#WriteWithMe Reflection: week 17

The writing prompts for this last week were about fear. Naming the fears we hold about what we cant or wont be able to do, and identifying ways to release the hold the fear has on us. My most successful survival tactics have included stuffing all of the big feelings inside and ignoring them to the point where I no longer feel them, especially feelings of fear. So, because I am exhausted and have been working on some really intense things, my defenses are much higher than they usually are. Which meant that I came to these prompts with “I don’t know because I am not afraid, I can figure just about anything out.” Then, I got curious and started asking myself questions. Like, “What the heck? Just because you can figure just about anything out, doesn’t mean there isn’t a fear there.”

I had to give myself some compassion and grace, as I am still retraining my brain not to immediately go to survival mode when the slightest perceived threat comes along. And then I sat with all of it for a bit.

Our instructions for week 17 were writing just two days, for thirty to forty five minutes each time, but I had to come back twice before I could write once. This is not normal for me, I usually just jump right in and write. But there was something about the last few weeks that made me want to pause more deeply, and really wrestle with this. The world around me continues to rage and terrorize, and I push back against that every day in the work that I get paid for, and in just trying to live life with my family.

I needed to get more curious, compassionate, and courageous. I needed to sit with the fears, begin to name them, learn from them, honor and release them. This may have come naturally at one point in my life, but the reality is that circumstances and experiences have trained my brain to react to fear by cutting it off. Acting as though it does not exist. Which on the one hand can be quite nice, fear doesn’t stop me from doing things often. But on the other hand, it is dishonest, and keeps from offering genuineness and vulnerability which is critical in building and developing healthy relationships. To know and be known, to love and be loved, the things that make us human. These things are not possible without vulnerability, and yet my experiences have wired my brain to view them as enemy. And even though I am years removed from the worst times of my life, my brain and my body are still in healing. So I am learning, and unlearning, and learning again.

When I first began the practice of trying to sit with my feelings to just notice them, I felt like the air was being sucked from my lungs. This time, intentionally sitting with my fears and just noticing them, I felt like I could separate myself from them enough to see them for what they really were. I have recorded meditations for various projects, and in the process of producing them I had to listen to them over and over. So I heard myself in my head when my body began to tense and my mind began to wander, my own voice telling me to breathe and just notice. I cant begin to tell you how powerful that is on multiple levels, hearing my own voice guiding me to stay in it and notice, as if I am finally trusting myself.

Which brings me back to the prompts for this past week. Whether or not I recognize it, fear plays a part in my life. Right now, I have so much to fear… The things I fear are real, many of them are present fears based in reality, some are intensified by the past. They are all real, and reasonable.

And because I took the time to notice them, identify them, and learn from them, I can release the hold that these fears have on me. I am able to move forward without that weight of the fears, while honoring what they were trying to teach me and how they were trying to protect me.

“Fear that you won’t or can’t is not a reason to make a conscious decision to not try. Trust yourself, trust the process. Amplify what is possible, release the fear.”

There’s one more week in this writing journey, and I intend to dive into it with gusto, trusting myself and releasing the fear.