This experiment is changing my life.

Posted by on Dec 26, 2012 in Blog, Uncategorized | 9 comments

December 25, 2012

This Experiment is changing my life.

December 18th marked the three month anniversary of the beginning of my ‘A Year to Live’ experiment.  When I realized this I was like, woah, are you kidding me?!  A quarter of my last year is done?  I felt a little panic.  But there’s so much do!  I am doing this right?  What have I forgotten?  What are the chances I’ll be able to do and feel all that I want to before it’s over?  What if I need more time!?

So, I take a few breaths and decide to look back at what I have done so far in my last year.

I continue to practice my life’s work of helping others share their stories and truth on stage.  I am dreaming up a new show and new workshops.

I’ve checked a few things off my bucket list, like staying in a survival shelter in the middle of the woods, taking my 7 year old nephew on an adventure, seeing Barbra Striesand and Leonard Cohen and jumping out of a plane.

My nephew on the adventure.

Free-falling at 120 miles per hour.

A few of these took some deep breathing to overcome the fear. But I knew I had to go deeper.

In my reading about this experiment I found it’s normal to begin all excited, writing down and then crossing things off your ‘bucket list’.

And it is fun, for sure.

But if you’re like me, you know your real fears are not about heights or building a shelter in the woods.  If you’re like me, your real fears live much closer to home than 12,500 feet off the ground or in some remote forest.  If you’re like me, your real fears are as close to you as your own breath.  And if you’re like me, your family and spouse may know what those fears are before you do. 

A few weeks ago I became determined to uncover and face every one of my fears, before the end of my year.  If anything stands between me and real freedom, it’s overcoming my fears.  I want to die with my heart as open as it can be.  All that stands in the way is fear. 


“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face…we must do that which we think we can not.”  – Eleanor Roosevelt

At first glance I thought this quote meant I should walk on hot coals, sky dive, do improv, write a book, etc.

It’s much deeper.  The real fears seem to be about our ego’s life being threatened not our body’s life.  For me this fear is about taking the leap of faith and letting myself trust.  This has proved the deepest and hardest part of the experiment, so far.  I am determined to overcome some of these inner fears that were planted there at childhood.  When I wrote ‘snug harbor’, my solo show about losing my Dad, I shared my theory: that in childhood we create guardians (defence mechanisms) to protect us from pain.  And they do protect us, they keep us safe and help us survive.  We need them and they serve a purpose, at that time.

Our guardian angel protected us.

But when we become adults, if these guardians have overstayed their usefulness they turn into gargoyles (defences that protect us not from real but imagined threats).  Instead of helping, they keep us from the thing we most want, LOVE.  These gargoyles convince us they’re doing it for our own protection.  This is what I am wrestling with and determined to banish from my humble kingdom in Cabbagetown.  I’ll let ya know how it goes.

These dudes are nasty.

“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes.  You are free.”  – Jim Morrison



The ultimate battlefield is within. In the Hero’s Journey, the decent into the ‘innermost cave’ is where our hero faces and confronts her inner demons and slays the dragon. This dragon guards our greatest treasure, the freedom to live and love.

As I enter my fourth month, here’s what I will be working on in the battlefield and playground of my last year.  It’s from the book, A Year to Live:

“Practice the dying meditation both in the group and individually.  Watch the fear of pain, the fear of non-being, the fear of judgment day.  Deepen the discussion about dying, death, and what might come afterward.  Wake each morning we if it were your last day on earth.”

‘Wake each morning as if it were your last day on earth’?!   Dude, think about it.   From waking up to breakfast, the course of the day, the evening, and going to bed for the last time.  What would you do?  And perhaps more importantly, who would you do it with?  And as Erica Harris said…

“I’m less interested in why we’re here.  I’m wholly devoted to while we’re here.”  ~Erika Harris

Thanks for listening.

Love,  Tracey



  1. Love this post. It spoke to me. “For me this fear is about taking the leap of faith and letting myself trust.” Thanks so much for sharing and for walking a parallel and at the best of times intersecting pathway.

  2. Thank YOU, Darlene! I have great respect for the work you do and who you are. Let us keep ‘intersecting’ for many more years to come. xox

  3. You’re a most amazing woman and I admire your year to live journey.
    Beautiful blog!

    • Dear Dawn,

      YOU’RE a most amazing woman! Thanks for writing…love having you on the journey with me.


  4. Thank you, Tracy, for inspiring! What a challenge!

    • Thank you, Franny! Stay posted…it’s only going to get better!

  5. Soooo good! Inspiring as always! Love that we get to follow you on this epic journey! XO

    • Thanks, Irma!
      It’s great to have you along for the ride. And you’re mentioned in the next blog!

  6. Hi Tracey, I just have to say beautifully written. And for me, a very recent,
    and similar understanding of fear and my old guardians… Got to love serendipity…thank you:)

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