The Good News About Fear

Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly.

But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle.

The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. They both had their weapons.

The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?”

Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.” Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?”

Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.”

In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear.

This excerpt from When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron beautifully illustrates the way fear can feel like a physical presence. For anyone pursuing a career in art, fear is an inevitable sidekick, standing at your shoulder whispering that you can’t. You shouldn’t.

Sometimes fear looks or sounds like those people who have scoffed at the struggles of the a professional artist  – sound familiar?

There’s good news.

Just like the warrior in the story, you can choose how you approach fear. Sure, you can let it loom large, block your path, and knock you down, or you can acknowledge and respect that fear is simply a companion along the way and bring it down to size.

It takes courage to reach out to total strangers and ask them to join you in your journey. Gallerists and patrons can be vital components to your plan, but knowing where to begin is thoroughly daunting. Find the support you need.

Meet with friends, ask for help, read books, we all need to support each other, it’s our natural state I believe.

It’s surprising what happens when you ask a friend for support and help.

Choose not to listen to what fear tells you. You can also arm yourself against its whispered discouragement. Praxis Center offers all the necessary weapons to confront fear and move forward.

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