The fear driven life (Fear of Transformation)

transformation-butterfly

I needed, or wanted, or.. wanted and needed to write today, either, and, or I’m here, and lucky you!

I’ve been working through a lot of fear recently.

Fear that leaving my recent “occupation” to create my dream online and in the waking realm will be foolish. That I won’t be valuable outside of, well, the bedroom.

Fear that financially I should wait, or save up, or just suck it up (and ok, not entirely literally there) and sloooowly take one step at a time to get my new plan in motion.

Fear that if I don’t take steps on it now, it will fade away and be too late.

Fear that continuing down that other path would lead me to hate the world, or die of it, or both.

Fear that others will think this a silly idea of mine and won’t support it. (Though so far I’ve met amazing support)

Fear that I’m not taking care of others by taking care of myself.

I’ve been meditating, walking, talking (as my therapist can attest to, and my dear S.O.), thinking, pondering, letting go, waking up, moving on, and finally.. meeting myself in the place where I am truly terrified.

There is a crossroads within, in which several of me from the past are gathered, and they are afraid.

They are the me of my younger years, about 5-8 I’d say.

Afraid of speaking up, of making others uncomfortable with my truths.

Afraid of asking for more, never sure where food will come from or if the phone bill will be paid without my suffering.

Afraid because I feel unworthy.

Afraid that there may not even be a car, or a tent, to sleep in tomorrow.

Afraid that my stepfather will come back in our life, that she won’t be strong enough to say no.

fear

Though I’ve touched on it in other posts, I suppose the time has come within me, to say more.

When I was just a little girl (and actually I hear the song Que Sera start up in my head here.. oy), about 4 years old, and my mother married my stepfather, my life as a happy, cheery, upbeat child ended. Not only was he violent, and verbally abusive with a wicked alcohol problem, but somehow he found his way to know folks involved in child pornography and so this way, did I.

These are details I can’t go into, and perhaps I wouldn’t if I could, maybe, simply because I don’t recall much. I simply recall long car trips with him feeling so lost, so sad, wishing I could disappear or die. He’d tell my mom we were going to Disneyland, but we never made it that far.

I remember old warehouses, an abandoned artichoke factory I believe, dirty mattresses and cameras. And that, is about it.

My behavior changed, of course. I no longer loved to run around naked as a jay bird, happy with the sun on my skin. I hated to see photos of myself, particularly partially undressed (as most babies and toddlers are in pictures now and then), even a bathing suit was too much skin, even years later.. I destroyed every picture I could find like that. I stopped singing. I felt completely alone even surrounded by others.

During this time my mother was in a deep depression and my family was afraid (there’s that fear again) of speaking up and saying something that would upset her. She didn’t always find herself able to work, and so the income of my stepfather was all there was for a while, and some of that came from what I did I know.

But in this lack I was afraid.

Afraid of eating too much, of not being able to afford more, of not being worthy of more.

Afraid of only being worth someone elses pleasure, and not my own.

Afraid of his temper. (You couldn’t even wake him up.. my mother would prod him awake with a broom handle, they didn’t even sleep in the same bed)
Afraid of speaking up and making my family uncomfortable, or sad.

When I was 7 I started taking food from other kids lunch bags at school, my mother was baffled because she packed me a full lunch, but I was always hungry for more.

Eventually I went to see my own therapist, as I’d started to tell my mother I wished I could die.

After she finally left him around 8 years old, we were homeless for about a year. Occasionally we’d stay at a friends for a week or a month or so, but usually there were limits on how long we could stay. We often stayed at motels down by the beach, due to a voucher program at the time; funny how staying in one of the most beautiful places in the world could really be so dark and frightening.

My 9th birthday we were “camping”, because some friends had a tent and sleeping bags we could borrow. My friends didn’t know those particular details, but they showed up and we had a camping party.

I remember after my mother went to the food bank around this time, finding some exceptionally nice treat in the bag, and feeling like I had to eat it slowly, carefully, because I might not get it again, ever.

So much of this was created by my mothers own fears. Of being alone, of not being worthy, of not being good enough that someone like my stepfather, so bruised and battered, would change, or heal for her, of not being enough, of being successful on her own, of being deemed an unfit mother (I didn’t often go to the doctor, and was treated for many things at home).

And here I am, at 35, finding that my fear now? Is centered there.

Afraid that without giving my body away, I won’t be liked.

Afraid that I won’t be worthy of another income, of making it on my own, with my own business.

