We all experience it sometimes. That feeling that things could go terribly wrong if you do a particular thing, make a particular decision, or even leave the house. It usually starts with an unsettling in the belly, then you scrunch your face in some way before finding any reason, many reasons to say no, or not to do it, or not to go. And deep down you know that you are deluding yourself, but our ability to justify our fear surpasses that feeling.
Now that I’ve had some time to process things, I’ve noticed that I’m becoming more conscious of how I feel and behave when I’m experiencing fear. As a result, like Liz Gilbert, I acknowledge the fear, apply my twenty seconds of courage, and start. I still talk the fear out of me because fear is strong and stubborn, and just because I start something doesn’t mean fear sits back and acquiesces.
It’s hard. Life is hard. We have all been hurt. We’ve been battered and bruised. We all know how hard it is and how long it can take to recover from defeat. We all know the shame that we have felt when we have failed at something, or embarrassed ourselves in front of others, and the guilt if we haven’t quite measured up to the expectations others gave for us.
All of these things create a soul memory that comes to the fore when we feel challenged, or unworthy, undeserving, and basically, just not good enough. We create a narrative and dialogue that then justifies this sensory fear of the unknown.
I think I have lived a lot of my life in fear. I think that fear has stopped me from doing a lot of things. But I have also experienced many times when I have been able to override that fear with courage.
And I have never been disappointed when this has happened.
Two days ago, terrified, I climbed over some rocks and snorkelled. I loved the experience. But it wasn’t immediate. When I first put the mask on, fit the mouth piece into my mouth, and put my head under the water, I could fear my breathing which scared me. This caused me to tighten my chest and foolishly embrace the fear. I brought myself up and asked Mel if it was normal to hear your breathing. Of course it is. So, when I went back under the water, and I felt the fear, I told myself to trust and to relax, and my breathing settled. From there I was able to allow myself to dive under.
And that wasn’t the only fear. I then feared that I looked like an idiot and that I wasn’t using my legs properly.
And then I told myself that it really didn’t matter. Who cares what You look like when you are living such a blessed life? Like, really Tina, pull your head in.
It was only then that I could focus on the beauty and the freedom of being underwater for extended periods of time, of seeing the fish and ocean life functioning and living in their natural state, of feeling the cool water rush against and embrace it as the body glides through. A feeling of divine liberation, of connection at every level: the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual.
And yesterday I snorkelled again. No fear. Not even for a second. The body and mind knew and understood and remembered the delights that awaited it. And, I could then see the translucent stingers before they stung, and I could leave that section of water.
My ‘shyness’ I think was a fear of judgement, of not being good enough, of not being normal. Now that I’ve let go of that label, I seem to have let go of the fear, for the most part, and am more open to meeting new people. Realistically, if they judge me but I like me, what does their judgement matter.
And if I fail whilst I’m living, what does that matter. At least I was living and not just existing safely, and at least I tried.
Yep. Fear limits and restricts us. It stops us from being wholly authentic and wholly alive. There will always be excuses to not do the things we truly feel that we are being called to do, don’t let those excuses stop you. Find a way to live your truth. Find a way to be your true blessed self. Don’t rob the world of the opportunity to know you as you truly are. Your gifts are necessary for the world to flourish.