As time ticks on, and our patience gets ever tested, this corona lockdown life we currently exist in, brings up many, many, MANY questions. What will our future look like? Can I see myself doing what I was doing before all this? Will my plans still work? Do I want to go back to that? Is it even possible to? What do I want? How do I see myself/life? How will I cope with the change? What, how, when, how, when what, and sure, lets throw in a few whys for the laugh shall we?? … I’m getting PRETTY peeved with these merrygorounders. I’m just busy…Ok! Busy avoiding shit over here.
Sitting down to a cup of tea/about to fall asleep/feeling good about your day/having a little moment of self congratulations are you? Whoosh, out comes the rug from under your comfortable seat, Cumulonimbus irrational fear clouds come rolling on it. Hello, Hi, Hey, Howzit, Yup Yup IT ME. You were comfortable, it was the perfect invitation, right?!! These guys need answers,and they need them NOW! We have a list of QUESTIONS, adjusts glasses, glances at impossibly long clipboard list, clears throat…and away we go, up onto the carousel we climb. Sound familiar?
I am usually pretty good at proaction, it’s one of my combat tools, do something about it, go. Recently it is becoming harder, and harder to remain on it, consistently up in the face of the uncertain limbo. I find it interesting. Yes, I say interesting. Well because it is interesting…interesting to see what comes up, and how I/we behave. It really is an extreme sport in trying to maintain a baseline. Routine is soooo routine, habits ….pith PULEEZE, these good habits are starting to tweak the nips right off my bad habits, seriously can good habits turn into bad habits…hello attachment!
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve spent some of my time listening to various experts on fear, extreme change, procrastination and other fun things, like clouds and storms. Fun fact; clouds can’t be square, but they are flat at the bottom, like, ALL of them are flat at the bottom, NO exceptions. Your welcome.
Firstly I listened to an interview with Mary Poffenroth a fearologist on the ologies podcast. She talks about categorising fear. We have two major categories Factual and Fictional. The majority of privileged people’s fears are Fictional. I learned that stress is just another word for fear. Wow. Mind blown! Chew on that for a moment! Fictional fears (irrational, non fact, backed up by our evil story telling narrator,(that guy again!)) is split into a further two categories. They are; Fear of not being enough. Or. Fear of not being in control. Everything can be put into either one of these two. Using this simple identification system is so helpful in understanding our fears. I really connected with it. It helps to lead us away from the baby storm clouds forming, and moves us forward toward calm. I’ve already been putting this to practice. Cue me levitating off into the sunset, hovering over a beautifully pink and sherbert orange stratus cloud, more than likely seen to be holding the perfect situational mudra. Lets envision it folks, it will be.
Another tool she developed and uses is RIA;
R – recognising the fear.
I – Identifying it; Name it to Claim it.
A – Address it, strategies and outcomes.
This helps bring in more awareness around moments when a fear begins to rear its ugly head. Maybe we are embarrassed about the fear, or ashamed of our anger response. We can also reflect back and use it in the aftermath to work through what just happened.
In addition to Mary’s gems, I wanted to share with you an exercise I did on my fears. I heard about it in a Tim Ferris interview with Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)…a Byron Katie style exercise. You begin by inviting your fears to write, spilling everything out onto that page, listening politely, and when you are done, thank your fears for sharing, and kindly ask them to step aside, and invite wisdom to come and write down what it thinks about what fear had to say. We hold many fictional fears, so this exercise can be repeated.
In the next paragraph I share with you what came up for me in doing this exercise. I feel very vulnerable sharing these fears, very exposed. On reading them back to myself it became easy to see and distinguish them from what I know and really, truly feel. They are fears, they are irrational, utter scare tactics of the mind, and bear no resemblance to how I feel about the people in my life. They are not fact or true. I acknowledge these are very privileged types of fears and that I am lucky to own this particular set. I hope that by reading this, you feel supported, connected, and safe and realise that we all have fears, and that is all they are, fears.
