Actually, FEAR has never been far from my side for these past two years. I said in the old post that it was one of my daily companions and it always will be. I just have to manage the impact it has on my life and decisions.
For instance, I have a stressful job. I know, many of us do but it does weigh on me, being the person ultimately responsible for a good deal of sh8t and people. I never really wanted it - SEE UNDERACHIEVER POST and the weight of it is one of the things that you can't really explain. You just have to jump into it knowing that it shouldn't be this way (I mean, I'm not a damn brain surgeon after all, I'd expect THAT to be stressful) but due to the way of our current world, politics, funding, etc. it simply is. I think stress is a result of fear and the weight of whatever responsibilities we have in our lives, so it makes sense to me that I wake up at 3:00AM, my little brain tick, tick, ticking and once she starts, there is no stopping her.
So, back to fear. I talked a lot in my first post about how my mind works into and through fear, how irrational my fears sometimes are, etc. But, this is LIBERATION BLOG so one of the points of it is to put that which we want to be liberated from on paper (figuratively - or you could do so literally if that gives you more of a sense of control) and move toward removing its control from your life as much as possible.
For instance, certain things about my initial move to my place, why I picked it, why I made certain decisions about what I was going to do to it were very much a result of two things. 1. Fear (of course). 2. Subconsciously knowing that I would not be here for good. Now, the fear part was of course quite predictable. I acknowledge that I'm a fearful person, so I made a choice that I felt held less opportunity for things that I'm afraid of to happen. I picked a very simple house with a small yard that I felt I could manage. It was close to the barn and my work. There were people paid to take care of the big hill that I live on in the winter. The neighbors were a little closer than I would have liked but I have lots of trees to shelter that...even as I go through these things in my head I now know that I was bargaining with my fear. Fear of taking on too much and failing, fear of overextending my skill set, FEAR OF - ding, ding, ding!!!! this is key ~ FEAR OF PURSUING MY REAL DREAMS IN LIFE. Because living in a sub-division with an HOA is not my dream and never has been. I'm not judging it, it just isn't for me, anymore than living in town on a city street (which were my two other options when I was looking, hence my choice of places).
So, here is where the subconscious thing comes in. Almost immediately I made a list of things that needed done. I thought I was making it because I wanted to make my home my own, and to a certain extent, I did. But, once I got to a certain point, I stopped. I just stopped. It wasn't because I ran out of steam or money, I just was unable to bring myself to feel like doing anymore. In analyzing it, I did everything that needed done to make the place more sellable. And then, my soul said - I'm done now. And as soon as she said that, a series of events happened (I got the news about the utility board building the reservoir where we trail ride, things started to be let go at the barn to the point where I am questioning safety, I got the opportunity to attend the Farm Sanctuary conference) and my soul started to dream.
She started to dream because she decided to rejoin my life, despite having ignored her for so many years. She started to dream because she is MY soul after all and she has always been a dreamer. She also started to dream because it was time. More than anything, I believe it was just time.
Time is the factor in fear that I had not yet considered. Actually, I had never considered it as having any impact on fear at all. While fear must be dealt with by taking small steps, owning it, possibly easing one’s way into the thing we fear and even sometimes gritting our teeth and just getting something done despite fear, TIME is sometimes the component that is needed to tip the scale into the favor of the future fearless.
I’m talking time in the sense of there is a time for everything and now is not the time sort of way. As we grow and change (and hopefully we all do so continually), time is the factor that is always in the background.
Timing is the unspoken key to many of life’s successes (and failures) and timing is relevant to fear in a way that I have never given credit to until now.
So, Fear, it is time. It is time to move on in spite of you. I know this worries you, I mean, you ARE worry. You are worry and denial. You are bargaining and doubt. You are no comfort and you are the face of cowardice. You are the reason that I am going through the motions of the means with no clear end in sight. You are the rank breath that blows out the candle of my dreams and the cold, sticky hand that holds me right where I am. Right where you want me to believe I belong.
