One of the greatest expressions of joy in my life is through creativity. I believe creativity flows naturally from a heart that is overflowing…with love and joy, or angst. Either way. A healthy, safe way to allow your heart whispers to roam….
I actively look for creative inspiration…I want my creativity to fluorish, to fill my space, to touch every area of my life…..
Today I have a guest author who inspires me to play more, try new mediums, embrace life most fully. Many moons ago, she suggested finger painting, and the children and I along with anyone else in our clubhouse, have been fingerpaintiong our way to bliss….cool for my little family because we don’t like to purposely make a mess. Yet we are learning to make a “mess” in a fun, creative way….
Lisa’s blog Sacred Circle and newsletter encourages, inspires, motivates me to continue to try new and different. Here she is today to share with us her take on boldness/fearlessness. *And*, get this!!!! Lisa is offering one free coaching session, or $100 off of her retreat, to one lucky reader. Leave a comment about how you best express fearlessness and Lisa will pick the lucky winner. Since it is a holiday weekend, the contest will close June 2nd. So, leave a comment before June 2nd 9pm pacific time to be entered in the drawing to win. Thank you Lisa for your generosity, and for sharing here with us today!
—————————————————————————————————————————————————–“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.”
When Joy invited me to write a guest post for “Fearless Fun Friday,” I danced. I mean, give me an opportunity to make some kind of sense out of fear, and it becomes something personal. My intention for the year is Boldness, which might lead one to assume that I’m willing to take chances, live with audacity and courage, and jump from airplanes…. NOT! The truth is, fear visits me often. With two young kids, a fledging business in the process of learning to use its wings, and a pretty swell existence, how could it not? There’s the fear of something whisking it all away with one foul swoop, the fear of not living up to my own (sometimes unruly) expectations, the fear of kidnappers and car accidents, the fear of failure and even of being crazy successful.
The funny thing is, the more I got to thinking about fear and fearlessness, the more I realized that fear isn’t something to conquer or overcome or fix or get rid of, like we’re taught over and over again in our self-help, overprescribed-anti-anxiety-meds culture… and I’d even venture to say that fearlessness isn’t really the lack of fear, although perhaps it’s the closest word in the English language that can really describe what I’m getting at… To me, fearlessness is the moxie it takes to exist mindfully with fear, to feel the fear and keep moving forward anyhow, to maybe even stop for a brief tango with it and learn a lesson or two, and then carry on.
You see, we’ve all got ‘em… those pesky monsters that stop us dead in our tracks, make our feet stick to the ground as if they were smeared with crazy glue, and have us paralyzed in our comfort zones. They’re mischievous little buggers, hiding out in unexpected places ready to pounce like an ornery kitten. They can be so powerful that they can literally take our breath away and require us to hold paper bags up to our mouths, and so sneaky and subtle that somehow our lives begin to dissolve into our daily to-dos and a sense of mediocrity.
So, how, you might be wondering, do we keep moving forward with fear tugging at our sleeves, grasping at our ankles or constantly babbling scary notions into our ears? This is where the “fun” part comes in….
~ Invite the monsters in for tea. Sit ‘em down and entertain them with the juice of who you are, and then, as is proper with all guests, politely send them on their merry way with gratitude and their bellies full of chocolate chip cookies. Befriending our fear might sound like a radical, maybe even impossible idea, but it’s when we give our power over to our fear that it gets really scary. Ask anyone who experiences panic attacks, and they’ll likely agree that in most cases, the fear itself is much more terrifying than whatever triggered their response. Sitting with it, as uncomfortable as it might be, and allowing our awareness to unfold around what frightens us, gives us the ability to determine what is actually holding us back…. and it’s usually ourselves!
~ Be responsible response-able…. I’m not saying this in a preachy, parental way…. rather, I invite you to embrace your ability to respond in whatever way you choose. You can choose to collapse, become a victim, take tranquilizers and tune out on old Seinfeld reruns; you can blame others for how you feel; you can beat yourself up for feeling the fear to begin with… all to which I’d venture to ask, “how’s that working for you?” OR, you can choose what you want in your life and move toward it; you can honor yourself by choosing self-love over guilt, well-intended foibles and silly mistakes over perfection, and enoughness over lack; you can plaster your walls with empowering affirmations, hang out with positive folks, and imagine a shield of white light around you; you can look your fear in the eye and declare that it does not define who you are.
~ Dare to find meaning and value in your wildest imaginings. As author John Shedd once wrote, “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” What are you built for? Are you built for playing it safe and hiding away under the covers or for embarking on this adventure called life, even when the waves are a little rocky? Are you built for settling for less than what truly makes you happy or for ferocious dreaming and engaging in life on purpose and out loud? Are you built for wallowing in the judgments and expectations of others or for dancing to your own magnificent rhythm?