I am afraid of not meeting and finding my soulmate. I am afraid my vision or ideal holds me back, I want to be both connected and physically attracted, to have harmony in giving and receiving. I am afraid I will not find that. I am afraid that wanting a partnership and a romantic love is not what I should be looking for and my ego tells me I am shallow and weak and I should go on being alone, and do more for myself and not focus on something that brings me pain. I am afraid my hard work is never hard enough or that I don’t ever do enough. I am afraid I won’t ever improve, master, grow, change or reach a level I would like to be at. I am afraid I am bad or that I am not genuine enough. I am afraid I am not seen, heard or valued. I am afraid I won’t be successful and I will continue on this limbo of non mastery at mid to low level white noise. I am afraid my ego wants validation too much from the outside and that I can’t give myself enough. I am afraid that people think I am stupid and that I don’t know anything. I am afraid people think I am awkward and weird and that I am annoying and too much. I am afraid of what will become of me, of where I will be. I am afraid to go back to Ireland where I feel less than good enough, unsupported, unheard, unseen, unrecognised, unloved and under appreciated. I am afraid.
Ok, I have heard your fears, and thank you for sharing. I kindly ask you to step aside and invite wisdom in to write down what it thinks, and make room for something else so I can move forward.
It is human to seek and wish for connection with another, for companionship and to want love to be shared. Attraction and connection build as you allow yourself to be open to getting to know a person before pegging it to a romance. It’s ok to take time to meet and find a person. You can support yourself by being kind and getting to know yourself, and holding dear the platonic and familial connections that are loving in your life. Allow that love to support, lift and carry you along.
You work hard, daily and consistently. When you begin to compare your journey, or life position to another you lose sight of your own work, you miss the seeds growing, the method with which you plant them, how you do grow, and that your curves of success are beautifully unfurling and blooming as you keep shining your energies upon them. Keep watering, tending and caring for your dreams. If you love yourself, you can do more for yourself; in seeing, believing, allowing, opening, succeeding, living, connecting, ending and beginning again and again.
You are not bad, know you are good, you are only afraid of not being perfectly good. You are human; you care, and you dont care, you love and you anger, you fight and you make peace, you shout and you stay silent, you ask and you respond, you react and you stay present, you inhale and you exhale, you know things and you dont know things, you are smart and you are stupid, you are playful and you are serious. You can and you can’t. You are.
Everything is always changing, nothing remains the same, down to our cellular level, we are never the same from one moment to the next, this is a constant. Let go of limbo, remain present in each step. It is natural to seek validation or support for our efforts, but you can support yourself with the knowledge that everyday is a new day and another opportunity to show up for yourself in whatever small way that you can. Acknowledge the support network around you, and do not allow validation to become a fence that keeps you penned in.
It is not your business what other people think of you. You will never please everyone or be everyone’s cup of tea. Be your own cup of tea, just how you like it. The ones who don’t get you, understand or respect you, are not your people, let them go. Your light will bring forth the people with whom you were meant to connect, meet, learn from, be with, love and support.
You cannot fear what has not yet happened or spend time worrying about a complete unknown, as it is just that; unknown. Everything that you do now, all your work and love will benefit and help that future Ruth figure out her way as she goes. The seed grows roots and she grows strong.
Let go of trauma and release it from Ireland, do not attach the two. They are separate. Things and events happen, it doesn’t change the good of the past into one big blob of doom. There will be many disappointments in life, it is our work to not hold them close to our hearts, but to set them free, cast them up into the winds, let them disperse and scatter, dismantle and come back to the earth as pure energy, untainted.
You are loved. You are supported. You are appreciated. You are heard. You are respected. You are enough.
Phew! So that was it. Very emotional, and uncomfortable seeing it up here. Trivial but also meaningful. I would love to hear if any of you have tried this before, or how you get on if you try it out. Some really simple tools there to try help us thrash through the woody inner forest, shine a little light in, making us some more space. Lets grow some room for freer spacious energy to flow in.
One thought on “Can you squish it? Yes you can!”
Very wide ranging Ruth, as you say, the times we’re in seem to magnify our uncertainties and make us doubt ourselves more, you’re exploring all the avenues as best you can, you’ll get there in your own time. Dax
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