I talk for a living and that’s a good thing. I love to talk. It’s something I can’t not do. Writing? Not so much. See, something happens when I write that doesn’t happen when I talk. When I talk, the words just sort of fly out of me — poof, they’re out there — and there is no time for me to ‘erase’ them or judge them or edit them (and yes, this is sometimes an issue). But when I write, that small lapse of time between the thought forming and the reproduction of that thought onto paper is just enough time for the infernal, internal critic to make her presence known. I could tell you all the things she says, but really, I’m sure you have your own version of her and one is definitely enough. The currency of the critic is fear, and man is she rich.
All that being said, this whole blogging thing… I’ve managed to put it off for three years now. Three is a nice number, a number representing wholeness, so I’m declaring that I am wholly finished putting this off and that I shall, dammit, I shall blog regularly, happily, and truthfully. I’d be pleased if someone actually reads this. But here’s what’s true: It is a spiritual practice for me to actually do something that I’m afraid to do, and the joy is in the overcoming of the fear, not in anyone’s recognition of it.
One more thing about doing something that you may be afraid to do. A brilliant teacher of mine once told me, on an occasion of great personal fear, that I should celebrate that fear. I thought she was nuts but had just enough respect for her to listen to her reasoning. She went on explain to my doubting mind that fear is a sign that we’re out of our comfort zone, and so when we feel it, we’re growing. It made sense then and it still does.
In a mostly outdated evolutionary sense, fear meant “Stop! Danger ahead,” and it served us by keeping us out of harm’s way, keeping us physically safe. But something has gone haywire, and our brains still tell us there’s danger even when there’s not. Actually, the real danger most of the time is that fear will keep us stuck and miserable, and the very mechanism that was meant to keep us safe now keeps us unnaturally frozen.
There. I’ve done it scared. I’m growing, and my spirit is a bit more free than it was thirty minutes ago. I hope you’ll try it; the freedom is worth it, and so are you.