Fear: A Third Option
I've been contemplating fear a lot lately as I stretch my usual boundaries. I've undertaken book talks - I get up in front of an audience of from 12 to 70 people and talk about the concepts in the book I have just published, The Co-Creation Handbook, for two hours. Even when I write those last two words - two hours - I feel shivers of fear flowing through my body. My eyes widen and brain freeze begins.
Not that I am new to teaching groups of people. For 20+ years now I have taught shamanic healing and journeying. The classes are on my home turf or at a favorite workshop venue in town. I have usually met most of the attendees beforehand. The material is not so much mine as has been handed down to me over the centuries through revered teachers. I add in material to keep it current and vibrant.
But this new phenomena, the book talk, takes me to strange venues in front of unfamiliar faces. The material is all mine.
As glamorous as this may sound, I, the introvert would rather stay home! Let those people find my book on the internet! Could I hire someone to represent me? Maybe an actor would love to take my spot!
I have watched my relationship with fear as I have undertaken this new venture. While I have no '100%-here-is-how-to-vanquish-fear' solution, I do have a few strategies that you, too, may find helpful.
1. Go back to the source. No, I am not talking about The Source of us all. I am referring to your core reason for doing what you are doing.
In my case, the reason I wrote the book: to help people co-create a more sustainable world and help people realize their visions. When I focus on this, I am pulled to my vision. My fear becomes less important .
2. Affirm why people are in the audience. They want to hear hope, they want skills, they want examples and a pathway.
I can provide that.
3. The Hmm Place. So instead of choosing between the usual options of fight or flight also known as RUN! and BUCK UP, LADY! JUST DO IT! there is an in-between place that I know as 'Hmmm. . .'
This state of Hmmm is the place of curiosity and allows me to see past my small mission of giving a book talk and into another possibility. As I ponder this opportunity to talk to people, I begin to wonder: what will it develop into, who will be affected, who will I meet, who will they meet, whose lives will be changed, and what greater purpose will I be serving?
I have developed a fondness for this in-between place of curiosity. In the Celtic mysteries, we know the in-between places are powerful, the places full of ripe but not yet settled upon possibilities. The veil between realities is thin. Options are plentiful. Time is at a standstill. We are neither yes or no, light nor dark, here nor there. Our perceptions are altered in the gathering shadows and the changing slant of the sunlight. We are both and everything. The mind/soul/body is searching, sending out the inquiry into the void and waiting for the answer.
It is in this moment of curiosity that we affirm we are more than our little selves. That we are not alone and the Universal Powers will answer.
In those moments when fear comes upon you and you feel alone, remember to be curious. Stand there for awhile on that threshold and wonder what will be.
Enjoy those in-between moments - for they lead to great possibilities.
Alida Birch February 25, 2015