As I sat this morning in the spiritual center that I visit when I travel to New Mexico, I was not surprised when a young girl, 9 years old, maybe, joined the adult choir, coming up to the mic and belting out the lyrics, “Say what you wanna say and let the words fall out, honestly I wanna see you be BRAVE!” Bravery. Or the lack of it, has seemed to be the theme for me all week long, starting last Sunday evening in the mountain town of Jemez, NM. Late in the evening, my friend and I spontaneously loaded ourselves back into the car, returning to a huge boulder from which some local hot springs gushed forth in the hopes of anchoring a powerful conversation around “brave next steps” with a bold giving forth of ourselves to the night sky. With one tiny flashlight, we scaled the huge rock formation, mostly by feel, laid back in the pitch black, grabbed each other’s hands and stared up at the most impressive night sky you could ever imagine. The utter silence and mind-blowing constellations spoke truths to our hearts, open wide enough to hear them.
By Tuesday though, my clients and I both had gone into some kind of intense fear place that had no real name. While I’m skilled at helping them maneuver their way back through to a crack of light at the end of the tunnel, I’m not as great at navigating that dark terrain myself without support. It built. The exciting, yet challenging new business project that I’d spent weeks getting clear on put a knot in my stomach. A recent betrayal from a man I cared about and had forgiven, suddenly felt fresh again. I felt scared that the guidance I’d been clearly given to let go of my place and make a temporary move to NM was not to be trusted. Finding a solid foundation to stand on when fear has you lassoed around the neck can seem impossible!
I know to breathe. And to meditate. And to feel into the “strangle hold.” And to be patient.
This is the beauty of meditation. Sit long enough and what needs to be revealed will be, if we only will love ourselves enough to be quiet.
Ash Wednesday arrived in the middle of fear week. I push past every bit of uncomfortableness rising up and literally drag myself to a Catholic church (no, I’m not Catholic) in the hopes of engaging with the season of Lent in a way that brings me some soothing. The ashes on my forehead do little other than remind me as I pass a mirror that I am getting desperate. Fear builds on itself, as fear does, when you allow it to begin creating low grade anxiety. Random thoughts begin to float through my mind about my son’s upcoming wedding and what ridiculous family “issue” could ruin the day. Thursday brings my deceased Mom’s birthday and while she was one of the most beautiful, kind and fun loving women I’ve ever known, I am reminded that the amount of fear she carried with her on a daily basis was toxic and kept her from doing anything that even resembled an act of bravery.
Another night of tossing and turning. If you know me, then you know one of my weaknesses is that I can still be hard on myself. While others gripped in fear might shrink back and become paralyzed, my go-to place is to crack the whip on myself in the hopes of sparking some kind of manufactured motivation that will “snap me out of it.” It’s familiar. Thank you, Dad. And, because it’s worked at times, I still try this tactic first instead of simply taking my own hand and walking to my meditation cushion.
By Friday, because I’m obviously losing this battle, I say outloud in my meditation, “For God’s sake! You can’t seriously want me to be in this lousy place! Help! Please!”
And in the silence... the all-encompassing silence, where everything we ever need, hope for, long to have laid in our hands or lean desperately toward in our angst………….. I hear……………….
Life is sacred and you think you have time to waste on nonsense.
You have no time to waste.
Fear is your nonsense.
Your desires are Divine sparks to be lit up full.
Build a bonfire with your hearts desires and dance under those stars!”
The fear melts. I swear I can feel it run down my body and pool in a muddy puddle at my feet.
“Everybody’s been there,
Everybody’s been stared down by the enemy
Fallen for the fear
And done some disappearing,
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, just stop holding your tongue”
Show me how big your BRAVE is...