I only seem to have one thing on my mind these past few months, causing me to be a very boring blogger, conversationalist, and possibly a terrible listener, as well. It was bound to leak out here at some point. Brace yourself. This ride may be bumpy, and with plentiful cursing.
Each time I write about fear, people come bounding up out between the floorboards like brownies who've been kept prisoner by an evil, brownie-eating witch. Fear is the cause of every single thing we aren't doing or saying, but would like to be. It is the reason we judge ourselves and others harshly.
It is the obstacle we cannot flow around.
I know! Am I still prattling on about this after five plus years here? ...As long as it keeps coming up for me and those around me, I can't stop. It creeps out in each discussion I have because it's like...the silent killer. Worse than cancer. Fear lurks around every psychic corner.
When it comes up in the context of social rules or religion lately, it's really getting me feverish within seconds. Zero to sixty, man. For example, a friend told me about a tattoo of a Psalm that he wanted to have inked on his forearm last week. I'll keep the actual words private, but it had the word "fearfully" in it, (you may know this one), and I almost hit the roof. I got so inflamed and indignant at the idea that God must be feared, and that humans naturally oblige to fear because they "sin" (his words), that I just about flipped out of my fucking skin right there at the patio table! The notion that fear is something that is an intrinsic and (heave) necessary part of us, makes me feel extremely rebellious. There was eye rolling. There was heavy sighing. There was, just for a moment, a precious friendship on the line.
Clearly, this is a hot button for me.
And so here I am, feeling my own fears and listening to those of others. Here are some ways that fear is showing up for me and for you:
Fear of doing it wrong
Fear of doing it right
Fear of losing oneself
Fear of the past
Fear of the future
Fear of not enough
Fear of not leaving one's mark or message
Fear of looking at oneself
Fear of What If
Fear of being honest with others
Fear of one's own truth
Fear of screwing up one's children
Fear of turning out to be just like one's parent(s)
Fear of the earth being destroyed
Fear of inhumanity
Fear of predators
Fear of getting hurt
Fear of hurting someone
Fear of making the same mistake twice
Fear of dark water in which scary things feed at night
Fear of one's airplane crashing
Fear of being too big for one's britches
Fear of not living life to the fullest
Fear of not honoring one's soul purpose
Fear of being perceived a fake
Fear of dying
Fear of being alone
Just to name a few.
When I write or talk about how fear stops us from living and loving in this moment, it makes my hands and arms shake, my belly ache and my soul cry out. I know that this parasite is just asking for me to kick it in the face. It's a battle I will not surrender. One which feels like an eternal game of Whack-A-Mole.
I have had the distinct pleasure of witnessing babies exploring his and her amazing new world, and I'm here to report that in my experience, fear is not inborn. Fear is created when we are constantly told to, "Be Careful". When we are trained to listen to someone else instead of our own intuitive guidance. Fear is born when we learn by being told, instead of by the natural consequences of our actions. There is no shame in stumbling and falling down when learning to walk until someone puts that idea into our minds. That we are not walking fast enough, or steadily enough, or keeping up with the others in our category. Not measuring up to the expected percentile.
And then, the thinking. The thinking. The thoughts that plague us into the night-the ones which entire shelves of anxiety remedies are created to quell. The thinking, that, when turned completely upside down, cannot remain, and must be seen from the other side-the courageous side that got buried when we secretly agreed to think such terrible things, but now floats on top like a mysterious and sensual oil.
This is not the last I will say about fear. As each of us sheds another skin this changing of the seasons and is reborn silky and ready to fly valiantly again, my mind drifts to what frightful boulders may roll across our paths.
I imagine traversing the circular road again, this time pounding harder to break down the sidewalls of the box, climbing the walls of the triangle, leaving the "circle", in order to be my own unique shape and size without criticism or shame. I imagine that love can be given and received without expectation or conditions, without guarantees, and that free is something each mind is entitled to be and feel. That trust can prevail without the tight concrete fences of outmoded conventional restrictions bearing down on it. That the cage we don't see dropping upon us when we become wives, mothers, husbands, fathers, students, employees, -will lift up of our own strong wills. And THEN, fear...well,