I have been away for a while with travel, vacation, retreats, and then getting back into the swing of things with school. I apologize for staying away for so long.
I want to talk to you a little bit about something I have discovered. It’s about being a whole and complete person, not choosing the parts of you to accept or to listen to. Sort of important, yes? I think it’s something we are all striving to achieve. Some of us have a better handle on it than others, but it’s not a contest. I have had my own painful breakthrough recently. It’s never been my favorite topic. That’s why I am sharing it here. So…let’s talk about fear.
I can’t feel it.
No really, I can’t. Let me explain.
One of my favorite forms of exercise in the world is yoga. I love the physical movement of it. However, I also love the meditative qualities of yoga. I love good instructors, but I also like having my own good DVDs that I can follow at home. One of my favorite yoga DVDs at home has a guided meditation that is very difficult for me. It’s a great meditation. It guides you through emotions. First you focus on feeling a negative emotion and then the opposite/positive emotion. Forgetting that I just badly butchered that summary, it’s a great meditation. Anyway. One of the feelings is fear. I hate it when it comes to this one. I get nothing. It’s always been a big block. I’ve done this thing countless times, and I get nothing. All you wise ones are probably knowingly shaking your head for or at me. 🙂 Trust me. I sort of suspected why I wasn’t feeling it. But just in case, I called my mother. She knows everything.
I asked my mother a couple of years ago why I couldn’t feel it. Her answer? “Oh honey, you’re too afraid to let yourself feel it.” Good grief. I certainly didn’t feel afraid! How could this be true? I just kept trying. I got nothing. After several months, it started to bother me. I wasn’t doing this meditation daily, just occasionally. So whenever it did come up, it annoyed me that I couldn’t access fear.
Finally one day, I made it a matter of prayer. I asked God to help me be brave enough in that moment to feel whatever I was afraid of. BIG mistake. It nearly overwhelmed me. I clung to my bedside sobbing and shaking. It only lasted a few minutes, but I remember it. I was terrified…of so many things. Mostly I was afraid of the things I would never be able to control like what would and could happen to my children, my parents, my family. It was awful. But then I was able to get my protection back up again. I was once again blocking it. I was fine. Well…fine-ish.
Fast forward a couple of years to a retreat for homeschool moms I recently attended. I didn’t want to go, actually. I didn’t know what to expect. I was a little concerned that there would be something that would be “feeling” centered. Ew. I’m OK writing and thinking about those things. I am decidedly not OK with discussing them with strangers or large groups. Ever. (Which makes the blog a little more hilarious!!) I actually attended because some friends were the organizers, and I felt the need to be supportive. So I went. It turns out, I was right about the “feelings”. GAG!! It was awful. Truly. It was downright horrible. 🙂
The first night they had some presenters come and talk to us. They talked about play therapy. Doesn’t that sound nice? It’s all about how to elevate your energy so that you can get the negative emotions unstuck. See? It’s a trick. They tricked us. 😉 So many ladies were crying by the end. Everyone was so happy. They loved it. They really did. The presenters were amazing. They really truly were. I actually loved the information they shared and their energy and the way they presented. I also hated it. HAHA! Why?
People. It just kept coming to me over and over and over. “You’re supposed to be feeling this.” One of the ladies said something that I have always believed, and it’s something that I have always tried to teach my kids. She said that our feelings are there for a reason. They are there to tell us something. I always tell my kids that our feelings are gifts! They are gifts from God. They tell us about ourselves, about our lives, about other people, and about situations around us. We just have to listen to them and acknowledge them. The scripture says to “bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love.” Bridle them…use them appropriately…not shove them away or dismiss them. She said that she tells her kids it’s like opening an email. She said she’ll tell her kids to go ahead and open the email from anger or sadness and see what they have to say. Usually, once you acknowledge the feeling and hear its message, it’s gone. It did its job.
Anyway. Like I said, I was just uncomfortable. I knew what my problem was. Fear. I had been blocking that feeling for so long, I didn’t even know how to find it. You know what’s funny? One of the words people frequently use to describe me is “brave”. It’s always annoyed me and made me laugh when they said it. It has always felt untrue. And do you know why? Because no one can be brave without being afraid. Brené Brown said, “when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.” I couldn’t be brave because I was not afraid. Right?
So how could I feel it? Did I even want to? The last time I did it, I couldn’t breathe. Obviously I need to breathe…and walk…and talk…and carry on. What to do?
Well, the good Lord had that all taken care of, apparently. I started a new job (short term) this last week. It’s nothing like I have ever done before. It’s not even that big of a deal, really. But the night before it started, I was walking my dog, and I was contemplating the next day. I thought about the new job, and there, in the very bottom of my stomach, I felt the teeniest tiniest particle of something. It lasted for just a nanosecond and was gone. That’s how quickly I blocked it. Wait, I thought, come back! And then I prayed. I just started to thank the Lord for the fear, hoping that’s what it was. And I know that’s weird, but that’s what I did. I thanked Him for my fear. And holy freaking cow…did it come back.
And I walked with it. Me, my dog, and my fear. We walked. And I felt it. And I acknowledged it, listened to what it had to say, why it was there. And then…it just…left. Seriously. All by itself. It was the coolest moment. I can’t believe how jittery it made me!
I’ve had two more “fear experiences” since then. They’re really awful and amazing. And I just have to say that fear is really stupid. So far, every time my fear pops up and I listen to it, it’s really really really stupid. I wish I could say I had intelligent and dignified fear. No. My fear has an IQ of like 15. It’s pathetic. But I digress. The point is, I am by no means cured. I still have to constantly fight the urge to suppress fear. Why? Because I recognize that my greatest fear is to be crippled by fear. I have seen it happen to people with my own eyes, and I never want it to be me.
But remember what I said about my fear being dumb? It is. That will never be me. It never has been me, and when I look at that fear boldly it fades. I never will be the individual frozen to inaction. I will never be frozen with fear. There is too much fighter, too much tenacity in me to do that.
So I am beginning to feel fear now. It’s totally different from the anxiety that I have dealt with in the past. It’s actual fear. And I can feel it when I let myself. Do you know what that means? It means that I am also beginning to feel brave now. For the first time in forever, I can say, Yes…I am brave.
And it’s true.
And it’s awesome.
Don’t be afraid to let yourself feel all the feels, people. Just do it. I promise, you’ll feel better.
Take It, and Be Thankful
P.S. If you are interested, the ladies that presented to us have an amazing program that they do for the youth every summer called Youth for Freedom. It’s just spectacular. Completely worth it. I have known several teens that participated (earned their own money to go, by the way) and keep going back. They love it. Here is their website.