I don’t belong here. I don’t belong in a life that passes me by while I stare out the windows that you have shut. I don’t belong with you, sniveling and hiding from the heartbeat of this earth. I’m tired of the dungeon of everyday mass normalcy and the obligation of settling.
I don’t belong here. I won’t be back.
After I posted about Doubt the other day, it occurred to me that I had written a post some time ago related to Fear. I want to revisit it in Liberation because it really is relevant to the whole picture:
I wanted to write a post about fear and I wasn't even sure where to put it. I may end up posting it to several blogs. Why? Because it permeates many portions of my life.
People have no idea how full of fear I am. Well, LOL, I guess you people do because I'm about to tell you all about it. But, in "real" life I have mastered the ability to hide the fact that no matter what is going on I am pretty much pissing my pants inside. I've mastered this ability because I have always lived in fear. So, you know, you get pretty good at acting otherwise after decades of practice.
I'm not sure where it comes from. I have a few clues to how it may have developed just based on my life and moving through it but there was no one defining moment that said: you are now a fearful person. To the contrary, it was more likely several thousand tiny things and how my mind processes experience. None of the circumstances are about blame. We all make our own way in the end. But, acknowledging where beliefs come from is important in coping with negative ones.
I grew up in the shadow of an amazing older brother. A good deal older (8 years) than me so he was actually an adult while I was just entering puberty. My brother was (and is) a wonderful guy who is not only very well liked but is a talented musician, played every sport available to him while growing up, loves people and is still humble and down to earth. He is a prankster and a kid at heart. He is practical and logical and walks the line.
It is a joke in our family that he got all the "natural" ability and I got the ability to dream. LOL. From the start I was a bit different. I spent a lot of time alone, yes, daydreaming. I immersed myself in fantasy. I did not like people much, even as a kid. I hated team sports and was very sensitive. My mom always marveled at my ability to cry over the most random things.
We, my brother and I, were raised by different members of our families for the most part. The reasons were varied and I'll spare the details but the philosophies on life were definitely, distinctly opposite.
I think that a lot of times in life, you learn what is proven to you. I read an article not long ago that said that people who "don't like people" often feel that way because their examples of relationships and interactions between people and with people were for the most part not positive throughout their younger years. It is an overgeneralization yes, but I think it has merit.
I learned to not trust people through trial and major error and if I could not trust people then how could I trust myself? I think this is where the fear was born. Because if you have trust in yourself, what do you have to fear? If, despite all the world is showing you, you have faith in your own being, you are golden. If you question even that, fear creeps in.
It has taken me years and years to even recognize that I am fearful! For decades I denied it. I put on a mask of "I fear nothing" and went out into the world with my teeth gritted, pretending that I was well put together and confident. That got me further than I would have imagined actually but there comes a point in your life where you really want to know yourself and acknowledge yourself in deep ways. So, that began my admission that I live in fear.
What sparked this post was buying a horse. That process really has brought ALL this contemplation to the surface. I lost my daily contact with horses almost four months ago. For a time I was frozen in what I now know was fear. People would ask me what are you doing about the horse situation? and I would have a million excuses as to why I wasn't looking for a horse, or a place to keep a horse. Stuff like - it is winter, there are probably no boarding spots available (without even looking), I don't know what I want, it is too soon... What was really going on was that I was paralyzed by fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of fucking up, fear of going and talking to random people, riding random horses, picking a horse with three legs (I mentioned in my horse blog having a dream that's what I did and waking up in a panic).
