New Year...Old Fear. How I'm facing it.

Time now to flourish  


Reflect and Resolve

As happens a woman with a history of depressive self loathing, at the end of days when she falls short of meeting her own expectations, 2014 draws to a close and she finds herself saying fare well to yester-day-year.

Reflecting on the lessons she’s grateful for, the growth she’s achieved, this woman is tantalised still by the divide between her current self and the self of her dreams, the one who exists ‘over there’. Dividing them, a river of doubt. Once again she finds herself resolving to stop pushing the boat out and blaming her defeat on the lack of a bridge.

Sound familiar? 

Here you stand, in the early fog of this new year, daring to promise yourself that THIS YEAR I will brave the divide between the me who dreams and the me who is dreamed. You are not alone, I stand here with you. Standing here used to scare me, it kinda still does.

I know why new beginnings hold such weight for women like us.

It’s because we convince ourselves that new beginnings are the corners we turn, around which we’ll finally escape our demons. But every time we begin, we inevitably get ambushed by those old, decrepit, gnarling fears.

Outsourcing our power

I know I’m guilty of it, especially when it comes to casting out risk and responsibility to the future me, the one who lives in tomorrow, Monday, next week, next year, as if to say ‘there is no fear where she is, let her do it’. My heart sinks when I think of future me, it’s not fair. All I’ve been setting her up for is sickness, overwhelm and regret.

Hoarding Powerlessness

There’s a younger part of me who hoards powerlessness, it seems to be the only way she can feel safe. I think she believes future me will rescue us. Then there’s everyday, caught-in-the-middle me, walking on eggshells because I’m afraid of upsetting the little one, but why?

Because the little one is more experienced in her truth and when everyday me dares to set about challenging it or releasing the powerlessness, it triggers an inner conflict, a fight for control.

Inner Peace Mission

This is not easy to admit, because it's always been my dirty secret and I feel very vulnerable making it known but I’m telling you this because I know I’m not alone, because I think emotional honesty is important when it comes to struggles with self worth and because naming conflict takes some of the energy from it, freeing it up for the work of making peace. I want peace for my little one, for our little ones.

Naming it

This powerless inner part, let's call her Jane (my middle name), is so easily torn down. Easily discouraged, dismissed, dismayed, demolished. She is easily diss’d. I used to really hate her for that, I judged her harshly, labelled her pathetic and weak, which just made her even more fragile.

To her, the belief of not being able is grounded in truth, absolute truth. When this truth gets triggered I feel her fear so intently that to distance myself from it is, at times, the best I can do.

I no longer hate my little one nor do I still identify completely with her, but in my inner world, she’s still living from that place of fear and is highly influential.

Fear of Flying

Jane is terrified of me flying my own plane. There I am launched, with magnificent wings and a bulging itinerary of ideas, she sits back in air traffic control, but due to her hyper vigilance, she soon sees nothing but danger. Without her confidence I can’t advance my mission and instead am left to linger in some sort of holding pattern before the inevitable crash and burn. What I end up with is that I feel like a shitty pilot, with yet another flop.

I know Jane has my best interests at heart but she serves me up an enormous burden of self doubt and frustration.

This year I want to move beyond the holding pattern, I want to give future me some fucking chance, she’s the one I’m going to become!

I’ve seen a lot of people in their new year writings, choosing a word to guide them through this new year, my guide word has yet to reveal itself, though I think belief is a strong contender.

Leveraging Lessons Learned

Until then, I turn to 2014 as my guide. It was the year of P.

Promise, Practice, Presence

It was the showing up, the identifying of the stepping stones that I consistently have failed to see, that they be enough, that the propelling of my being across the divide, one magnificent leap to ‘over there’ be not the only measure of progress or success. That I stop waiting on my future self to arrive and rescue me and to encourage my current self in building that bridge, so that they may meet half way. To make the effort every day and that my efforts, however small or large, are allowed be good enough. To do this with compassion, faith and care, step, by step, by step.

The goal is to become experienced, as a believer in me

I have personal goals, creative goals, professional and purpose goals, but they all hang in the balance of getting through to Jane, to convince her in letting me go.

Five years ago I couldn’t even believe in myself enough to get out of bed.

I didn’t believe there was life beyond the fog of depression.

I didn’t believe I could be loved.

But I did, there is and I am. 

We can do this.

Have you overcome an inner Jane fear? How did you do it and what difference has it made in your life? Please share what you know!

Always, Amanda xxx

Why birds don't get angry! What I learned from our feathered friends

Have you ever listened to birds call and respond each other? An ancient species, with 150 million years of existence to their credit, birds know how to survive, why? Because no bird call goes unanswered, if it does, the bird dies. We are not meant to live this life unheard, unable to call and unable to respond. It's not natural.

I just saw this image in my Facebook feed and it sparked a reminder to a time when I spent my days drinking poison, because I was unable to call, unable to respond.

I spent long enough in this state to really taste the bitterness of unresolved anger.

The root of this anger for me, lay in poor communication skills. Once resolved, I discovered how not angry, but passionate a person I am, some would call it spirited, I often find myself propelled by pure emotion.

Emotion = Energy - in - motion

The way I understand it now, is that when we encounter new situations, our energy shifts and creates a disequilibrium in our being. Our sense of what to do with this disturbance depends on the fundamental relationship you have with yourself. The nature of that relationship is most accessible to you when in a stressed state. In the past, under stress I always had a disconcerting feeling of wrongness.

At it's most basic level, we are always measuring our being against a sense of right and wrong. Right = I'm ok / Wrong = I'm not ok.

How do you feel under stress when you believe you're ok? Passionate.

How do feel under stress when you believe you're no ok? Angry.

When I'm under stress now, I recognise it as disequilibrium, that's all. I'm aware that what I'm encountering is something I don't have a call or response for, yet... and so I become a pupil of the birdsong. I open myself to learning through call and response. I realise my stressed state is the place where I can learn the most. I may never have the answer, but at least I can send out a call... It will be answered.

The origins of self 

Your sense of self as right or wrong is informed by an accumulation of past experiences and an evaluation system that most often has been internalised from some other source, usually the culture of the day.

In our culture, Irish catholic... the culture of the day was reserved obedience. This was enforced with the tactics of shame, fear and oppression. 'Children should be seen and not heard'. We were born to original sin; our being was wrong and it was our job to make it right.

Excuse me, but fuck that. The damage this has done!

Assumed power is a dangerous thing 

There was a time I felt powerless, completely. Mostly because I couldn't seem to make my being right. There are times I still do feel powerless, but I no longer feel it completely and I no longer feel it in relation to my being. I've taken back my power, I found a way for my being to feel right. I found a way to call, to respond and I've learned how to listen for the calls and responses of others.

But it is not my desire to dominate with my call or to see any response as an oracle of truth, it is purely to communicate, to keep moving, because to move is to survive.

My power lies in this ability. To call and to respond. To express and process experiences with others, so that I may stay close to me, to others, to spirit, to love. I know what it's like to not be able to express myself. It sucks...

This is my message to you - ooh - ooh

How do you see yourself in the world? Are you ok? Why? Because someone else says so? Same goes for the alternative, are you not ok because someone else dictates it? Fuck that. Take back your power. YOU ARE OK... you will be ok, always. You have a right to be seen AND heard.

For me now, it's simply ok to be me, as I am, as I was and as I will be. That way I'll always be ok... even when circumstances may not.

Anger too, is an ok place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there!

So what about you? Have you found your bird call?

Always, Amanda xx