~ Infuse your life with clear intention. It’s easy to crumble in fear and forgo an adventure if we go at it in a piddly, wish washy way…. But when we have a clear intention, it’s like having a flashlight and a compass tucked inside your back pocket, and makes you ready for the next time that your fear comes a-courtin’… which indeed it will. A word of caution though- there’s an enormous difference between intention and goals…. While goals can be useful tools, they are more focused on how it’s all going to look in the end, once we’ve actually fulfilled them. Intention, on the other hand, acknowledges the fact that we’re all on a journey that really has no end, that we’re all works in progress, and it has the ability to fulfill you in this very moment. It could simply be a word or affirmation to return to over and over when you’ve fallen flat on your face, found yourself way off course or when you’ve spent an entire weekend wrapped up in your fear. It might be a phrase or even a poem that helps you feel safe and nurtured and brave. It might be a photograph that depicts the courageous you from back in the day. You’ve found the right intention when it causes butterflies to swarm into your belly, not just from fear or nervousness, but also from the excitement and joy of connecting to your own sparkly potential.
How do you embrace fearlessness in your life? I’d love to hear!
(And thank you, Joy, for the fun opportunity to visit with my monsters!)
Thank *you* Lisa. Please visit Lisa at Sacred Circle–check out her blog, retreat information, and sign up for her newsletter that will encourage you to embrace fun and joy in wonder filled ways…..
#1 by Evita on May 28, 2010 - 2:22 pm
Hi Joy and Lisa
Fun post! I really like Lisa how you explain fearlessness. It is so true, so often we get stopped in our tracks from doing so much that could be beneficial for us and the world, simply because we let fear get the better of us.
This may not be the best example, but my latest overcoming of fear, and I imagine this will be an ongoing one was climbing up a ladder to a second storey. Doesn’t seem like much, right? I remember in my teens thinking – I love climbing and stuff like that. And yet, I have gotten 3 different chances in the last say 5 years to climb a ladder – where there was a need to do something. And each time after about the fourth step, this fear gripped me. It was a foreign, weird and really interesting feeling. The feeling of fear is pretty foreign to me, at least consciously so these moments gave me a lot to think about. Anyway, each time I did make it up…. the harder part was getting back on the ladder and climbing down.
It is funny how fear can paralyze. Anyway, each time I talked my way through it, and all went well. Most importantly I asked myself why am I afraid? or what am I really afraid of? And some pretty awesome answers came.
Anyway, great weekend to both of you – enjoy the holiday 🙂
#2 by Lisa @ Sacred Circle on May 28, 2010 - 8:48 pm
Evita… speaking as someone who has a fear of heights, I think this is a great example! What sticks out for me the most is that you would never have known if you could move through that paralysis without trying… without venturing up that ladder anyway! Thanks for sharing!
#3 by The Exception on May 28, 2010 - 5:31 pm
Fear – I like to use it to motivate me to make choices and take action one way or another – to be more aware of where I am and what is going on in my life… to push the envelope open that much more.
I loved this post and intend to site it in a post of my own next week… fabulous and great ideas. The things that leave us feeling fear – often the things that need our attention… the monsters that need a little love and compassion so they they can move forward. I explain to my daughter that sometimes the courage is not climbing the mountain or living in another city in another country – it is facing the emotions within us and sitting with them and giving them voice and embracing them to send them on their way.
Have a wonderful weekend Lisa and Joy
#4 by Lisa @ Sacred Circle on May 28, 2010 - 8:55 pm
Oh yes, what a wonderful way to describe that… using fear as motivation for your own awareness and as a tool to stretch our hearts around what is… beautiful!
#5 by Jan on May 28, 2010 - 7:59 pm
Joy, thank you for hosting Lisa here. I’ve admired her “work” for a long time.
Lisa, I take sustenance from so many of the things you say here. Especially about being clear about your values, your intentions, and how you wish your life to unfold. For me, this clarity has come only when I have been able to access inner calm more regularly. It’s difficult to hold a vision when your body/mind is tense and ill at ease. When we are clear, our wisdom begins to shine through and wisdom is synonymous with fearlessness (at least in the Buddhist tradition). It does not mean never being “afraid.” It is about recognizing the fear for what it is and then making a choice about it. Thus, the term “spiritual warrior.”
Right now, I am feeling quite fearless about self-expression. Writing from a new (calm, clear) place within me after a 30-day sabbatical, continuing to simplify my life, and honing in on my passions. My writing feels very different than it did when I started my blog or even wrote some of my books. And because of all this I am (and will be) writing about what emboldens me and can embolden others – throwing off the “over-culture” and stepping out (which sometimes feels a bit risky, but that’s OK) to fully commit to your spiritual path, despite what others might say.
Joy is doing this beautifully and I am so proud of her. Lisa, you too. Isn’t life grand?
