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