Tag Archives: Fear

Feeling feelings. Who’d’a thunk?

I woke up today with overwhelming heartsickness incredibly reminiscent of mornings back in 2003. In high school, I always had a crush on someone, but never the nerve to tell any of them. Typical, I suppose.

One of those precious objects of my affection later became a good friend… and later stopped speaking to me cold turkey for a reason that continues to elude me. And I dreamt of him last night.

I don’t know, I guess it’s fine. I tell myself that sometimes people need life upgrades and occasionally it means shedding friendships that aren’t working for them anymore. I’ve done it myself, and I’m okay with it. Except that, despite knowing better, it vaguely leaves me feeling like I’m the place from which, and not TO which, people upgrade. Also, I miss him. I don’t usually notice, but today I have the emotional field of a 14-year-old, and I do.

I’m doing my life coaching certification course right now, and I’ve also been studying a lot of spiritual stuff. I know that any sadness or fear I feel is the result of a mind construct and does not actually reflect anything “bad” happening outside of me. And that awareness is good.

But I think I’ve been coaching myself too harshly. I feel the awfulness and I immediately get to work finding better feeling thoughts. It works, but only temporarily; it doesn’t take long before I find myself crashing back down to where I started. I’ve been afraid of my fear and depression, and by running away I reinforce the idea that something in those depths is true, that something there can destroy me… and it can’t.

The holidays have been tough for me, as they are for so many others. I have the intellectual awareness that there is much to appreciate, but sometimes my feelings don’t come along for that ride. So, along with daily yoga and meditation, I’ve been experimenting with feeling my dark feelings, even if it means retreating to my room and crying for a few minutes to release them.

I know. This can be difficult to do while, say, the family is opening presents or having dinner. You don’t want to be noticed, you don’t want to be consoled.

During the holidays, the good cheer either lassos you right into it, or makes you hyper aware of how far you are from happiness. The world polarizes at this time of year.

The truth is, though, we never are that far from happiness. It really is a choice, and even though that can seem heavy and unfair, I accept the challenge. Today is a great illustration of the effect of focus: I focused on someone who isn’t normally part of my thoughts, and here I am feeling like a teenager again.

Though I’m still not sure what I will find by steeping in it, I really feel like my work now is to stop being afraid of sadness, to stop trying to move out of it prematurely. To feel it, honour it, release it, and then to have a piece of chocolate cake.

Merry Christmas, friends. xox

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Beautiful poem about following your heart and the consequences of weakness in the face of adversity.

ocaroline

The water makes peace with you tonight,
and sailing below the eager starlight,
you can check your compass
and your maps with care.

Your finger can tap
this point and that,
and slide against a winding river,
but it’s your heart that must choose the path
with a rhythm it can follow
and you sigh,
for tonight,
the rhythm won’t be found.

With shameful blood
and quivering breath
you force your compass closed
and your wide-eyed thoughts
to rest.

Now out your open mouth
climbs Uncertainty
(who seldom sleeps)
to take the wheel
and he steers toward the land,
your destination forgot.

Hungry hands swarm to pull you in.
Dozens of glowing, slender bodies,
nightmares in white nightgowns,
agitated and elegant
whispering hexes disguised under a melody.

The ocean’s lips roll open
and fall shut at the poison shore,
hesitating to speak,
trying to argue a lost case.
You wake…

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Overcoming Disability — An Inspiring TEDx Story

A tear-jerker.

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March 4, 2012 · 8:25 pm

Cross Off a Dream

In following with yesterday’s post, I’d like to keep talking about lists; but, this time I want to talk about the stuff you haven’t forgotten about–the stuff you can’t forget about.

So, you think you’d like to take a photography class. You put it on the list. You throw away the list, but you still wake up feeling an inclination to Google search “photography classes in my area.” You have a shower instead and forget about it. While making breakfast, you remember what you had wanted to do when you woke up, but now you’re late for work so it’ll have to wait. It’s not important anyway. It probably wouldn’t even be that much fun, and you don’t have an extra couple hundred bucks to spare. You don’t have a talent, either–you have a Flickr account but it pales in comparison to most. You leave home, satisfied with your application of logic, but somehow your emotions aren’t soaring. Life continues as it has for the past month, week, year, and you’re bored as hell. What could you possibly do to change the status quo? Photography? No–remember? You ruled that out for many good reasons. Something else will come to you. Something much better.

The topic of photography keeps coming up. Opportunities to learn about it present themselves and pass you by. You complain to your friends about how busy you are, about how little time you have to do the things you love–for example, you’d take a photography course if you could, but of course you can’t. You create an increasingly greater distance between you and your idea; you put it on a pedestal when it had originally been accessible through Google (you’ve forgotten about that–you’re now somehow under the impression that you’d need to complete and application and submit a portfolio, and there’s no time for that!). And you stagnate.

Time might be the problem. But even if it is, consider that it isn’t.

Desires don’t have to be very grand to qualify as dreams, nor do dreams have to be very grand to qualify as scary. Why do our dreams scare us? Let me share with you my answers to the big “What Ifs”.

What if I find out I have no talent?
What if it isn’t fun?
What if it turns out to be a waste of money?
What if I don’t learn anything?
What if I have nothing left after this?