Afraid that asking for more, more money, more health, more food, more support, more guidance; is asking too much, and that I’m … selfish, and bad for even thinking of it.

Afraid to share my story, my stories, be they pleasant or otherwise, for fear of not saying it perfectly the way they want to hear it.

Afraid to share my dreams, should they be too grand, too bright, too filled with joy and life.

Afraid to stand on my own and be capable, powerful, loved. That the only way to survive is by the grace and gifts of others, not my own.

Yet here we sit, at this crossroads, my younger selves and I. I’m ready to move on. I’m ready to create a new world. After all, there is a new way to see this world and I can see it, live it, and breathe it; if only I can release the fear that doesn’t just slow me down, it holds me back, it drags me down under the water, so fast, and so fierce, so that I’m drowning with no way up.

I’ve been taking baby steps forward, beyond the fear. Though I feel it still, sometimes overwhelmingly so. I’ve run from it my whole life, hidden from it, treated it like the black sheep in the room and done whatever I had to do to keep my head above water, so that I didn’t have to face it.

So I sit with it, with them, and I allow that fear, their fears, to be acknowledged, to be loved, to be acceptable and worthy. There is nothing more I can do for them, but offer them all I am now, the knowledge, the love, the hope I have here, in this moment, that everything will be ok. That they can walk away from the fear and in to light.

eagle

And I leave with that, and lead with this, one of my favorite writings of all time:

Sometimes I feel that my life is a series of trapeze swings. I’m either hanging on to a trapeze bar or swinging along or, for a few moments in my life, I’m hurtling across space in between trapeze bars. Most of the time, I spend my life hanging on for dear life to my trapeze-bar- of-the-moment. It carries me along a certain steady rate of swing and I have the feeling that I’m in control of my life. I know most of the right questions and even some of the right answers.

But once in a while, as I’m merrily (or not so merrily) swinging along, I look ahead of me into the distance, and what do I see? I see another trapeze bar swinging toward me. It’s empty, and I know, in that place in me that knows, that this new trapeze bar has my name on it. It is my next step, my growth, my aliveness coming to get me. In my heart- of-hearts, I know that for me to grow, I must release my grip on the present, well-know bar to move to the new one.

Each time it happens to me, I hope (no, I pray) that I won’t have to grab the new one. But in my knowing place, I know that I must totally release my grasp on my old bar, and for some moment in time, I must hurtle across space before I can grab onto the new bar. Each time I am filled with terror. It doesn’t matter that in all my previous hurtles across the void of unknowing, I have always made it. Each time I am afraid I will miss, that I will be crushed on unseen rocks in the bottomless chasm between the bars.

But I do it anyway.

Perhaps this is the essence of what the mystics call the faith experience. No guarantee, no net, no insurance policy, but you do it anyway because somehow, to keep hanging onto that old bar is no longer on the list of alternatives. And so for an eternity that can last a microsecond or a thousand lifetimes, I soar across the dark void of “the past is gone, the future is not yet here.”

Its called transition. I have come to believe that it is the only place that real change occurs. I mean real change, not the pseudo-change that only lasts until the next time my old buttons get punched.

I have noticed that, in our culture, this transition zone is looked upon as “nothing”, a no-place between places. Sure the old trapeze-bar was real, and that new coming towards me, I hope, that’s real, too.

But the void in between? That’s just a scary, confusing, disorienting “nowhere” that must be gotten through as fast and as unconsciously as possible.

What a waste! I have a sneaking suspicion that the transition zone is the only real thing, and the bars are illusions we dream up to avoid the void, where the real change, the real growth occurs for us. Whether or not my hunch is true, it remains that the transition zones in our lives are incredibly rich places. They should be honored, even savored. Yes, with all the pain and fear and feelings of being out-of-control that can (but necessarily) accompany transitions, they are still the most alive, most growth-filled, passionate, expansive moments in our lives.

And so, transformation of fear may have nothing to do with making fear go away, but rather with giving ourselves permission to “hang out” in the transition between the trapeze bars. Transforming our need to grab that new bar, any bar, is allowing ourselves to dwell in the only place where change really happens. It can be terrifying. It can be enlightening, in the true sense of the word.

Hurtling through the void, we just may learn how to fly.

Butterfly-Released

And then?

And then what? Stopping the Worry Demon

Lately I’ve had a few people ask me how I stopped the “What if” demon. She’s been in my family for generations and had a rather cozy spot in my life for so long, along with her brethren of friends.

