Where do you put the fear?

I’ve been sitting on a looonnnggg list of post drafts.  Incomplete paths of thought that just sit, waiting.  And I’m not really sure why they are incomplete, or waiting.  It’s just that I never quite feel they are finished, up to par, or worthy of sharing.  It’s something–another thing–on my list of parts of my life I want to improve.  This morning, I am feeling resolved to share the incomplete, because really, every single post and journal entry could be revisited and edited as I learn more and let things progress in my life.  But that isn’t the point of a journal.  My journal records where I am in the here and now so I can go back later and see just how far I have come and what my life is teaching me.

If you’re reading posts here, I think you’ll see a progression, and I hope, you’ll see my perfectly imperfect life experiences and nuances in thought as a springboard or connection to your own life experiences and lessons.  We are all more similar than perhaps we like to believe.  And that is a powerful thing to recognize.

I struggled with really severe stage fright as I was working on my violin performance degree.  It was debilitating, and yet something that taught me so much, and created a need in me to figure it out and harness it in a way that empowered my performances and actions.  That fight-or-flight response has never gone away, but I know what to do with it.  Without the discomfort and ease, I would feel numb and inauthentic.  The nervousness gives way to raw performances with real emotion, that often causes my heart to ache with gratitude and tears to come to my eyes.  No one else sees that, I don’t think, but it is this deep emotional struggle and sacredness that means the world to me.  And it isn’t just when I am on stage.  It wells up often when I practice, and manifests in other areas of my life when I am teaching, speaking, sharing things that are deeply personal.  That fight-or-flight response kicks in.  My insides vibrate and my outsides sweat, and yet, on the outside I can appear calm and collected.

I saw this quote on a screen shot of a magazine page, posted on Instagram this morning, and oh, how it speaks to me.

Where do you put the tired?

Everyone who runs the marathon gets tired.  Yet, there are no books called, “How to run without getting tired.”  That’s because you can’t. 

And everyone who takes their turn gets scared. 

So why is everyone always talking about how to do important work, give talks, make a ruckus without the fear?  Of course you’re going to be afraid.  The thing is, to finish the marathon, all you need to do is find a place to put the tired.  Not avoid it, merely put it somewhere. 

And the same is true for the important work we need to do.

It is not wrong to feel tired, nervous, scared, inadequate.  I have learned to feel these and find a place for them that spurs me on.  Do the hard thing.  Do it anyway.  Publish the incomplete posts.  Embrace the imperfect performance.  Use the stage fright!

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