When was the last time you held yourself back?

In any shape or form.

Maybe you didn’t voice something important. Or you thought you couldn’t do something. Or you didn’t pursue a particular opportunity.

What did you lose? And how conscious was it?

Did it happen automatically without you noticing, or did you have an internal dialogue about whether to do it or not?

It can be so easy for habitual patterns of thoughts and behaviours to shape our life. Sometimes they serve us. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes we aren’t even aware that other possibilities are out there for us to discover.

I recently had a profound experience of challenging this that continues to have an impact in my life.

Perhaps a bizarre setting, but it was on a pedalo in the middle of a beautiful green lake in France. All I had to do was jump into the water (which I later found out was 70m deep). But things like this scare me. My reaction is one of fear, not pleasure. Something in my body-mind freezes and stops me from doing it.

But I wanted to overcome this feeling. In trying to challenge it, my mind was bouncing between “This scares me, why am I doing it?, what’s in the water?” and “I want to let go, just jump and don’t think.” Though this wasn’t the time to have an in-depth conversation with the different parts of myself – I had to decide there and then if I was in or out.

I wanted to do it! I short-circuited the inner dialogue and launched myself in without knowing what was happening. What a rush!

Aside from the adrenalin rush, this seemingly insignificant event had a big impact on me. It was about me facing a fear and seeing what happens when I do something differently. It was about challenging old thoughts and inviting in something new. It was about unfreezing what was blocked. And on a much deeper level, it was about whether I was in or out of my life in that moment – energetically speaking.

I must mention, too, that doing this with friends who were already in the water made a big difference. I learnt from them and they made me feel safe. I would love to say more on this, but the power of connection and community is another (very important) story.

Jumping into that lake shook up my energetic system. It created new pathways in my body-mind. It offered me a new way of being.

Since then, when I find myself taking too long figuring out whether to do something, I recall the felt experience of jumping in and use it to challenge myself. Am I in or out? What will I discover? It reminds me in that moment to take part in life and to find out what happens. That’s not to say I’ll be in every time, but I’ve definitely been in a lot more since.

So the next time you find yourself teetering on the edge of a situation – however big or small – will you jump in? See what happens!