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Fear and Sitting


The last few days, I’ve been writing about fear. So I thought I’d share a piece about fear I wrote years ago, inspired by my older son’s learning how to sit. 🙂

I wrote this in the early days, when every day of working on my business meant starting fear in the face.

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Fear and sitting

I’ve been deep in the middle of work on my “tea stories” and my coaching business. It’s incredibly exciting and energizing. And, at the same time, I’ll be honest–a lot of fear comes up: the fierce fear of failure that comes up when I go for my dreams.

Along with looking fear in the face, I’m watching my baby grow–and out of this mix come certain thoughts.

Sitting

My baby is learning to sit. At first he sat precariously posed like a little frog–his arms and hands splayed out to keep from toppling over. He wobbled there for a moment, and then, in slow motion, tipped over.

Sometimes, after toppling to the floor, he cries. At other times he tumbles over without complaint, only to find himself on his stomach–and then begins to cry.

Feeling

Each time he cries, I remember a lesson I’ve learned over the years: how important it is to feel my feelings

Whenever I try to stifle fear, frustration, or other “negative” feelings, they go underground, where they sabotage me in other ways. 

Instead of writing or working on my business, I fritter away time on administrative tasks. I hyperfocus on some minor issue until it drains my emotional energy, read articles on the web for hours, get sidetracked by Facebook, or spend the day “researching” with a barely-relevant historical novel. 

But when I actually let myself feel my feelings, they run through me. I’m borne along in their intensity, drenched in the storm. And then, when the storm passes, I feel a deep, clean calm.

This is what I see in William. When he’s upset, he cries. He doesn’t suppress his feelings. He doesn’t stew. He lets his feelings out, and then he moves on.

Failure

He keeps trying, keeps failing, and keeps learning. As he learns, I learn too. 

There’s the obvious lesson: he’s learning because he’s willing to fail again and again. 

There’s another lesson: even though every attempt to sit ends in failure (he always topples over eventually), in the overall scheme of things, he is succeeding

As time passes, he sits for longer and longer without wobbling–longer and longer before he tumbles to the floor. Day by day, he’s transforming from a baby who can’t sit to one who can.

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P.S. When we’re doing our heart’s work, the creative work that’s so close to our soul, fear is right there. So I created Artist in Action–to help you do your writing and art even when you’re up against fear, self-criticism, limited time, and all the things.

Want to hear more? Email me and let me know.

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