A few days before the launch of this blog I started to get nervous. Feeling so restless I couldn’t sleep, I got up at 2.00 a.m. and started to write. This is what I wrote:
I am about to launch the blog and I find myself getting more and more nervous. Interestingly not because I am fearing “what will people think?”. Not because I hold my writing in such high esteem, but because I hold my loved ones in such high esteem. It’s too soon to fear public scrutiny as my posts will most likely only be read by loved ones. And I happen to be blessed with a large and very supportive family and they, as well as my friends, have been rooting for me ever since I started with this idea. I trust they will respond lovingly even if it’s not their cup up tea. Whether or not they agree with what I am saying they will appreciate my effort.
Then what is the fear about?
Inspired by the work of Brené Brown (my sister gave me her latest book Rising Strong and it has really helped me) I am learning to get curious about my fear. Learning to “rumble” (as she calls it) with the story I am making up to get to what is really true for me.
The first story I made up was:
“What if I get writer’s block?
“What if I have already written the best things I can write?”
Well, you get the idea. Then I started to fear that the fear of writers block will then create the writer’s block, further increasing the imagined likelihood of that happening. In Holland we have the expression “seeing bears on the road” meaning fearing imagined (and often unlikely) obstacles. We’ve all done this right?
Usually when I uncover a distressing thought, the first thing I will do is try and deconstruct it by coming up with ways the thought isn’t really true (as it usually isn’t).
Step 1: Reality-check
I ask myself: Is it really true? I will think of arguments like:
- You have written several posts that have yet to be published, you have plenty of time to write a new one
- Even if the next articles don’t flow as easily and need more work, it’s still likely you will get something on paper
- If not, you can write about not being able to write
But no matter how many rational reasons I came up with, even though they were all “truer” than the original thought, the fear stayed put. Was there perhaps more going on? I was curious.
Then I remembered advice my coach had given me on another topic. Which led me to step two.
Step 2. Allow it
She had encouraged me to just sit with any uncomfortable feeling. Not trying to change it or investigate it, but just allow it. I thought of the quote:
“When just starting out on a new journey, it is only natural to feel vulnerable. After all, it may seem that you have much to lose. But may I remind you that never again at any other point in the same journey, will you have so much to gain.”
And I wasn’t even thinking about “gain” I just wanted to hang my hat on: “it’s only natural to feel afraid”. So I sat with it. And little by little it started to ease up. It was still there mind you, but it just sat there next to excitement, nervousness and vulnerability.
Later that night I read a new blog post by my friend Kelly Byrne. It was a great post on #ouryearoflivingbravely and getting to a place where you can say: I am enough and I am worthy of love and belonging. A topic I am passionate about. (Give it a read here)
These lines in particular, struck me:
“Write it down to bring it into the world.
Letting it breathe on paper in front of you gives your desires light. They’re no longer the dark, unspoken things that tear at you.
You’ve given them room to move and be alive in your world.
You’ve given yourself room to move into them.”
She wrote it in reference to doing more brave things, but I realized it applied to my blogging adventure as well (in fairness to me…also a brave thing)
What I realized is this:
With this blog I am giving myself “room to move” and I feel fear because I feel daunted by the space. Feeling confined for so long I don’t feel confident yet in such vastness. Not confident enough to claim the space.
Like when Hans and I moved from our old house into our new, much bigger one a few years back. I remember walking in and thinking: “our stuff can’t fill this place, we need more stuff!”
That’s how I feel now. I am wondering:
“Am I really big enough for this space?”
It feels daunting and vulnerable to move into unfamiliar territory. Yet I decided to once again allow it, lean into it. Give myself time to let myself unfold. Time to unfold the wings I have kept close to the vest for so long, for fear of knocking things over. I am taking the first few tentative steps into this new, wide open space.
And you know?
I’m sort of, kind of starting to believe I really can fill this space. That I really am enough.
Sounds a little halfhearted, but my heart isn’t the problem. My heart already knows this to be true. It is just taking me a little longer to wrap my head around it as well. Maybe in a little while I’ll discover that my “stuff”, all the things that make me “me” really are big enough to fill this space.
Just like our new house. It turned out we didn’t need to buy more things. The things we had fit perfectly. There was just more space around those things. More light. More room to breathe. More room to maneuver. There’s even a little room to dance.
Maybe this adventure will be like that too.
Give me more room for all that I am and all that I am becoming. Room to express myself more freely. Room to allow more light in. Room to breathe. With plenty of space to dance around…
…I’d like that.
Now that I have wrestled the imaginary bear to the ground I feel better. Still nervous. Still anxious, but I also know I won’t let it stop me from doing this. I may be nervous, but also ready. I am giving light to my desires, giving myself room to move.
How about you? Is there anything that you feel a desire to make room for in your life? And when doubt arises, how do you wrestle the imaginary bears and get back to the light? Let me know in the comments below.