Be Still – Get Going

ATT00055Hello fear, my old friend, I see you’re back for a visit. Welcome! Do you have a teaching for me today?

Handling fear, the big kind, the kind that is the main obstacle between us, the realization of ourselves and of our fullest potential, is the lifelong biggie.

As my exemplar, I’ve chosen Exodus 14:13-15.

Please relax!!!For those of you, dear readers, who are not into God, That’s totally cool, and not what this post is about.. really!

I’ve chosen this because:

1) Firstly and mostly: I’m doing quite a lot of research lately for a workshop I’m creating called “Journey of Heroes”, a daylong voyage into the vast universe of our hearts to discover, then honestly scrutinize what’s standing in our way of living in authenticity, in synchronicity with our intentions and our deepest values – and thus “becoming who we are.” As part of that, I recently found this great book titled “Be Still and Get Going” – written by the late San Francisco Rabbi, Zen practitioner and meditation teacher, Alan Lew. The teachings at the heart of this blog post are his, not mine. I’m (I hope) making them a wee bit more accessible for you, and passing them along to you. And,

2) Because the Passover season is upon us, and it seems timely to choose this subject right now. And

3) Because these verses from Exodus really do offer excellent advice for us, for those situations in which fear has taken over, and we don’t know what to do.

So, to set the stage:

Act one, scene one: the burning bush. God informs Moses that he has a mission in mind for him, but unlike Jim Phelps in the newer version of Mission Impossible, poor Moses does not hear the words: “your mission, should you decide to accept it;” nor does he hear: “this tape “ will self destruct in 5 seconds”. Actually we’re still playing this tape, aren’t we? How many years is it now?

Of course he tries to get out of it. Actually, he tries five times. Any of these sound familiar?

1) “I’m not a fit vessel.” …Translation: I don’t believe in myself.
2) “I don’t know your name.” …Translation: How can I claim to be acting for you – to prove that I have your mandate?”
3) “They’ll ask: who is this God of yours?” …Translation: Even if I do believe in myself they won’t believe me. They’ll think I’m an idiot.
4) “I have a clumsy mouth and heavy tongue.” (Lisp). …Translation: I’m a terrible public speaker. Afraid… who isn’t?.
5) “Liberate these people by someone else’s hand.” …Translation: Send someone else. Send anyone else. Just don’t send me.

“Even Heroes have the right to bleed. Even heroes have the right to dream.” The attached song, sung by Superman, (or could it be Moses?) is really on point. If you are reading this post in your email, and want to hear it, it’s easy. Clicking on the title of this post, just above the photo, will bring you to the actual blog itself. Then click on the Audio PlayerURL. It’s right here.

Anyway, after none of this works, and Moses has convinced us to follow him into the pleasant Sinai desert, (exactly how did he do that?), here we all are. Just behind us, and gaining fast is the Egyptian army, chasing us down with those world famous chariots; and in front we’re looking at the sea – no boats of course, just the sea. Now, just as I would be, if some weirdo had persuaded me that he spoke to God and I needed to leave San Francisco ASAP and follow him into the desert, they are totally freaking out. On top of which, our total food supply consists of some crackers. What was I thinking???

Now we’re whining big time, and I quote: “Isn’t it better for us to serve the Egyptians than die in the wilderness?”

We are stuck. We don’t know what to do. We are in paralysis mode.

Now for the relevant excerpt from Exodus, condensed a bit by me. I’ve added the numbers and bolded the salient points, so I can reference the five stages for handling the fear:

“But Moses said to the people (1) Have no fear; (2) Collect yourselves; and (3) see. The lord will do battle for you. (4) Be Still. Then the lord said to Moses ‘why do you cry out for me? (5) Tell the Israelites to go forward.’”

The “fear handling” process clarified:

1) Don’t be afraid: – it’s not, don’t feel afraid; it’s, don’t panic. Don’t act on your fear.
2) Collect yourselves: – pull yourself together. Your mind is scattered. BTW, if no-one is actually chasing you with chariots this would be an excellent time to
meditate so that you can:
3) See the situation as it actually is, instead of all these stories, which you are making up. Then:
4) Be Still: Out of this stillness, and in seeing things as they actually are, even though you are not yet decided what to do, you have given the appropriate action
the opportunity to manifest itself to you.
5) Go Forward: Act…it’s time.

Practice tip: Practice Tip Push PinAre you kidding? Do you think I’m dumb (and arrogant) enough to think that I can improve on Moses? Let alone God? No way! The tips are right above. They work.

But, I do have a sweet story (don’t I always?):

Zusya, a teacher and Rabbi known far and wide for his wisdom and human heartedness was dying…and weeping too. “Why are you crying Rabbi?” asked his disciples. “Because, very soon now I’m going to face my day of judgment”.
“But Rabbi, You couldn’t have been more like Moses himself!!”
“Yes, I know, but that’s exactly the problem. They’re not going to ask me why I wasn’t more like Moses. They’re going to ask me why I wasn’t, more like Zusya.”

Be kind to, (and be) yourself,



About Michael Scott

Michael Scott is a life coach, author and teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area. After spending 35 years in business - coaching found him - and he's never looked back. Michael uses his coaching training and experience, in the service of his clients, as their constant and loving guide towards joyous, fulfilling lives which are genuinely their own. He lives with his dear wife in Sausalito, CA.

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