Step into the water

the water’s just fine

step into the water

the water’s just fine

let me hold you up

with these arms of mine

Learning to swim in water that can cover you up.  Some take to it just like fish; others, it takes work, or becomes a fear.   Many things in our lives, ordinary to some can become fears for any of us.  I had one, ok, well probably more than one, I’m working on them. . .  I had a fear that’s supposed to be the most common:  Fear of public speaking.  Mine was fear of any type of public performance, and it had enlarged to panic stage.

I even went to a hypnotherapist, recommended by a friend.  He was a psychologist/hypnotherapist and asked me why now did I want to conquer this fear.  I certainly didn’t need to, he said.  He said there wouldn’t be much reason for public performances in my life.  So, why put myself through this?  Because.  Because I am a poet, who has opportunities to read sometimes.  Because I had started practicing taekwondo and you have to perform in public to earn your successive belts.  Because I was tired of the fear itself.  It felt like drowning, something covering me up.

A friend told me to pray about it.  I had done that one for about 30+ years – oh, I know, it was never quite the right praying I was giving it – always someone had another suggestion for how I could do that right.  It was painful and a frustration, accusing and punishing myself over and over.

One night, I watched a PBS Charlie Rose special on the brain.  There it was.  Talking about emotion, fear, where in the brain that wiring is.  I had just recently begun meditation, still holding back a little from earnest, but getting there.  The next morning, I sat in meditation, contemplating what I had heard the night before.  That fear was an experience and then repeated inside me until it reached its current proportions.  Hmm. . .  I sat and watched fear.  At that point, I believed I had to get rid of the fear to perform.  So, I sat and watched, imagined the experience of performing my taekwondo form in front of an audience.   No.

A few days later, I sat down for what had become my usual early morning meditation.  Practiced my breathing, and what came up?  That subject, again!  Fear.  This time, it was very clear.  There was no such thing with an existence outside me.  I didn’t have to get rid of anything.  I could accept that I was afraid PERIOD.  That I didn’t like public performing, and had a fear of it.  I could still go, I could still do my form and earn my belt.  I had worked so hard for it.  There was only one who denied me  – ME.  I could set my boundaries for this.  I could be afraid and still perform when I chose to.  I didn’t ever have to like performing, just to do it when I wanted to, and not when I didn’t.  I didn’t have to let it hold me back.

It was a big step for me.  I was still working out the many ways that I was in control of my life.  I had, for a long time, believed things and people external to me had more control than I did.  This was the beginning of the end of that.  That’s something to celebrate.   I do every day.  And, I pass the message on:  Nothing outside of you determines you.  You can’t control others; you can’t control circumstances or events.  You don’t need to.  Just work on you.  How you perceive and accept what does come into your life.  You don’t have to be rid of a fear to loosen its grip.

Open wide that ocean, let’s go for a swim.

Thank you for stopping by.  Lilie


3 thoughts on “HOW TO AVOID DROWNING

  1. janbeek says:

    The water’s fine!! Thanks for the invite!

  2. You know, many of us choose to ignore their fears, thinking that avoiding situations that can cause that fear would be the easiest most common approach to this problem these days. and denial is a big part of it.

    I believe that time teaches us how we can face our fears, learning from our experiences and reflecting on it is one of the best approaches to calm that monster inside of us, eager to get out and confess his fears… do you think that day will come, where we are all able to face our fears…regardless we win or not, reminds a question to be answered by each and every one of us..

    thanks for sharing..

    • This is beautiful, Hussein. Thank you. That is a question. It is the one that made me ok with whatever the outcome would be. Gave me courage, to act even though fearful. And, sometimes to choose not to, to say ‘no’ to the experience on my terms, rather than fleeing from it. I hope your posts, and mine, might make even one person think, ask the question and be closer to freedom. Again, thank you for your thoughtful, beautiful writing.

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