There’s a line by Judy Dench in the Second Best Marigold Hotel where she says, “I don’t know if I’m excited or terrified. Sometimes it seems to me that the difference between what we want and what we fear is a width of an eyelash.” … I heard that, grabbed my journal, and furiously wrote it down so that I wouldn’t forget. It’s a reassurance that when the fear kicks in, pay attention. You’re probably on to something.
I’ve learned in the last couple years, that there are a few key warriors to employ in the inner-battle with fear.
The first thing that fear really can’t stand…the one super hero that shoves fear into the corner and lets courage step in the ring…is connection. Fear loves loneliness. Fear loves isolation. But fear can’t stand people banding together to support each other’s work. Alone in our thoughts, we can talk ourselves out of the very essence of who we are and what we are here to do. But with connection, the voices around us can support and distract from fear.
I can’t tell you how many times I have watched a woman nod her head in workshops or events at The Hivery, simply by hearing someone else reflect something that she too was feeling. It’s as if a thought bubble rises above her to say, “I thought I was the only one…” and with that simple realization, the inner-fear voice has been hushed. It’s so much easier to be afraid when you’re all alone, with just you and your laptop. Often that voice that is telling you that you aren’t ready, aren’t prepared, aren’t good enough, or whatever list of no-good-very-bad-things is racing through your mind, can be quieted through connection with someone else.
The second thing fear isn’t crazy about is discipline (the artist formerly known as showing up). The repetition and commitment required to be your true self…it takes work. When you show up fully AGAIN, it’s that resilience that can knock the wind out of fear’s sails. I think back to my days as a ballet dancer when my favorite sound was the clink of my ring on the ballet barre when we were about to start class. That clink was the signal that I was home. Nothing could take me down if I simply overcame the resistance, and showed up. How I danced at class was barely the point…it was that I got there, every, single day, even when I didn’t feel like it, even when I felt like crap, even when it felt impossible. I showed up, and that very simple (yet complicated) action mattered deeply in my internal battle to put my best self out there.
Lastly, fear doesn’t like to hang out in sacred space. Fear likes to keep you feeling lost and out of sorts. Creating a space in your home or work environment (or enjoying your nook at The Hivery) is a critical piece of the concept behind Joseph Campbell’s bliss chamber.
“[Sacred space] is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.” — Joseph Campbell
Space is a metaphor and indication of how we live life. Beautiful spaces create invaluable, subconscious reminders that YOU are light-filled, expansive, filled with possibility, bold, visible, and beautiful in ways that are so much deeper than the surface. You are bright, with unexpected dashes of color. You are in a state of transformation. You are lofty, constantly changing, and filled with texture.You have the power to move the furniture around in your soul, and you will encounter chapters when the coffee spills all over the floor. You aren’t afraid to change it up, rearrange it, and create beauty in a different way. You’re not just “pretty”…that’s the exterior, which is lovely, but on its own, kinda’ boring. “Pretty” is incomplete, not the full story.
The deeper “space” that you are willing to inhabit, whether that’s through your connection with others, or your commitment to showing up for yourself, is the courage, fearlessness, kindness, humility, and compassion of what it means to be a human. You’re willing to go deeper and deeper into the truth of who you are. And that truth is beauty. Do not be afraid. Embody that deeper beauty. Take up space. And let fear step aside.