Tuesday night... Idea Potluck in Chicago. 6 minutes. 8 speakers. I was nervous. I was sharing something new, something that made me feel vulnerable... it felt really big for me - imposter syndrome popped up: who are you to speak about this topic? What do you know about fear and love? But I took a giant deep breath, focused on all that I do know, how I feel called to share this, and went for it. It was fantastic - the crowd's applause made me feel so alive and supported. I hope you enjoy it:
I believe we’re all born as a blank canvas. The blank canvas represents pure love, free from fear. We are full of joy. Sure, as babies we cried over dirty diapers and hunger, but as soon as our parents took care of us, we started smiling again.
As kids, our canvas started to look like the start of a Jackson Pollack painting, each splatter of paint representing a fear story… don’t jump off the top bunk, don’t put your hand on the stove. But we were still eager to try almost anything!
There was nothing standing in our way, we hadn’t yet heard all of the stories we know today, stories of what could happen if… you took an emotional risk...
- Risk of loving… there could be heartbreak or rejection
- Risk of public speaking… they could laugh at me
- Risk of sharing your deepest thoughts with another person… they could judge me
- Risk of asking for help… they may not follow through or judge me for not being able to do it all
Whether we took these risks and got hurt, or someone else’s story of pain became our own, these become the stories we believe, the stories that shape our thoughts and actions. By our 20s or 30s, our canvas may have become the full Pollack painting. Mine did.
But why is fear such a bad thing when it exists to protect us?
Because fear can isolate us from human emotion and connection. It can cause us to feel different from each other, when in fact, we’re really all very similar. We force ourselves to fit into “societally accepted boxes” like:
- The always “say yes and appear busy” box
- The how women should look and act box
- The what success looks like box, etc… you get the idea
Staying contained in those boxes can seem more comfortable than dipping even a pinky toe outside, even if we know we’re not happy. The boxes simulate connection and safety, but in reality, if we aren’t being our authentic selves, are we really connecting? Or do we just feel alone in our boxes?
I know I did….
...Until my boxes exploded, all at once. The fear was too much. It was all consuming, insomnia, anxiety and even panic inducing. I had to start releasing it. From the fear of living, to the fear of dying, the fear of not loving, the fear of feeling completely out of control. I felt suffocated.
But I’m forever grateful for this explosion. I now look at it with love and acceptance. The fear was sending me a message… “fitting into boxes is not working for you, you need to listen to your intuition and do what feels right to you.” In other words, you need to open up to love. It will heal you. It will lead you to your most authentic, peaceful self, who is capable of more than you ever dreamed. And the moment I opened to love, my life began.
So you may be saying, I thankfully don’t feel like I’m going to explode, what can I learn from this woman? You can learn that no one is immune to fear, and we all can choose to love more.
So how do we identify the areas of our life where we can love more? What does love look like?
I’ll share a few examples with you and if you feel tension in your body as I say any of these, these may be clues for you… places to focus on that will create more peace within yourself and will have a ripple effect on those around you.
- Love is having self-compassion for all facets of you, your strengths and accomplishments, but also your wounds, insecurities, mistakes, etc...
- Believing you are worthy of your dreams
- Asking WHY someone may have road rage towards you
- And choosing to not mirror their anger back at them
- It’s choosing to listen intently and calmly to WHY someone’s views are different from your own
- Love is dropping the guilt for feeling privileged and starting to take action
- Welcoming money and abundance into your life
- Searching for your authentic gifts and sharing them with the world
- Love is accepting people as “different than,” and letting go of the idea of being “better than” anyone. We are all on our own journeys.
- Love is putting an end to the struggle, life doesn’t have to be a struggle; welcome the idea of leading with joy.
- All of this is easier said than done. So how do you start? Well, choose one thing you felt tension towards. Seek to understand why you feel that tension, get curious about it. Are you out of alignment with your greatest wants and dreams? What can you do to take small steps to get there?
As we look at the world today, there is a lot to fear. Lots of scary, unfortunate, and painful things happening. There is hatred. We must not hate back. We must come together to execute dreams of peace, connection, unity and oneness. As Martin Luther King so wisely said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Choosing love is not the easy route, but the cost of letting fear win is great, let’s work together to love more. It is indeed our choice.
Lots of love to you,