Now I’ve read more positive thinking & self help books, articles, on line email threads, than I could count on all of my fingers and toes times.. 10. (Maybe more) And I’m not bashing them, they’ve all offered me something, in some way. Some, of course, far more so than others (“Feel the fear and do it anyway” – that title alone got me from 16-30).

However what has actually “cured” me, and saved the villagers of the small town living below the snowball that becomes an avalanche when I worry and get lost with the “what if” demon is this..

I simply take the fear and follow it through, quickly, simply, but honestly.

Example:

I’m out wearing a dark colored shirt, and I realize it’s covered in cat fur (white cat fur). I wonder what people think of me, what if they see it? what if they judge me for it? what if they don’t like me because I’m so untidy? What if I were out with a friend, how would they feel being seen with me? And … it begins.

So I take it from there. And then what?

They see it. And then what?

They judge it. And then what?

They care, or they don’t. And then what?

Do I care what they think? Possibly. And then what?

Well, why do I care? Will my friend be embarrassed? And then what?

Perhaps they won’t want to go out with me. And then what?

I’ll go out alone in the future. And then what?

I won’t mind who sees the fur, it’s my cat, I love her, I’m not harming anyone with a few cat hairs. And then what?

Ok, they judge me and give me a snide look or turn away. And then what?

I continue on my day, never to run in to this complete stranger again. And then what?

Now, this is how it goes with 90% of the worries I have, and 95% of the worries I hear from other people – so concerned with the approval of others, and their presentation to people they will never meet again that they get caught up in the what if game.

Even if it’s what if with people they know, co-workers, spouses, friends, lovers, parents..

So I’ll add in the positive way this event actually happened today, before going on.

Now..

I run in to someone I know, the cashier at the grocery store. And then what?

We actually get in to a wonderful conversation about our cats, I find out he’s a cat person and is very concerned with how my cats vet visit went. And then what?

I actually fell like I connected with someone, they cared, and I cared, and we were better for it.

 

Ok, so lets take it even further into the demon realm, and say it is someone I know. And then what?

They judge me, dislike me for being so unkempt and unpolished. And then what?

I don’t talk to them again, they won’t return my calls. And then what?

Lets be honest, anyone that doesn’t get me and my love of my cats, isn’t someone I really want to be friends or close acquaintances with – they can’t understand me or appreciate me. So I decide to move on. And then what?

Well… and then I make friends that do get me, that love cats, and dogs, that don’t mind a few cat hairs on their clothes and we have great, relaxing times together. And then what?

Perhaps it doesn’t go so well. Now this is where the demon really sinks her teeth in.

Perhaps I can’t find any new friends, perhaps they all seem to hate animals or my cat hair shirt. And then what?

 

Do I die? Does anyone die? Is my cat hurt in any way? Is this event so catastrophic that life itself ceases to exist because of this event?

 

No? Well then.. I move on, I let go, and the crazy, neurotic snowball that was building steam has suddenly disappeared. Poof!

There is no fuel for the fire.

My best friend hasn’t called me back, my husband hasn’t texted me, my boss didn’t smile at me as they normally do each day. And then what?

Do I die? Does anyone die? Is someone going to end up in the hospital because of this moment? (perhaps if I don’t stop the snowball, yes.. mental hospitals count) No?

Well then, move on.

Life is beautiful, and this particular turn of ours, on this merry go round of nuttiness – this act we play out on the stage that is called life. It’s short in the scheme of things.

Too short to be caught up in worry, in fear, in letting snowballs bury the poor villagers of the cute mountain town below.

So there’s my secret. Something I haven’t found in any book so far.

And then what? What then? Can I live with what happens next? Literally.. Yes? Good. Let’s move on.

Letting go (Heaven Help Me)

Recently I was feeling some serious blockage of energy around my heart (chest pains), my lungs (heaviness when I breathe), and my central chakra there (I couldn’t see it clearly). I’ve been working on it, albeit somewhat slowly, but concerned that I couldn’t quite “feel” my way through any of it.

When someone brushed over the throat and heart chakra/centers I felt a wonderous relief and a sense of opening, yet it was brief and I could still feel this lingering darkness.

It wasn’t simply a haunting spirit, a demon, a pain from eating the wrong foods, or an infection.

Yesterday after a long and involved therapy session, I realized..

It was me.

For all of my work on letting go, on forgiveness, on opening up and loving further, deeper. I’m really, really, REALLY angry. Yes, I felt the energy of a few specific people lingering with me, but it was my anger towards their actions, their behaviors, their words, that I’ve been holding on to.