Love and joy to you both, Jan
#6 by Lisa @ Sacred Circle on May 28, 2010 - 9:02 pm
Jan, it’s such a gift to hear your words here and to reconnect… and I resonate so much with what you said about allowing your words to evolve into something that’s not necessarily what others want to hear … bravo! I am always mesmerized by what you write- it always brings me to that still, calm, wise place within me… and I look forward to seeing how it expands and evolves as you venture even deeper into boldness! Much love!
#7 by Sara on May 28, 2010 - 10:08 pm
Joy — Thank you for sharing Lisa with us:~)
Lisa — I loved this post and your suggestions, especially inviting the monsters to tea:~)
How I deal with fear is to find a way to laugh at it. Recently, I had a serious health scare about kidney cancer, which is a very difficult cancer to treat. It brought my most nasty fear monster out to taunt me with all the “what ifs.”
I had a long weekend before I would get the results of the CT scan and I was afraid.
The way I handled it was to first learn as much as I could about the illness. There wasn’t a lot of positive in what I learned. So, I wrote something called, “if it’s kidney cancer, the good news!” I wrote about the good things that could happen if I had this illness. It took some creative thinking:~)
My favorite of the various things I wrote was this one: “I will probably be the first in my blogging community to determine if there is really something after death…too bad I will not be able to write about it.”
Everything I wrote made me smile or laugh. Somehow this eased my fear. I can’t say it took it totally away, but I was able to sit with it without screaming:~)
It turned out that I was okay. I’ve saved this writing and it still makes me laugh when I read it. It reminds me that humor is one my strongest strengths and it can quiet even my worst fear monsters!
Thanks for this post. I really enjoyed it:~)
#8 by Lisa @ Sacred Circle on May 29, 2010 - 12:27 am
Sara… what courage it took you to play with your fear as you did… I find it so very inspiring! I’m so glad that you are healthy so that you can share more of your juicy humor with us…. what a treasure of a story to look back on in the years to come!
#9 by Tess The Bold Life on May 28, 2010 - 11:23 pm
This is fantastic. In fact if you expand on this I’d buy your book. Who doesn’t want an invitation to Tango with fear.
I was at my cottage in the spring and my husband wanted to clean our sky light windows and sweep the oak tree branches off the roof. I insisted on doing it because I tried the year before, got to the top of the ladder and came back down too scared.
This time I got up on the roof and slid on my but over the the windows because I was to afraid to stand. After washing one window I actually thought it was “fun.” So I did stand and walk to the next window. The to the other side of the roof. Then I asked him for a broom to sweep the branches and leaves off. Ha, now I’m feeling down right cockey;) I did it, I cleaned the windows and swept the roof at 56 years old! Yippeeee!
One way I dance with fear is to paint my fear…what I feel it would look like. Then I set the painting in front of myself and with my dominant hand ask fear, “What do you have to teach me.” Then I aswer the fear with my non dominant hand.
The results are amazing.
I’ve done this with grown men in therapy and they’ve been amazed as well. Great post…thanks Joy!
#10 by Lisa @ Sacred Circle on May 29, 2010 - 12:30 am
Tess… I’m workin’ on that book… I’ll let you know when it’s once it’s on the best seller list… ; ) I love, love, love that you paint your fear…. while I don’t think you’d catch me up on that roof, I would smear paint any day! : )
#11 by Hilary on May 29, 2010 - 7:50 am
Hi Joy .. good to see Lisa here .. Hi Lisa .. I love the way you describe fear .. moxie – never heard of it before .. a carbonated drink .. fizzing with fear … yet we exist with the bubbles spattering our face .. fear faces us full on – yet if we can get past it, or at least start dealing with it .. it dissipates, til it’s finally gone. As you say a brief tango with it .. lovely description while we learn those lessons .. get to the oncoming fear first, and do something, so that’s wave of anxiety is lessened and the waves are smaller and lessened.
Pesky monsters – lovely name .. and I can see the point of understanding why fear builds up .. – we all live life in some form .. and it’s full of fear .. be prepared for it before it gets to you – work out what you can do to help yourself with the problem, not with the fear, .. so you’re on the way to beating it before that pesky monster creeps in & eats all the iced cakes ..
When we get past this difficult period with this fear .. this is the time to clear the decks, sort life out, live with a clean slate, be prepared always, do today what can be done – don’t leave for tomorrow, don’t let ourselves drop back into the morass where fear might penetrate ..
Lisa – what you’re saying here is so helpful .. the above is how I’ve/I am getting through this period of my life .. I think forward, and know that they can’t shoot me, and I will rise from the ashes .. and I relate to lots of others who are in a much worse situation than I am – so with these thoughts I really have to push forward and deal with things and ask for help where I need it .. there’s always light at the end of the tunnel – unless we ourselves put up the shutters, or smother it .. open ourselves up and ‘be not frightened’ there’s hope for us all .. and that light ..