If you have no talent, then you have no talent. Wouldn’t you rather find out now so you can move on to trying something else? To finding a real talent? In any case, you probably won’t know for sure until you’ve tried it a few times. Everyone sucks at the beginning.

Also, you might still enjoy the course even if you aren’t particularly gifted. But if you don’t, then you don’t–but I bet that it’d be more fun than you’re having right now. Plus, regardless of the fun rating of an activity, putting yourself in a new environment often busts open some secret thought-doors in your brain, and that, in and of itself, is probably worth the money. Not to mention that your excuse-making will stop, your guilt will lift, your mind will stop nagging you, the pity party will end and you’ll feel more empowered.

Of course, you can do a bit of casual research on a class (don’t let it consume you). But whether you do this or not, it could turn out to be bad. The teacher could have changed since the review was written, and different students want different things from a class, so opinions are biased. To avoid “learning nothing,” make sure the class caters to your skill level. If you’re a beginner, call and make sure the material won’t go over your head; if you’re not, ask what the class covers and see what corresponds to what you don’t already know. If you’re still worried, ask about a refund policy.

What is most debilitating, for me at least, is how blinding a dream is. I tend to run too many thought-experiments and hinge my plans on the outcomes of situations that haven’t happened yet. I daydream about my life and try to design it around what I think I might be good at. That would be fine if I stopped there and actually went out and did the stuff I put in my plan, but I tend to get carried away, planning further and further, until I’ve constructed a story that depends entirely on the outcomes of early variables. When I say that a dream is blinding, I really mean that it renders reasoning very black-and-white (which, especially to someone with depressive tendencies, is to be avoided at all costs); either things go as you’d love them to and your “dream life” actually happens, or they don’t and you’re nothing short of doomed.

This is a fallacy. What I discover, time and time again, is that for every dream I cross off my list, I discover either more dreams, different, or bigger ones. I’m pretty sure this example has been used many times, but it’s powerful: Where would Jimi Hendrix be if he never followed through with buying his first guitar (and even he probably sucked at the beginning)? He would have never built on that dream, it would have never grown, and he would have never seen the heights he reached. The only step you can see clearly is your next one, so take it and let it be inspired–because when you follow your inspiration, fun things happen.

There is never nothing left after this. These days, when I have a recurring thought (which I tag as a dream), I feel like I must follow through, if only to see what goodies lie beyond. Dreams are like babies: when you feed them, they grow, change, and nourish you back.

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Noticing Characters

Oh, man. I just came back from the most exhausting weekend ever. A friend of a friend (who is technically my friend too, I guess, but not really) invited a few people up to her cottage this weekend. You know when you visit someone you don’t know very well, and you’re afraid to touch anything around you? I was not really looking forward to the weekend for that reason, and because she’s kind of the high-strung type that wants to make you believe everything is great while she curses at you in her mind and holds a grudge for two years.

You can imagine the whole weekend was filled with pleases and thank-yous, and sorrys and figurative puke (on my part). But really, it wasn’t so bad, just kind of boring.

Because my mind wandered a lot, I had quite a few chances to think about what I want to accomplish in the next few months. I took an intro to improvisation class last month, and I think this is the beginning of an addiction. I’m finding myself attracted to anything that mentions theatre, actors, stories, movies. I’d always been a big movie buff, but for the past few years I’ve been holding back, entertaining the notion that there are more worthwhile things to do with my time. Now I feel like I need to majorly catch up, and the pull is strong.

I’ve experienced a lot, and at this point in my life, I’m almost completely okay with following my gut. I trust the person I’m becoming to do good for this world, so I might as well take the interesting route. What’s interesting usually comes easily, and so I suspect that I might have a couple latent talents in this field. I’m going to take another improv class, do some painting, and I’m also reading a playwriting book.

What my thoughts have been gravitating towards primarily is characters. It’s strange that it took me so long to put this into words, but now that I have, it’s extremely comforting: I am obsessed with characters. I have no idea why, but I love people and the mixture of characteristics a person can have. I love them in stories, I love them in real life, and I love watching how they interact with each other. I love how you can become any one of them if you understand them well enough. I love the idea that I don’t have to “choose” someone to be; I can be anyone I want, I can be someone different every single day, though I may need a script and stage to act out some characters in a secure manner (such as evil queens and such). Being so completely confused by the motivations of the people I was with this weekend reminded me how different people are, and how interesting it is to observe them.

I want to write way more about this, but I’m really tired. I need to blog more, because by the time I get to the computer, I don’t feel like elaborating.

In a nutshell, I feel like I’m bursting. I’m so excited about life, about change, I’m excited that I think I know how to make the things I’ve always found fascinating about this world happen to me. To me.

One thing: I’ve been scared that almost no one I know will follow me in the direction I want to go, and this weekend solidified that fear. On a relaxing, cottage getaway with most of my friends in this city, I did not feel as though one of them was on the same page as me. I didn’t feel like they were my friends, like they accepted me for where I’m at right now.

I feel alone, and I’m terrified. There’s a tea party on the roof and I’m jumping off the edge.

I hope there’s a net at the bottom.

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