In the first chapter of Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, she talks about fear in a really relateable way, we all deal with fear in some way, it’s ingrained in our animal instincts.
She talks about how she was a sensitive child and how she overcame her irrational fears through family life.
I too have a similar story, it starts as a child growing up and though to my early twenties when I’d left home and creativity was always in use.
When I was growing up, I didn’t like going in lifts, I wasn’t afraid of getting trapped in their, in fact that’s a nice concept being still in one place, warm and dry. I was fearful of the doors closing on me because that seemed highly likely, same with automatic doors. I didn’t communicate that and it happened that my family got the stairs a lot and through experience no doors closed on me – hooray! I was also scared of the unknown but in tiny doses, like staying somewhere new with different shower heads, I would avoid them till I had to use them, what if it went everywhere? What if I couldn’t turn it off? Here I developed trust through experience.
Another thing I noticed was I had a really bad sense of direction, I could easily find my way somewhere but couldn’t on the way back. So I would constantly find myself in – how am I going to get out of here I wonder state. Again over time I’ve learnt to trust and present moment awareness is a great thing, to be able to say, I’m not lost I’m walking. To stay calm and use my imagination for better purposes like art making.
Throughout my twenties I was in a wonderful but whirlwind relationship that really helped me grow and I read a lot of personal development books. He saw my fear and made sure I did the the thing I was most fearful of. Once I got to dance class for the first time,froze and he moved me forward and said ‘Er, she’s here to dance’ from there I learnt to belly dance and performed in a show.
Tony Robbin’s, Wayne Dyer, Martha Beck and especially Susan Jeffers – Feel the fear and do it anyway are brilliant authors on seeing through personal blocks.
I used to be fearful on the phone talking too and with his encouragement I just did it again and again. Gary Vayner Chuck once showed this to people, he called someone up said ‘Hi I’m interested in…..Ok thanks that’s great!’ Then finished by saying see, it just took a phone call, what are they going to do shoot you through the phone?
Sometimes, mostly all times you will steer yourself through discomfort to get to where your sailing to.
More recently, with the assistance of Kundalini Yoga practice, I shed a lot of stuff and became more open to be myself in any situation.
Though as I used to identify with anxiety and fear, it still came up and I’ve learnt through experience that unless I move forward I will just be in the same place, same environment and experiencing the same thing.
Like when I first went to my local Gurdwara (Sikh Temple) on my own, I did the ‘What’s the worst thing that can happen’ exercise and just walked in ‘Hi I’m here for Simran and Kirtan’. I wouldn’t recommend that exercise for everyone but it sure helps in letting go, going forward and is a small act of surrender in itself.
When I started driving to say I was a nervous driver was an understatement though if I was to do my Yoga training- I drove, a Sikhi camp 100 miles away-I drove, Katha in West London-I drove, get new furniture from a super busy store with tight parking-I drove. I had to force myself to go, feel the fear and do it anyway to expand my experience. Through doing that I did my Kundalini level 1 training, found Sangat and saw more as doable than doubtful.
The same goes when I went by coach on a solo trip to Birmingham, train to Edinburgh and flew to visit Prague for 48 hours, I must have seemed like the most nervous turbaned person but I was out doing something new, trusting strangers on my path and God would guide my way on.
So back to my original point, the title and inspiration of this post – Fear is boring. It really is, if you let it consume you, you too will experience the same over and over. I really like the notion that people change their way of thinking or being either by frustration or inspiration. Or through feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
Think about it.
When did you change something because it just frustrated you to carry on that way, or you felt immense inspiration or came conscious of the fear that developed you saw it and walked straight through?
As with these experiences you can use them when fear comes up in creativity, the essence of the chapter in the book all about creative living beyond fear Elizabeth Gilbert encourages writing a letter to fear, recognising that it’s right there along with you and you keep going.
I don’t think it’s an aim to become fearless, that’s a whole post in it self in Gurbani it’s said Nirbou Nirvair or no fear no hate. But break down the word fearless to fear-less. Small acts of bravery go a long way in expanding yourself and experience of life.
Finding your way through fear is a transferable skill for creative living and art making no matter what.