I once went to an Ayurvedic doctor. It was after I got back from a long bought of traveling, and was back in Los Angeles. I was feeling aimless, only slightly employed, and guilty for traveling when I was so low on cash.
"You have a lot of fear in you," she told me gently, and upon hearing this I burst into tears. Mostly because she knew I was right.
Fear comes up a lot for me. That's not to say I don't find ways to tackle it—I've dealt with it, rolled it around for a few minutes, and wondered if it was a worthy thought. Eventually I'll then use it to make a decision. The trouble comes in when I let fear do the decision making.
An old therapist once told me, "Fear can ride in the car, but it doesn't drive. It doesn't sit in the passenger seat, it doesn't get to decide what plays on the radio, it doesn't get to hold the map." I took this to mean that, "yes, we can hear fear, but it doesn't get to call the shots."
I let fear in so often when it comes to both my yoga and my writing. "That class is too hard for me, this story sucks, I shouldn't submit my play because it won't win, I don't want to practice with people who are that advanced." And what am I afraid of? Falling down, looking silly, rejection? All of those things only seem scary because of the stereotype I've attached to them. Falling down isn't bad—it can actually be quite fun. I'm sure those who have fallen in love would agree.
And it's through those moments of pushing through fear—writing that poem, taking a 90-minute 2/3 class, submitting to that fellowship—where the growth happens. We rise in our fear. We eat the obstacles and use them as nourishment so that we can learn and create.
I urge you to pick one thing that scares you and ask yourself "why?" If it's, "touch the stove," than no, don't be a dumdum and touch the stove. That is a RATIONAL FEAR. But if it's something like... trying AcroYoga or cook for your boyfriend or write a novel, then do it. Make it part of your routine. Will it be perfect? NO. There is also the chance that it will be very-much-so less than perfect! And that's okay. Unless you are talking about parking brakes, failure is not a bad word.
my crow song
sometimes (or when it's stormy),
the ocean fills my body,
and the waves slam us awake.
with merfolk crooning
and whispering their lies,
i eat what I can,
and spill the rest.
thank you for
the release of salt.
what are you afraid of?
Art courtesy of Kathrin Honesta