Sunday, February 7, 2010


I had no idea how much fear I hold before starting this blog.  It has taken clear expression through words divided up into subjects for me to see it.  I noticed, when I looked over at my list of labels, that I had written five whole posts about overcoming fear.  I have hard evidence.  Its a reoccurring theme with me.

I've always thought of myself as a brave person.   There's my mother's story of the way I exuberantly jumped into the pool on my very first swimming lesson at the age of two while the other toddlers looked on warily.  I stood up to bullies in elementary school.  I managed to keep a level head while being robbed.  I enjoy camping alone in the woods.   Look how I'm listing these off like badges on a girl scout uniform. 

And yet here it is again, this feeling of fear weighing on me.   When I close my eyes and try to imagine what the fear is I see a shadow.   I want to know what it is.  I want to  understand what makes me feel afraid.  Is it fear of judgment?  Failure?  Success?  Maybe its all of these things.  The fear whispers to me to stay safe, keep my head down, don't make waves.  It tends to start whispering the loudest when I'm about to challenge myself to do something I've always wanted, when I'm about to step out of my comfort zone. 

Today I watched a video of a friend taking her first sky diving trip.  She was so honest about how she was feeling.  She didn't put up a front.  When the videographer asked if she was scared she said 'I'm terrified.  I hope I don't die.'  Watching her in the air, completely exhilarated, and still allowing herself to be scared too, made me cry.  She looked so beautiful and strong.

When I look at my fear directly, like shining a bright light, it diminishes.  'Oh, I'm just afraid.  Its just fear.'  Its like a parent switching on the light after a child cries out in a darkened room.  'It was just a shadow, see?  Nothing to be afraid of.'

Maybe fear isn't something that I need to overcome at all.  Maybe it is, instead, something that I simply need to accept.


wholly jeanne said...

i do so appreciate your honest questioning about fear. maybe one day i need to sit down and untangle my feelings about fear. my manchild is a skydiver, and when he first started, i agreed to do a jump with him, but now? i'm not so quick to say yes. i think writing and acting is enough of a workout for my fear muscle.

ACey said...

I can't adequately express how much I relate to this post.

Sandi Longhurst said...

It takes a lot of courage to post your fear to the internet - especially 5 times! Are you familiar with the Enneagram? - possibly Sufi roots, Gurdjieff did some work with the system. Some counterfobic 6 reading may be enlightening (I recommend Riso-Hudson work, there's a lot of garbage to sort through otherwise). The wisdom embedded in fear is courage. I have a couple of books I could bring to retreat for you if you'd like.

Julie said...

This is such an open, honest post about something we all face. I love how you hold both places...the places where you are courageous, and those where the fear shows up. I especially loved the part about watching your friend and finding tears. That feels like recognition of something you see in yourself...that same beauty and strength. Lovely.

Kate T.W. said...

I'm certainly open to it, Sandi. I would say that I'm somewhat familiar with the Enneagram, but not very. I have no idea what counterfobic 6 means but it sounds very intriguing.

Thank you Julie. Your post on the vulnerability of flowers is so deeply inspiring to me on this subject, especially being a woman who works with and contemplates flowers daily.

Wholly jeanne, I don't think I'm going to be skydiving myself any time soon. I'm with you.

Acey, as it turns out, I've been lusting after your flower essences for years... this is the year.