CLIMBING THE LADDER OF FEAR

Stop sign“I’m not good enough,” my friend says. Ah, the universal lament of artists who are trying to market themselves or their wares. That thought is a perfect block. It stops one every time like a lit up stop sign on the road to fulfillment. The light is red, and the words on the stop sign are written in bold caps. I AM NOT GOOD ENOUGH. And though it’s a false sign placed on a road where there are no cross streets, you dutifully brake and wait for the light to change. But it won’t ever change to green because it was put there by the devil. (In my theology the devil equals unfelt fear.)

“Okay,” I say to her. “Do you want to get present?” (She has done my Creative Explosion workshop and knows the drill.) Of course her immediate response is “No.” Right. Who wants to get present when the feelings may be difficult? No one.

But, with a sigh, she finally agrees.

“So, what sensation are you experiencing in your body?”

“I’m exhausted. And my heart is pounding.”

“So, sink into your exhaustion for a moment.”

She does. “My heart is really pounding.”

“Put your attention right in your heart. What does it feel like?”

“I’m getting the image of a huge waterslide.”

“Good. Can you go up to the water slide?”

“I’m on the ladder. I’m really scared. I’m alone. Oh, now, there are a lot of people around.” She sounds lighter. Amused. “Oh, one just gave me a little nudge to go!”

“What are you experiencing right now?”

“I’m going down the slide. It’s exciting. It’s fun! Oh! I forgot that fear and excitement are in the same place in the body!”

“Right. Fear says, ‘I can’t.’ Excitement says, ‘I can.’ But we have to be willing to get out of avoidance and feel the fear before that can happen, right?”

“Right! Okay. I know what I’m going to do to market my book today!”

“Go for it. You have written a wonderful book.”

So simple, and so powerful is this process to get one moving. Here’s the pattern:

  1. Avoiding feeling by believing negative thoughts.
  2. Experiencing the fear in your body separate from those thoughts.
  3. Getting clear about what action to take.
  4. Taking action..

But, sometimes we need a little nudge.

There is still time to enroll in the May Creative Explosion workshop.

CHOOSE LOVE NOT FEAR

Life really may be that simple.  LoveLiving seems so complicated, but maybe it’s not.

Yes, we have problems to solve.  We have boogie men thoughts that wake us up in the middle of the night and scare us.  We have doubts.  We have insecurities.

We have things to take care of.  Some people have a lot of things.  We all have to take care of our things and whatever box we live in and whatever box we drive.  Sometimes we box ourselves in with these things.  We fear getting out of our boxed-in boxes: relationships, jobs, and life styles.

Fear is practically our default mode.  It’s easy to choose fear.  We can find so many ways to scare ourselves.

But what if you decided to choose love, not fear?  This is such an ancient idea.  It has been said in every language and in every human religion and understanding of enlightenment since the beginning of human wisdom.  So simple.

Start with yourself.  What if you decided to love yourself?  What if you loved yourself as Love?  What if you walked into your fear and embraced it with Love?

What if you said to yourself, “I choose love, not fear.”

Try it now.  Say it as if you mean it and see what happens.

A FRAUD OR AFRAID

I woke up and started crying.  I was scared.

Of what?  You ask.

Of being inadequate.  Of not being up to the task at hand.  Of being a fraud.

I have committed to leading a Creative Explosion Workshop on April 6 & 7.  The purpose of it is to create the energy to start what you haven’t started and to blast through the block that is in the way of going where you want to go.  As awkward as that sounds, it’s what the workshop does for people.  It’s a powerful commitment.

I started doing the workshop in 1988 and continued doing them until 2007 when I stopped.  Oh, I could say that I needed a break.  I did.  Or that I was taking a sabbatical or even that I was retiring, but that wasn’t the reason.  I stopped because I had lost my faith in myself—triggered by a very hurtful incident.

One of my best friends, who had taken my classes for years, repeated the workshop many times, and had moved through her fear to create a career singing and performing, cut off communication with me.  I was never clear what had upset her so much that she had to shut me out completely and not answer emails or calls.  I still haven’t heard from her.  Of course, I speculated, but that was fruitless and led nowhere.

I thought I was okay about it—that it was her problem, at least I told myself I was, but I wasn’t.  Instead of feeling my hurt and my anger and fear around abandonment, I thought, “If this work could so damage my relationship with a friend of 28 years, one who chose me to be her maid of honor in her wedding, then there must be something wrong with the work.  There must be something wrong with me.”  So, I “retired” from all teaching and doing workshops.

It didn’t matter how many people had told me what a positive and profound effect the Creative Explosion had had on their lives—that some had even changed their names as a result.  Instead, I used that “failure” if that is what it was, to stop doing the work.

It has taken me years to get over it.  It’s laughable in a way, I, who guide people into and through their fear, hid from my own and used her to stop doing the work that the Big Whatever had given me to do.

But, I have used those five ensuing years to grow and learn—being with my dying sister one winter, taking a three month solo journey around the US in a camper van, writing a book about it have all strengthened me.  Perhaps I needed those five years to go deeper into myself.  Perhaps this woman was just the “Pain Angel” I needed to push me to new level of self compassion.

So now, I’m stepping back up to the plate, so to speak.  It’s been five years.  I’m afraid.  I think I’m not good enough, but I’m going to do it anyway.  Mother Theresa spoke of being the pencil that God used to write with.  I like that.  My pencil may be old, stubby, and has some teeth marks chewed into it.  But the Big Whatever rescued me before the Hound of Hell ate it up completely.   Here I go.

Is there something you’re not doing or stopped doing because you think you’re not good enough?  Do you think you’re a fraud or are you just afraid?