This New Year’s weekend I had that old familiar feeling: stomach churning, shallow breathing, a million trips to the bathroom feeling, and I realized that I was not only enjoying it, I was welcoming it. Happy New Year!!
What a revelation. I was heading into unknown and unfamiliar territory and I felt the same physical feelings of fear that always held me back, but this time I identified it as excitement – something to run toward rather than away from.
This was proof that I didn’t need to eliminate fear from my life, I just needed to change my relationship with it when it came a-callin’. Several of you have labeled me courageous or a can-do woman who won’t let anything stop her, and initially I’m surprised and really tickled by that until I realize that, for the most part, it’s true these days.
What you don’t know and don’t see is that I still have my processes to go through. While I’m much more spontaneous and willing to try new things, I still have this “Oh crap, what am I doing?” stage that kicks in. That is fear, pure and simple, isn't it? So, I acknowledge it, determine what needs to happen for me to go forward as easily as possible (and yes, sometimes that is to jump blindly off the cliff with only faith as my companion). Once I decided that fear could be a benchmark of moving in the right direction (toward freedom and adventure), I found ways to coexist with the feeling.
Practice does make perfect – I’ve welcomed fear into my life as a friend and guide. I have embraced it, I actually look for it in chunk-sized pieces that I can manage. I know how to tell the difference between real fear that should be heeded and my ego-driven fear that should be ignored or redirected. The sense of freedom is more powerful than I ever imagined.
If you were to change your relationship with fear – what would you be doing today? Right now, think about what that next step would look like. When you sit down to journal today, think about what fears are holding you back –begin with these words: What I know to be true about fear today…..then just trust what comes forward.
Oh the places you’ll go…