The truth is...I've been hiding.
Thank you to all who read my first post and especially to those that took the time to reflect and share your own thoughts and feelings.
I feel the need to share that unfortunately I did not sleep any better after writing my last blog, as I had hoped. The next morning, in fact, those old unloving, self doubting feelings crept in and I started thinking “what have I done.” I seriously thought that after my last post I was going to immediately feel relieved, lighter, freer. I forgot. That isn’t how it works. It is a practice to outgrow old thought patterns and I am clearly still in the process of transcending my ego...
As my vulnerability hangover was taking hold, I stopped and decided it was time to turn the ship around. Lucky for me I have Leif. Leif is Love. LOVE conquers fear.
Leif also helps me to stay present, another pathway to relieving fear. It was time to get out of my head, into my body and give my attention back to what is real. So we got on our gear(space suits) and headed outside for space exploration. Soon our play turned into strapping my snowshoes on and trudging through the deep snow, Leif in tote on his sled. We set off into the woods and started following fresh deer tracks. At some point he informed me “Mom, I am Santa and you are an elf pulling me in my sleigh”. I love his imagination and he reminds me to have one too.
After more than an hour of playing and a vigorous workout, I had forgotten all about feeling like shit. I felt great and that lighter freer feeling I had been seeking; I started to feel that. The combination of being in nature and moving my body certainly helped, but so did being fully present.
In hindsight, “I should have known better”, vulnerability is unsettling and there is no reward without challenge. Truth: “shoulding is shitty, and you shouldn’t should all over yourself”. I am sitting here writing and I could be all like, “I should be doing the laundry right now,” but that sounds especially shitty. Even if the things we “should” ourselves about are things we want or need to accomplish, it is not the most motivating way to go about encouraging action. In my experience when things feel like a chore, ain’t nobody interested.
But on to my topic for today...
The truth is that I feel as if I have been in hiding for quite some time. I can’t say exactly when I entered into this witness protection like hiding (from myself), but I am going to talk a little bit about how I got feeling this way, the impact it has had, and what I am doing about it.
Nutshell version. I worked a job I loved, but got burnt out and decided to leave to launch my own coaching business. I started off passionate and motivated only to retreat into hiding due to: self doubt, insecurity, low self worth, uncertainty and probably a touch of procrastination. The biggest culprit however, and what I really want to talk about is the nastiest four letter F word of them all. FEAR.
The aforementioned set of fears are just the ones I developed in the process of attempting to launch a business, lest we forget the whole other set of fears that can develop with becoming a mother. That little bundle of joy comes and you get to start worrying about their health and safety. You might experience extra insecurity and more fear about whether you are adequate as a mother, and then top all that off with guilt and second guessing of your decisions. I mean in reality you can choose not to feel this way, but we are getting to that.
There are so many platforms for fear. Fear of failure or success. Fear of loss. Fear of rejection. Fear of sickness and death. Fear of social situations. Fear of being alone and of being loved. Fear of being seen. Fear of being happy. The new technology inspired “fear of missing out.” Fear that arises from a president who thinks its NBD to brag about the size of his button... I could go on, but you get the point. I think it is amazing how we can be afraid of things we perceive as both negative and positive.
Many schools of thought (psychological and spiritual teachings to name a few) define our ego as being responsible for fear, which thereby clouds our perception of ourselves and our relationship to the world. Based on these teachings, I would like to assert that fear is “The False notions of our Ego Assaulting our Reality.”
Fear has damaging consequences to the health of our bodies and minds. Fear increases stress. Chronic elevated levels of stress leads to greater susceptibility to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. With increased stress, we often turn to maladaptive behaviors as a coping strategy (food, drugs, alcohol, electronics, etc) that also have negative effects on our health. Additionally, there is a great amount of evidence linking increased stress to weight gain and many chronic health conditions. In fact, all that increased stress you are under suppresses your immune system and makes you more prone to catching all the bugs in the workplace and the ones your kids bring home from daycare or school. Sweet...
Personally, despite my best efforts to eat a balanced nutritious diet and stay physical activity, I haven’t had great energy for a long time now and have been sick more often than I ever have. I am certain fear has played a role in this.
The truth is, I am tired (literally it’s exhausting) of fear calling the shots in my life, and frankly as much as I try to be compassionate towards myself, I am getting a bit annoyed with myself for how much energy has been wasted and sleep lost because of fear. I have too much to be grateful for and too much love and support to offer to the world to let fear hold me back any longer. I want to support others with living the life they’re dreaming of too!
Then there is Leif. I think about what I want to embody as a model for my child, and I certainly don’t want to set an example of someone afraid of their own shadow or project the energy of fear onto Leif. I believe wholeheartedly that children are especially sensitive to these energies and of course we know they are copycats as a means of their development. They also start to develop their own set of fears. Seems like Leif has just entered into “being afraid of everything phase.” How do we support our children in coping with their fears in a healthy manner and furthermore, teach them to see challenges as opportunities for growth if we don’t have healthy ways of coping ourselves?
So, I invite you to join the conversation...
What are you afraid of?
How has fear/stress impacted your life?
How do you cope with stress?
How do you respond to your child(ren’s) fears?
How do we overcome fear when it seems to be so pervasive?
Another popular way of stating the above quote and a good book is “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway.” So in other words, we must allow ourselves to be vulnerable and realize that “every little thing is gonna be alright.”
If that seems like too big of a step I have some other suggestions:
Start with working to become more AWARE of your thought patterns related to your fears.
Example: your child says “mom I have a dinosaur bone in my belly and it’s hurting me.” Instantly your mind takes you to wonder, could there be something bothering his tummy? Down the rabbit hole further, omg, is there something really wrong? Do I take him to the doctor? You continue to worry and watch for signs of injury or illness...Reality… He finally points to the “dinosaur bone,” turns out he has discovered the base of his sternum.
Develop a meditation practice (helps with the awareness tip), keep it simple, sit and breathe consciously daily for 10-15 minutes. Heck start with 1 min.
Journal about your fears or stressors (or start a blog that you clearly think is your personal journal).
YOGA!! Trust me you are flexible enough and you do have time. Yoga is a practice of self discovery and self acceptance. If not yoga than do any other means of physical activity(that you enjoy), it’s great for your health and a stress reliever.
Practice gratitude. I have taken to spending a few minutes thinking about everything I am grateful for before I open my eyes in the morning. Sets a nice tone for the day!
Play with your child, play hard and use your imagination! Outdoor play, even better!
Be patient, kind and compassionate towards yourself; you are a perfectly imperfect human after all, and overcoming the presence of fear in your life, it's a practice.
Until next time!
Yoga shot photo credit: https://www.avelonartandphotography.com
Sunflower shot photo credit: https://www.jpuzaphoto.com/