The F Word

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“Who am I? But the dust of the Most High…”

— “Dust” by Trevor Hall

The F word. As in fear. As Marianne Williamson says in her book, A Return to Love:  “We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?” I have to admit, I have been asking myself these kinds of fear-based questions. Questions like, Who am I to wish this? Who am I to want more? And trust me, I don’t even go down the brilliant, gorgeous, etc. line of questioning, which proves Williamson’s entire point. I have been disregarding my light. I have been playing small. I have been playing it safe. Not in changing my life, but in my beliefs. Let me backtrack.

On Monday I had an interview at a wonderful organization, a place I could work at with pride, with belief in what they do for the community. So why did I leave the meeting feeling deflated (especially because the interview went so well)? Am I crazy? After mulling it over (and over, and over) this week, I realized that I felt deflated at the thought of sitting at a desk all day, answering the phone and entering data on the computer. There’s nothing wrong with this kind of work, except that I don’t want to do it. Here’s where the fear comes in. Who am I to wish for different work? Who do I think I am?

Well, I think that I am a person who has worked at a restaurant for 12 years, answering the phone and greeting patrons, hustling and bustling. The thought of sitting at a desk for more than a few hours is torturous (unless I’m writing creatively, of course). I think that I am a person who has always loved language, who believes in the power of it, both written and spoken, to cultivate change. I think that I am a person who has undergone a major life change and feels compelled to share what I have learned along the way. Who feels compelled to help other people find the miraculous kind of healing I have found by giving up what no longer served me.

Yes, I have experienced healing and have transformed myself and my life, but that doesn’t make me some kind of expert. But do I have to be an expert to share my voice, my passion? Should I be “realistic” and accept an office-type job until I can feasibly do what I want to do? Like write a book, become a yoga instructor, lead meditations? I know in my bones that when I quit drinking I sparked the beginning of my true life path. But I am scared of the unknown. I’m frightened of the practicalities and realities.

I’m also fearful that I am being delusional. Like, are the signs I’m seeing and the momentum I’ve been feeling just figments of my imagination? Am I jumping the gun and getting ahead of myself? Am I trying to rush the process? What is the process? Though I know that these doubts are my ego-voice talking, knowing doesn’t make them go away.

When frightened I ask myself the questions like the aforementioned, but then I try to follow them up with other questions. Questions I never thought to ask myself until I gave up alcohol and thankfully found yoga and meditation. Like, where is the fear coming from? Is it because I don’t know the outcome? Because I don’t have a lot of money? And yes, I am scared because I don’t have a lot of money to bring my dreams to fruition, but isn’t that what credit cards are for? Wink, wink. But that’s scary, too! Who wants debt?

But I am also scared because I can still swiftly fall prey to self-doubt and insecurity. Don’t get me wrong, I have more belief in myself than I have…  maybe ever. I am proud of myself and what I have accomplished in the past year. But. There’s always a but, isn’t there? But, it is still difficult to distance myself from the little, naggy, rather rude voice that resides in my head. Where the voice used to have prime real estate, taking up a whole lot of room, it now lives in a tiny closet in what I like to think of as the basement of my brain. The door of the closet locks, but the lock is faulty and sometimes springs open unexpectedly.

This little voice is the voice that asks, “Who do you think you are? Don’t you remember what you’ve done? Who you really are? Who are you to think you can do this? Do you think you’re better than this opportunity?” Rude, right? This voice is a voice that dwells in the past, that loves to bring up my past transgressions and my current faults. This voice is the voice that fueled my love affair with perfectionism, a love affair I thought I dismantled when I quit drinking. But perfectionism is a slippery, sneaky beast. Perfectionism manifests in many different forms.

This perfectionism is what causes me to compare myself to others, to end up with a hurt wrist or throbbing knee after what should be a restorative yoga class. This perfectionism is the reason why the voice tells me I’m not worthy. Or if I am worthy, then I’m still not ready. Ready to take the leap, ready to write the book, ready to start the training, to truly and freely create. Or if I am ready, then I need to think about how I’m going to support myself. That money doesn’t grow on trees. That a new car and stability is more important than pursuing what I view as my calling. See, I couldn’t even come out and just say it without being wishy-washy. Let me try it again: than pursuing my calling.

So what to do? I get back on my yoga mat, I meditate, I acknowledge the fear and forgive myself and keep moving forward. I tell myself, One step at a time. I remember the line from a song I happened to hear somewhere along the way that seems to always surface when I need it: “Who am I? But the dust of the most high…” You can listen to the song here if you like. Perhaps not everyone shares my view, but I do believe that we are all a part of something greater than ourselves, that we are particles of the “Most High.” So why not me, too?

Like Williamson says, Who are you not to be? Not to be gorgeous and talented, brave and vulnerable and kind? Who am I to look down on what I want in this life? Who am I to think that my plans and ideas and hopes and goals are foolish? Or to worry about what others will think? That’s what is also so scary to me. Why am I so concerned with what other people think? There goes that perfectionism again, rearing its ugly head. I thought my people-pleaser days were behind me, that the only opinions that mattered to me were those of myself, family, and close friends. But the fear makes me realize that I worry way too much about what others think. People I don’t even know, or even potential people. How silly is that?

What I come back to, always, is that I have to trust the process. I have to trust myself and trust that everything will happen as it should, when it should, how it should. I have to listen to myself and my intuition. And how do I do that? By either getting still, in mediation, or getting moving, on my yoga mat. Which are the reasons why I am so passionate about life and feel called to help others experience the healing I have found. I just have to get back in touch with and remember why I want to reach out into the void. Because I have seen and felt the difference that self-awareness can make it anyone’s life. That self-awareness is what diminishes the rude, fear-based voice and helps to shine the light that dwells within us all. Because awareness leads to forgiveness and, most of all, love. 

I wish you a wild, free life.

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