From Paralysis to Stillness

From Paralysis to Stillness

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In my life, I experienced two states of non-doing. From the outside, they might appear the same but on the inside, they are very different.

Growing up, I was described as ‘lazy’. Every report card ever written about me had the phrase: “has the potential, but needs to try harder”.

In the Western context, I think laziness is often very misunderstood. Having learnt more about who I am, I can honestly say that much of it, for me, was about fear. Lots of fear – fear of failure, fear of being who I was, fear of retribution, fear of standing out from the crowd, fear of success, fear of intimacy – and it goes on.

My non-doing or ‘laziness’ was a symptom of my inability to face, walk through, and process fear.

In the past two decades, I have become a student of fear. More and more, I have learnt  to let it go, and consequently those perceptions of me as ‘lazy’ have shifted. If a report card was written now, it would be interesting to see what would be written on it.

The ‘Western malaise’, as I call it, is something much deeper. The explosion of lethargy, apathy, depressive symptoms, numbing, disengagement – have their roots in a collective paralysis from fear. The information age has brought an explosion of individual and collective possibility – but, at the same time, an explosion of individual and collective doubt.

If you look at tribal cultures, there is an awful lot of non-doing – but it doesn’t seem to come from the same place as the Western version. Tribal cultures do what they need to thrive and survive. They are able to live with death, disease, insecurity and lack of material possessions in a much more grounded way than we can. There is a stillness and connectedness that just isn’t seen in modern western life, and they are able to ‘not do’ when there isn’t anything to do. And, since doing something or not can be a matter of life and death, for them, walking through fear is a daily practice.

The journey – from fear of being you to being comfortable with who you are – is an interesting one. So much of what I do is about getting people to take the journey from paralysis to stillness. Our bold goals and big visions are not about the destinations – they are about giving people enough reason to start a journey of discovery. They are about starting the process of moving from the inertia of fear paralysis, to taking small steps towards learning how to walk through fear.

When we become resilient to fear, we become peaceful within ourselves. We can take the steps we need to take, when we need to take them. We can also become still enough to enjoy just how wonderful every moment of life can be.

In our stillness, we understand that there are enough incredible people in the world to ensure that everything will turn out much better than we can imagine, or do, by ourselves. All we really need to do is help them feel safe enough start taking steps.

To the journey.


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  1. A great piece. Long time no chat, hope all is well.

  2. CuriousBob says

    In your ‘thank yous’ link there is no mention of your headline life sponsor. Why?

    • Probably because that the page was written before I had one. You will notice that two of my children are missing as well which will give you an indication of how many years old that page is. Thanks for letting me know about it. I will update it in due course.

  3. Sarah Moore says

    Thanks for sharing this personal journey of discovery Marc, I think many of your readers will relate to this and I hope it provides a source of inspiration to walk through the fear of daily life and achieve the unimaginable. You’ve inspired me!!

  4. Thank you for finding the courage to share yourself so openly. You, I, we are not alone.

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