Hanging Out With Fear

Lately I’ve been meeting my fears. Face-to-face. The triggers are many and seem to be everywhere. Like what I experienced just a few days ago. I wondered, “Will I have enough income this month to pay off my Visa bill?” From 0 – 30 seconds, I roared into a scenario where I was filing for bankruptcy and losing my home. Well-developed neural freeways delivered me almost instantly to the doors of catastrophe. Thankfully, that was not the end of the ride.

While I applaud my imagination for its ability to make up such powerful worst-case scenarios, I’m no longer willing to let fear rule my mental roost. I’m taking steps to interrupt neural patterns. This takes being courageous enough to stay with my fear, and follow the threads back to the original thought. I am learning how to stop my mind, telling myself, “I don’t believe in this worst case. I’m going to sit still and do nothing. All is well.” No rushing to respond to the fire alarm bells in my mind, telling me that everything will fall apart if I don’t do x, y and z, all in double-time. Even though I feel the adrenaline rushing in my body, I don’t have to take action.

As I sit in silence and observe, I can hold my frightened self with  compassion and tenderness. She’s the earlier version of me who had to respond quickly in the face of danger; and danger there was. I no longer live in that world, so I am gradually learning to recognize, accept as part of my past, these habitual responses, and change them.

I do have resources to rein in my mind’s ability to create all manner of stories. I know enough to remind myself that impending bankruptcy is just one possible outcome. Nothing changed in my life between one breath and the next, only my mental state. Other stories are equally possible; stories with a more positive ending, like earning enough money to not only pay bills, but to live a comfortable and fulfilling life.

In some ways, I feel as if I’m taking steps into unfamiliar terrain. This land of “do nothing” instead of rushing around to put out the brush fires is a whole new country.

Yet this land of remembering that good things can happen just as often--in fact, more often than--disasters is jaw-dropping in its beauty.

What does this mean for my  writing? I’m taking more risks; writing poetry for the first time in many years. I’m sharing my fresh writing more frequently, not so concerned about my imperfect words. I choose where to put my focus, believing that my writing has power and beauty, even in its earliest stages. I trust my intuition, following creative impulses with less censoring. And I’m having way more fun, since formerly fearful energy is freed up for playful exploration.

As a retreat leader and coach, I use writing as the vehicle for you to discover your own pathway to creative freedom -- to acknowledge and befriend fear, to create new ways of thinking, being and expressing. Why not consider attending one of my events, or writing with me as your guide? For more information, check out the following links:

Contact Marie to discuss your next best steps.

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