Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fear lives in my belly

...is actually the title of a chapter in my book. It describes where fear lives in me -- and its impact on my being while I was in the hell of an abusive relationship.

Fear still lives in my belly, even though I'm beyond the grips of that relationship. It isn't always present, but when it awakens I react like a deer caught in headlights. I am immobilized.

I know a lot about fear. Experienced tons of it. Ignored even more -- and that's where my fear of feeling fear trips me up.

The other night when a friend and I were having dinner on my patio, a bevy of wasps flew in to join us (Blog entry, August 18, "Awakening"). The significance of my sitting there like a mechanical doll with only one workable moving part, my right arm, was significant -- it speaks of how I deal with fear.

Don't acknowledge it. Pretend I don't feel it. Act normal -- okay, so not that normal -- but at least act like fear is not pounding out a military tattoo throughout my body, blocking my mind from all sight and sound, stealing peace of mind.

Fear keeps me silent. Fear keeps me reacting like a powerless child. Fear keeps me stuck in my belly, rumbling around in a sea of anxiety, terrified of drowning.

I am not powerless. I am not a child.

Acknowledging fear draws me out, propels me into courage. To take action, to speak up, to be heard, to be my one true self.

The interesting thing about fear is, when its rumbling around in my belly, all sound, all thought, all in the moment being is blocked. I can't be present when I'm wallowing in my belly, swimming furiously upstream or madly treading water in fear of going under.

Ignoring my fear is my self-defeating game. Turning up for me, being honest about my fear, stepping with courage into being present -- that's my winning attitude. That's my position of strength.

The other night, the wasps flew in and I froze in fear (except for my right arm that kept flapping my serviette uselessly at them). I told my friend I was content to sit outside and enjoy our dinner. What a lie! I was not content. I was not enjoying our dinner. Finally, at his insistence that it was obvious something was wrong, I acknowledged my discomfort and we moved inside where I was content and I did enjoy our dinner.

I knew lots of fear as a child. I lived through my father's angry outbursts. I seldom felt safe and hid my fear behind my smile, behind my "I won't let anyone see how I feel" attitude. In my fear, I learned to stay still. To freeze. To deny my fear, and pretend all is well that ends well as an acceptable way to live. I learned to be passive in my fear.

I am not a child.

I am an adult. I am powerful. I am the active ingredient creating my life of beauty.

Today, I step, perhaps not with total grace and ease, but I am stepping into my power of expressing fear through my courage to acknowledge my feelings, to turn up for me and stand up for my life. I have the power to stand true in all kinds of weather, all kinds of emotions. My peace of of mind moves me into being exactly who I am meant to be.

I cannot heal or change what I do not acknowledge.

I acknowledge I have a distorted view of fear. My belly rumbles. I take a deep breath and dive beneath the surface of my fear and swim gracefully to shore. With my feet firmly planted on solid ground, I look at the sea of fear churning within me and soothe its troubled waters with love and the courage to be all that I am meant to be when I am my best. My best is good enough for me.

The question is: Where does fear live in you? Do you flee it, fight it, or let courage shore you up and draw you into your magnificient self?

5 comments:

annie said...

I fear love now! Anyways nice write-up..it does motivate learnin from xperiences of others and from the past.

CZBZ said...

"Where does fear sit in me?"

I'd have to say fear is lodged in my throat. Perhaps that's progress since fear used to collect like molten lead in my feet. That meant I froze to the spot and couldn't Step Away...much less Step Up.

Focusing on Authentic Recovery requires feeling the nuances of our life experiences all the way to the toenails, dislodging fear enough to start walkin' and eventually talkin'.

It is important for us to recognize how we feel in our own skin. If we don't know what FEAR feels like, we'll have no chance of shattering our denial about not being afraid!

Like you, Louise, it has been imperative for me to accept my emotions as the essence of being human. Emotional sensitivity and awareness has unlocked the cognitive prison some of us might call "Intellectualizing".

Knowing the self might not have as much to do with 'what we think' as it does with 'what we feel'.

Great message today, Louise! Thank you!

Love,
CZBZ

M.L. Gallagher said...

Hi Annie,

Is it love you fear, or being hurt by someone who is untrue?

I remember when I first got out of that relationship, someone said, I will never trust someone else again. I thought about it and replied that my issue wasn't trusting someone else, it was trusting myself to know that I would stand up for me.

I don't fear love. What I fear is not letting myself feel love with a man again. Not letting myself experience closeness with another, and its ensuing risks. To be in relationship with another, I need to risk -- and that takes courage. It's okay to be fearful -- you're a courageous woman!

Louise

Love is good

M.L. Gallagher said...

Hey CZ!

One of my greatest challenges is to get out of my head and into my heart without tripping myself up on the way by thinking I know where I'm going.

I think alot. Generally, I try to avoid feeling.

If I listen to my 'story', feeling is not safe. Best to keep thinking my way through things.

If I listen to my learning, I feel my way into a balanced perspective where heart and head are aligned in truth.

Thanks for your powerful words.

Love,

Louise

annie said...

So well said!