these, it is basically a couple of tubes (one goes in where there is gas, the other goes where you want that gas to be) connected to a bulb by a valve. By compressing and releasing the bulb you trigger the valve to open and close. When the valve is open it allows the gas to fill the vacuum left by the bulbs decompression. When the valve is closed no new gas can come up the line. Progress is the valve in an open state. Fuel rushing up the line, out of a place where it is no longer needed or where it can’t be used at all. From there it goes into a place where it is ready to be used for new purpose, oftentimes as an answer to a desperate need. However, when that valve is closed it all stops. There is no more flow. You have everything you need in that moment to make things happen, a fuel source, a place for the fuel to go, and the means by which to get the fuel from point a to point b. That is all well and good, but as long as that valve is closed NOTHING is going to change. That is actually the best case appraisal. Most likely things will get worse. What happens if you stand there long enough? The fuel you are trying to siphon up will evaporate. I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to see how this metaphorically represents our own struggles.

Once we know that fear is acting as a valve, stopping the fuel (passion, drive, creativity, happiness) from flowing, how do we disengage that valve? The simple answer is to just take action. Squeeze the metaphorical bulb on the siphon and it will work. Stepping out of the metaphorical it is taking the first step towards whatever goals you have set in front of you. Move, disregarding the risk, take the chance. It is so easy, or at least it is easy to type or say aloud. The truth is that applied action is difficult. Our heart races, our heads spins, our stomach knots up. Our whole body yells out “STOP!”

At the end of the day, whether you use to motivate yourself to move, it is all an exercise in self discipline and control. Even if you are like me and believe in the power that comes from moving on faith in God, it still takes that initial surge of self discipline to put our feet in motion. I pray you have that self discipline, and that you don’t let your lack of self control hem you in, away from where you want to be. I pray that my self control, which has a long way to go, will improve and allow me to make those first steps. To disengage the fear valve, so that my fuel, my creativity, my passion, my drive will flow. I pray that there are people there along the way to cheer you on, to help you feel like you can overcome that fear. I pray that you will go deaf to the voices who would tell you, “you can’t.” I pray your fear valve never stops your dreams from flowing.

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