Great post – loved it – thanks Joy and Lisa .. have lovely long weekends .. Hilary
#12 by Lisa @ Sacred Circle on May 29, 2010 - 12:57 pm
Oh, what memories you’ve brought back of the Moxie in a bright orange can…. my brother used to drink that stuff when we were kids~ and you certainly had to be fearless (or adventurous) to drink it… it tasted like oh, so bitter cough syrup!
I also think it’s beautiful how you have taken these words and wrapped them around you like a blanket… know that you are supported and loved…. your courage is inspiring!
#13 by Lance on May 29, 2010 - 11:23 am
Have a WONDERFUL weekend!
It’s GREAT to meet you! Fear. Ahhh….a four letter word that can sometimes paralyze our actions. Embracing that fear, though….can take us beyond it. I love what Evita shared, as I can so relate. That fear of heights. And yet….getting on that ladder and climbing anyway – can really help to get beyond that. And perhaps that’s what it’s like for life in general. We have a “fear”, and we take those steps anyway…and we CAN conquer it.
Me? I have this fear of putting myself “out there” in the world…and looking foolish. Sure, I can look “foolish” in some sort of fun way. All in fun…not a problem. It’s in those moments that feel more “important” that this is a challenge. And I suppose all the moments of my life are “important”…just as each person’s moments are for them. So, it’s in those moments – for me – where I feel like this could be a time where I might “flop”…and I still go out there and do it – that it feels like I’m conquering that fear. Do I always do that? No. I know I can do better at conquering this “fear”. And in the moments when I do…whether I succeed or “flop”…the real truth is: I come out of it better. Every time. (now…to embrace that idea…that there is so much good in however it all turns out!!!) (I’ll work on that one!!!)
#14 by Lisa @ Sacred Circle on May 29, 2010 - 1:11 pm
Oh, how I know what you mean regarding that pesky fear of looking foolish… I had my very first radio interview yesterday, and I was a nervous wreck! During each break we had, I was spraying rescue remedy in my face, and coming back to my intention of being authentic, no matter how silly I sounded. Yes, the whole adventure is doing it anyhow… which no one does all the time, and no one does perfectly…. but tuning into the idea that when we take the risk, we’re always better off, well, that’s just juicy! 🙂
#15 by Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord on June 1, 2010 - 11:01 am
What a wonderful guest post about something that stops every single one of us in our tracks at times… sometimes for a moment, sometimes for (seemingly) ever.
I’ve never been one to embrace discomfort, so many times when I’ve felt fear in my life, I’ve turned toward pleasure-inducing coping mechanisms. And sometimes I still do. There are certain fears that are so subtle and pervasive, that I cannot do a thing but recognize my familiar pattern of running away from them. But I count it as progress that I DO recognize that pattern — that I’m awake enough to see what I’m doing, even if I choose to do it anyway.
Rather than focus on fear, I do my best to simply remember love. I’ve heard that fear and love are opposites, so rather than “face fear,” I let love lead me. That always seems to take me where I need to go.
Lisa – thank you for sharing your wisdom here, and Joy, thank YOU for bringing her positivity and fresh perspective to your awesome blog.
#16 by Lisa @ Sacred Circle on June 2, 2010 - 11:09 am
Meghan… Can you imagine what the world would be like if we all made choices out of love rather than fear?? How mind boggling, heart stretching, and just downright beautiful. 🙂
And bravo to you for recognizing your patterns around fear…. that is most absolutely one of the hardest parts of the journey!
#17 by Lisa @ Sacred Circle on June 4, 2010 - 2:28 pm
I want to thank everyone for their beautiful comments on my blogpost!!!! It’s time to pick a winner… All of the comments touched me very deeply, so the only way I can think to pick one winner is to do it completely randomly…. so I have my grandmother’s hat here with me, (the one I wear when I want to feel especially FEARLESS!), and I have written all of your names on a little slips of paper and tossed ’em in.
Ready? Here we go…. shuffle… shuffle…. shuffle…. and the winner is…
Wait a minute, I picked two… hmmmm…. oh, what the heck… we have two winners… Megan and Sara! Woohoo! As the winners, you two can either have a coaching session with me, or come to my retreat for an extremely low rate of $200 (which only covers your room and board~ the retreat itself is my gift to you)…. it’s totally up to you! (and if you’d prefer not to have either, you are welcome to pass this opportunity on to someone you think might benefit!) You can check out the details of my retreat at: http://www.sacredcirclecreativecoaching.com/Retreats.html
and my coaching at:
I am excited to possibly have the opportunity to connect with you further!!!! So let’s touch base, Sara and Megan…. you can email me at Lisa@sacredcirclecreativecoaching.com and we’ll figure out the details….
Thank you everybody!!!!