And I could feel it yesterday while laying back, gently probing the sense of darkness. And I knew what it was laying there in my heart. It wasn’t just angry adult me, mad at terrible drivers or people being cruel or whatever. It was the younger me, furious at the world, at the people around me.

Today I woke up with a sensation, that was almost depressed. But it wasn’t “just” that. I let myself fall back asleep, briefly, curled up on the couch. I didn’t push my errands to happen, I didn’t stress that the books aren’t back at the library or the shopping for my trip isn’t done.

I just let myself be.

Oubliette – New Word for The Day!

All right, so the word itself is not new. But outside of computer games (or dungeon lovers), not many people have an awareness of this word.

However when I recently rediscovered this word in a wonderful novel I was reading, and it’s meaning, I realized how much this word embodies so much more than some computer game dungeon, or medival french/european torture method.

An oubliette is a dungeon with only one entrance/exit that is in the ceiling. Often the person being left in the Oubliette was lowered by a rope which was then lifted out of reach, some perhaps had a ladder but at the top was a door with no chance of unlocking it.

Oubliette is from the French word Oublier – to forget. So the Oubliette was designed as a place of forgetting, or a place for those that one wanted to forget.

Many of the the Oubliettes were designed with standing room only, no sitting, no walking around – the only thing to do was stand and wait. Keeping in mind that you were placed here, to be forgotten.

This word, Oubliette, is so like my feelings and frame of mind for so long. I believe that depression is a wicked Oubliette.

Who needs a medival dungeon when you have your own dark, place to be forgotten inside?

And how often do we feel as though we are stuck? Forgotten? Locked away in the darkness with no seeming way out? Even if we have the room to move slightly, we can feel as though it’s useless, to what end should we move when we have nowhere to go?

There have been so many times in my life that I felt as though there were no true options, that I was at rock bottom – with no ladder, no rope, just the barest hint of light from some crack in the dark, cold walls.

Eventually though I learned that the light was the way out, that like so many others who have gone before and will come after, focusing on the light is the holiest, healthiest, sanest choice one can make. That it doesn’t matter if that light is literal – the brightest star in the darkest night sky, or if it’s a memory, a scrap of light almost left behind.

That even if one never gets out of the Oubliette, if one never remembers what is forgotten – if I never remember the years I’ve placed in my own Oubliette, that to focus on the darkness serves no purpose. That if you do not make the choice to focus on the light, however dim it may seem, you will forever be stuck in the Oubliette.

If you stare in to the darkness, then when the trapdoor is opened and the rope or ladder lowered, you won’t see it because it is in the light, it is of the light, and all one sees is…  darkness and forgetting. We can even be blinded, and afraid of the light when it arrives in any abundance – we are too comfortable with the dark, we know it too well.

We can become so enamored with the Demon of Depression that we become the forgotten of our own specially designed Oubliette.

In reading more, and growing more, I’ve learned how focusing on anything other than the light is what has left me there, in the dark. We are energy, our thoughts are energy, everything around us is energy – what we put our attention to grows. And for so long I focused on the darkness – thankfully I have learned to appreciate the light, even if it means closing my eyes and seeing only the light within.

It can be the purr of my cat, the laugh of a child, the warmth of bread out of the oven, the sound of rain, the feel of a soft blanket or a warm shower, the words on a page or in an email from a friend, a good meal, the green grass, the birds in the trees, or even the hope of some good dreams when I go to sleep – whatever brings me back to joy, love, light – that is where the energy, attention, intention, must flow for me to ever find my way out of the Oubliette within.

I believe the rope is always there for us, the door up above is unlocked, and we have just enough room to move up and out – it just takes a little shift in energy, in belief, that we deserve the light, that we can live in the light, that we are worthy, that we are only forgotten by ourselves.

Today’s Demon (Fear of Writing) – A new meet and greet

So I have a few friends, probably a few dozen really, that are often labeled demons. While, it’s true, they are demons, yet after a lifetime of hanging out with them, they have in some respects, become friends – it was this or death so… I chose friendship.

I decided that I would share my demons, here and there, so you could get to know them – and me I suppose.

Today’s Demon is… Fear of Writing.

This demon has been a rather constant companion since I was about 9, when I first decided I wanted to write, and share, my story. Not long before this decision, when I turned 9, I realized that if I could survive the first 9 years of my life, I could survive another 9 years no problem. Months later standing out in the backyard, climbing around the not so sturdy tree and bushes, I came upon the realization that others should know they can survive as well.