My fear generally goes like this: I have a decision to make and in making that decision I come up with a thousand "worst case scenarios" that range from the simple to the very elaborate as in: I can't ride my horse over there by that stream because what if a duck flies into his head, he spooks and throws me off and there happens to be some stick lying there that I don't know about and I land on it and impale myself through the heart and then I'll be dead. LOL. Oh, I'll give you another one from just last night when it was late and I was cold and didn't feel like walking with the dog all the way over to where he pees. So, I stood in the doorway and waited for him. Then I start thinking: It is really dark over there and what if he gets attacked by a coyote and I won't be able to save him because it is icy and by the time I get there he'll be dead and what if I fall on the ice in the process, hit my head and the coyote eats me too? This is COMPLETELY illogical because first of all, while we do have coyotes they are not close to our houses and furthermore WTF kind of random crazy shit is that anyway, yet these are the things I am thinking about?
Fear is so my constant companion that in my Winter Solstice (new year) ritual I centered my whole ceremony on letting it go. Obviously, magic and continual work go hand in hand...
So, getting beyond fear is not just a "hobby" for me. It is a daily and constant struggle. I probably will never be able to put it completely to rest. You cannot become another type of person just because you want to. Sheer will cannot overcome these things to any further extent than it already has in my case. I also worry as I get older that the fear will increase as many phobias and other "ticks' tend to do as we age and become more out of touch with the ebb and flow of action and what is happening "in the trenches" of life. It is times like this when I envy people that fear nothing, but even then only to the extent that I think - gosh if they only knew...
What does this frog have to do with doubt? I'll get to that in a bit...
noun: doubt; plural noun: doubts
1. a feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction.
Yup, that about covers it. Doubt is my constant companion. It sits next to fear at the dinner table. The only reason I think about it any less than fear is because I believe it stems from fear. Therefore, Doubt is the daughter of Fear. Hmmmm...that is a good and accurate phrase to write down. Let it sink in.
I don't ever admit to having doubts about life, ability, etc. I hide my doubts like I hide my fear. Once, a woman that I ride with said to me after a particularly stressful trip through the woods - you can't be as scared as me you always seem so calm when we trail ride. And I assured her that she was just not close enough to hear my heart beating. Mind you, this is something I have to work hard to control while on a horse. You can hide that shit from people. But, not a horse.
But, back to daughter doubt. I believe that doubt is formed from true experiences. Do we doubt love when we are born? Do we doubt people or ourselves? Surely not. We are a clean slate. We LEARN doubt. We learn it because we equate it with truth in a given situation. When one's doubt is verified by a situational outcome, then it becomes valid. Early, we learn to equate it with validation because if someone else doubts us or a situation, they voice that doubt and then their opinion is verified by what actually happens, doubt must be valid. What is valid is true. Hence, we have learned that doubt is to be trusted and immediately taken as the truth. Then, we are learning to doubt ourselves. There soon is no need for anyone to voice doubt to us, we will automatically do that, even if just inside our own thought process. So, we become doubters of ourselves, our abilities, of situations, etc.
It is mathematical really. 2+2=4. Doubt+Outcome=Verification.
Since I've doubted all kinds of things in my life and have had to fake the fact that I don't doubt a damn thing, people don't know I'm a doubter. People laughingly say - oh, just tell her she can't do something and she'll make it work. Or they believe me to be super capable and entirely independent. In truth if you tell me I can't do something my first thought is normally - yeah, he's probably right. Followed by a lot of other conversation in my brain that isn't the least bit productive. And I virtually NEVER feel either super capable OR independent. Some days I feel barely functional and like I should thank the gods I ever managed to get out of bed.
But, I fake it. And in faking it for a lifetime, some doubt gets beat back to the point where it sits in the damn corner like it should and shuts the eff up until it is really needed for life-saving purposes. Stuff like - Um, hey lady I doubt you can drive 80 mph on that country road and be home in three minutes... Stuff like THAT I appreciate.
Doubt is a holder backer, the slacker of the soul. Doubt is sort of like that toxic friend who just hangs around to drag the whole group down. Doubt never sees possibility, potential or even a chance. There is no "look at the positive side" to doubt. Doubt doesn't have time for that because it is too busy, well, doubting. Doubt is so invasive and so draining that it consumes your every thought if you let it. I have literally been paralyzed by doubt, unable to move and even speak, my brain simply frozen. Doubt will drain you of confidence and continually assure you that you are less than you are. It can be counted on for those things for certain, but not much else really because if you have the use of half a practical brain you can generally work your way through the scenario in the last paragraph without any great help from doubt.
I think of myself like the frog in the picture when doubt takes over. There I am perched on a small, sort of uncomfortable landing, thinking about possibly dipping my little toe into the water just to see if things will work out, knowing full well that I should simply jump because I CAN swim, but instead I sit there...thinking about how maybe if I stretched my leg out far enough I could get a whole foot in the water and that might be more safe... And on and on it goes, until the moment, or opportunity, or decision is taken out of my hands. So, in fact, I have still failed. The difference is that doubt has succeeded in making sure that I didn't even really try.
So, having faked NOT having doubt for a literal lifetime (because I was a really sensitive kid, a dreamer and that combination without a ton of encouragement can be problematic) I have a really great poker face when it comes to hiding doubt. All the "stuff" is still going on in my brain and body, I just have certain things that I do when confronted with doubt that assist me in mostly hiding it. Our coping mechanisms are amazing really, as is our ability to adapt and learn that in this world, doubt is rarely productive.
I'm sort of starting to think that my life on my own at this point has become a necessary experiment against doubt. With every little thing I DO take on, accomplish, or simply get through to the point where I can look back and say - see that wasn't all that bad - I am defeating doubt. So, on I march. Sometimes I'm tired, sometimes I'm afraid, unsure, insecure, quaking in my vegan "this product was constructed with man-made materials" boots, but I keep going. Some days I barely make headway and others I'm very surprised by my own confidence. Those are the days I live for, without a doubt.
I am, admittedly, a generally angry person. I would venture to say that some of this is learned but a large part of it is just who I am. That is to say, I cannot ever remember a time, even as a very young child, in which I was not at least somewhat driven by this smoldering inside me that I was only able to identify later as inner anger.
Now, granted, I don't remember much of childhood before venturing out into the world of Kindergarten so maybe I was just extremely sheltered and my immediate experiences, giving me fast confirmation that there were SO MANY things to be angry about, simply stoked a fire inside that could not be extinguished. Most of my anger stemmed from interactions with people. The kids that picked on me, the teacher that had favorites (of which I was never one), my parents for not somehow knowing automatically what daily hell my life was at school, my mom for making me move away from my dog in second grade, the ignorant preacher at church, my babysitter's daughter that beat me up everyday after school. Even though I was constantly angry I kept my mouth shut (mom's favorite saying was children are to be seen, not heard) and my anger smoldered. With nowhere to go I guess it seeped into my soul, little by little, and became a big part of who I am.
So, in today's world of peace, love and letting go, my anger seems to have no place to call home. I'm viewed as a prickly sort of person. I keep to myself most times and I don't go out of my way to be angry, but if I believe I have the high ground on an issue, you can bet I'm angry. And I might walk away but I'll never forget. Oh, and don't even say that forgiveness word because it isn't in my vocabulary. Telling me to forgive, of course, just makes me angry. Don't tell me to "let it go" dammit. Can't you see there is shit wrong in this world? There are things to be angry about. There are things to DO SOMETHING about.
For a long time I have tried to DO SOMETHING about my anger. I HAVE tried letting go, I've even tried forgiveness. I've tried meditating, ignoring, self-help, self-love, distraction, volunteering, co-existing... I'm still angry and even moreso I'm angry that I've spent so much time trying to rid myself of anger. It seems like a bit of a waste to me at this point, given the very act of letting anger go makes me so goddamn angry. LOL.
There is also the theory of habits and thoughts that serve us and I've asked myself how does anger serve me and does that have anything to do with not being able to let it go? Is the fact that I'm seen a prickly and somewhat standoffish serving me in some way? Well, of course it is. It is like a horse laying her ears back or lifting a hind foot as if to say - come closer and I'll kick the shit out of you. But, still, even admitting that anger serves me doesn't begin to give me significant pause. It isn't a "light bulb moment" type exercise is what I'm saying.
I am doing this 30 day yoga camp thing this month. So one of the mental exercises was a whole thought process on acceptance. A brainstorming session on acceptance. I accept....(fill in thoughts here). So, yesterday the thought that came to me was I accept the past. And this morning ~ I accept my anger.
I accept you anger. Everyday, I accept that you are a part of me that is never leaving. I accept that we'll have coffee together and that we'll sleep with each other and that sometimes you will accompany me even in my dream worlds. I accept that there are things about you that frighten me. I accept that there are things about you that serve me. I accept that you sometimes protect me, that you sometimes are the source of my regret. I accept that I cannot rid myself of you, cannot simply let you go. I accept that sometimes you are the very thing that fosters change in my life and in my world and for that, I am grateful to you.
Liberation from attempts to be someone I am not. Today, it all started over coffee with my soul mate Anger.
I talked a little bit about how the gossip and general nature of life at the barn was getting on my nerves the other day. As part of liberation is owning one's shit, I am making an effort to not be a part of those types of conversations anymore.
I said in my post that my new line goes something like - I don't think that has anything to do with me. So far, this line is working. I say it is working because when I speak it I get all sorts of passive-aggressive responses and even some outright attempts at proving to me that it indeed does have something to do with me simply because my horse occupies the same general location of the horse that is attached to the person we must now gossip about.
Look, I'm as guilty as anyone about wanting to be "in the know" where my surroundings and company are concerned. This probably comes from my mum, who although rarely repeats gossip she hears, always loves hearing it.
The thing about gossip is that once you engage in it, I feel like you give power not only to the person that has engaged you, but to the gossip itself. Think of gossip as a little troll that goes around making a muck of stuff. There was this scary movie from when I was a kid and I can't for the life of me remember the name. But, basically there were several creatures that lived in a house (in the basement I think, or in an old furnace). I only remember snippets but one family member let them out and oops, there goes the neighborhood. Sort of like Gremlins only without the humor, this movie scared the shit out of me as a six year old. In the end, the girl that let them out has to go live with them, creepy little nasty creatures that they were, and they are telling her that everything will be OK but you know it most certainly will not.
Those creatures are gossip. They will get into your life and then you are doomed. As I already stated, you are doomed because now they (and the person(s) you are gossiping with now have power. You are doomed because you have wasted precious moments of your day being mean. And if you are being mean for a legitimate reason, I have no problem with the action. But, if you are projecting meanness "just because" I feel like it is completely unproductive. You are doomed because whatever you are gossiping about may or may not be true and therefore is unreliable information.
Ask yourself, what on earth do you expect to accomplish from it, this gossip? If it is unreliable information you shouldn't be repeating it, correct? So it is just sitting in your brain taking up space. If it is mean and hurtful what good can come from repeating it anyway?
Note that this is completely different than engaging in investigative tactics for things that really DO matter to you individually, to your family, work, etc. Example - if I hear through the work grapevine that an employee is sneaking away for five hours a day that might be gossip, but I'm obligated to investigate it or I'm a poor manager. That is different than engaging in unproductive fodder on a daily basis.
The exclusionary nature of most of the gossip that I encounter is what irritates me most. Gossip is stated for the purposes of soiling the picture of someone specific. Which picture or person can change but that always seems to be the main purpose. You have to ask yourself when YOU will become the person that is being soiled and excluded. This is all junior high school stuff really. I mean, it isn't rocket science to know that we just shouldn't engage in it.
And so, I will continue to practice my line and liberate myself from not only speaking of gossip but even giving it a second thought. We'll see how long it takes for everyone around me to catch on.