Life After Shyness

Many people who were once ruled by their shyness, learn how to ask for what they want, handle social situations, handle rejection, and accept themselves — then wonder “What´s next?” and question  “I am no longer controlled by my shyness, why am I not now completely happy?” Learning to understand and deal with shyness is one step along a path leading to fulfillment.

It has been my experience that people who are working on their shyness are also deep seekers of the meaning of life and want to know how life works.  “Why I am here?” “Why am I shy?” “Why do I not seem to attract what I want?” “How do I get what I want and need?”  “Is there more to life than appears on the surface?”   they wonder.

If you are at a point where shyness does not rule your life (it is fine to still be shy/sensitive as long as you are also in touch with other parts of yourself), you are ready for the next step. If you have not yet reached this point, it is fine to explore the following if you are so drawn but keep in mind that your first priority must be in learning to “put your self out there” by taking some risks as this will give you the foundation for trusting that you can understand how the subtle aspects of life really work to assist you in fulfilling your life purpose. You absolutely need the ability to take action in life in order to create fulfillment and happiness so follow the self-help ideas on the Shy and Free site and seek help in the form of therapy and coaching when you get stuck.

Life After Shyness is similar to the Zen koan:

Before enlightenment, Chop wood, carry water
After enlightenment, Chop wood, carry water

meaning that your inner experience will be completely different following enlightenment as you go about your normal activities, feelings, and experiences. Externally, things appear the same but internally your experience is very different, which will in turn result in different external experiences.  Life After Shyness for many people will not mean a life without shyness, it will mean a new appreciation and sense of awe at all of life. “Ahh, this is me being shy” and “Ohhh, so this is me putting myself out there” and “Ahhh, so this is rejection” and “Ahaaaha, this is being confident.”

Perhaps you now see that focusing on getting rid of shyness is similar to focusing on enlightenment which as all the spiritual teachers tell us, is a sure way not to achieve it. Instead, focus on the moment and be Shy and Free which will lead to incredible moments of transcendence.

Many people make it very far along their journey, but give up because shyness returns. It is not the shyness which matters, but how you perceive, judge, and accept the shyness that determines how it will affect your life.

The Slide

In my usual state of anxiety, I scan the newspaper . . . Damn!  Why am I in this situation again?

Sausalito, rustic house, panoramic views,$1200, comes with 3 cats. 381-8563.

The house is two stories below the level of the street so that all I initially see is the tired crooked roof line.  Wooden stairs descend in a maze, first down, then twisting and turning. Midway down, an old tree outreaches its huge arms as if to block the path.  There is no way off the stairs once the journey has begun . . . either descend forward toward the house past the tree who knows “she died suddenly” or backwards, up the wooden maze to the street.

I’m not sure I am ready to take this journey so I continue to just observe.

To the right of the stairs and past the mailbox post showing the number 103 is a wooden “slide”.  Curiously handcrafted, it descends ninety degrees straight down the two-story drop.  A rope follows it down through the “garden” (which appears to be simply overgrown weeds) and holds a wooden bucket near the ground. I’m drawn by the slide’s steepness which promises speed . . . no time to think . . . and unlike the stairs, offers no possibility of turning back.

My eyes follow the slide from top to bottom, my mind follows my eyes, and my body follows my mind.

I should be scared but it is too late. I should be in pain but I am overwhelmed.  I can’t feel my crumpled body as I gently open my eyes.  Blades of grass are waving in the wind, beautiful arcs of green flowing in the warm light of day. A bumblebee, perfectly yellow and fuzzy causes my anxiety to return for a moment. The bee buzzes close and rests at my feet. It dies . . . no movement . . . no sound . . . only the fresh breeze gently rolling over its folded wings.

What is the message? Death is natural, beautiful? I don’t understand until the bee comes to life and flies away free . . . and I understand that I, like the bee, have simply been sleeping . . . gathering just enough energy and understanding to permit my own freedom.

A sense of calm overtakes and caresses me until I feel intense compassion for myself and others. I have a sense of knowing that there are no mistakes and that every moment is a chance to demonstrate the truth that I have found in my heart. I now know that beauty, peace, understanding, compassion, power, and knowledge have always been there calling to be discovered. For the first time I truly “feel” and it is the feeling that contains the power which can never be understood with the mind.

I laugh as tears stream down my face because it is all so simple, so basic, that the only way not to see the truth is to block it.

I blocked the truth all these years but it knowingly spoke to me through my insecurity . . . which I had recognized as being truly “me” . . . but this was not me at all, simply messages sent from myself to keep me searching, longing . . . to hold my attention until I was ready to uncover the truth. I can not believe this feeling!  Power, love, understanding, knowledge are just words . . . this is so much more . . .

I am sorry that your daughter suddenly died . . . I am sure she is in a wonderful place . . . I am sorry that her cats need care . . . I know they will be watched over with the peace, love, and understanding that is in all of our hearts.

Thank you for placing the beautiful newspaper advertisement.

by Kevin Rhea

May 23, 1993