Now it’s… 25 years later and I’m barely writing, just beginning to share further about ALL of the details, realizing the Fear of Writing Demon was, and still is, superbly strong.

I think she first came to visit as a guest of my mothers, who was in college to become a journalist when I came in to her life, and her sense, her feeling, that she gave up a writing career to juggle the details of being a single mom was always there. She would try to share with me the way a writer “should” write, a journalist writer perhaps, always with the Who, What, Why, Where, When and How.

Well, shit. At 9 getting caught up in the “details” is where I lose my focus, and for decades after. Striving for some perfection in How I phrase it, Who I’m speaking to or referring to, What I’m talking about (sometimes I lose the thread), Why I feel I must share, etc. etc. And then often the Worthiness Demons voice pops in (now that demon is a jerk), like I needed assistance with this..

Then, when I was 13, while visiting family out of state, my Grandmother was watching me write a letter home. She was quite inebriated (alcohol is a huge (demon) visitor in my life story) and made a comment about my handwriting being terrible. My Grandmother is a prolific writer, and I’ve always loved the way her handwriting looks on the page. So this? Was akin to a judgement from God.

Now I don’t just feel like I can’t write the subject at hand perfectly, but it, apparently, also looks like shit too.

Wonderful.

Somehow I managed to write journals from about 15-18, here and there. But my poetry river ran dry, my letters to friends & family were shorter, even my dreams slowly faded, and every time I picked up the pen… I felt sick. Guilty, Terrified, because I? Was not a worthy writer.

It really didn’t matter that people asked to read my writings, that they missed my letters, that writing down the pieces of my life might have helped me put them back together..

I would even rewrite post it notes at work, 5, 6 times, JUST to get my handwriting a little clearer, softer. I would take HOURS to write an email that was a mere paragraph or two because I would write, rewrite, read, adjust, endlessly to be sure it sounded perfect, wasn’t too offensive, made sense (OMG what if it doesn’t make sense?!), clearly stated without being emotional, whatever message I was trying to get through in this email.. it had to be perfect.

And I would fret for hours, even days, that my writing – even a meeting request to the team, was being criticized and unliked.

How the Frick did I make it out of that mess, sometimes I wonder.

Well, really I think it was my cats and my dreams and … moving away from the chaos. But 90% is probably my dreams. About 3 years ago I began to have vivid, clear dreams that were expressing a need for me to change my life, my reaction to life and my approach to my very soul. I started writing them down because I knew, I wanted to remember them, I needed a record of these images and messages. So I’d begin to write on every scrap of paper I could find, and eventually moved to the collection of journals I’d amassed (I knew I wanted to write, but the journals remained blank for years, sitting there, taunting me).

Though now that I look back, perhaps I was simply gathering the journals, preparing for the return of my dreams.

And as I wrote my dreams, often from a state of half sleep, down in to books no one else would read, or judge. Only able to write down what I could recall, and not have to worry about details that just didn’t surface, my dreams and my writing, flourished.

My fear of writing diminished.

I’d tried to follow other authors suggestions on how to get through what I believed to be “writers block”, none of it stuck, none of it fit. I love Julia Camerons the Artists Way, and her subsequent books, but even this approach was akin to taking a toothpick to a brick wall and trying to break it down. It wasn’t the right tool for me.

So my dreams stepped in, and as I began to realize that the demon was really just afraid, as most demons are, and in letting go of the fear, of accepting that as others have shared their fears, their history, their pain and sorrow, their joy and light, their fear of writing, speaking, and doing so in THEIR own way of doing it – and loving to read their books, stories, blogs, letters.. that I could share mine.

And that I would live, I would survive. I might even thrive.

Fear of Writing now has very little to feed on. I see posts on FB, Twitter and elsewhere online and I realize my writing? My Grammar? Is actually not that bad… and the way I write?

It’s mine.

It’s my voice, it’s my soul. And it’s beautiful.

Veronica Yem

Ideas and Inspiration for Entertaining

Kel's Cafe of All Things Food

Eat, drink and be merry!

33andlostinlife

Just another WordPress.com site

bNomadic

Travel Around. Be Nomadic

Globe Dreaming

To travel is to live.

Domina Victoria Rage

Professional Seattle Dominatrix & BDSM Blogger

Just Visit Siena !

My Siena Guide

%d bloggers like this: