Facing Fear

I like this acronym for FEAR: Fantasy Experienced as Reality. I relate to it. I've always had an 'overactive imagination'. It can be ridiculous at times. I am able to leap from an unanswered text to imagining my son has fallen on the icy stairs that lead from his third floor living space to the street and is freezing to death. (I've been called paranoid but I think that is harsh.)

 Photo credit: Scott Goodwill

Photo credit: Scott Goodwill

I'm officially on the count down to facing one of my big fears - going four days without a shower or make up. Actually, I am kidding. I've got over that fear since I started the Wild Deer Program through The P.I.N.E. Project. My big fear is spending a night alone in the woods. And I'm doing it. Next week. 

We've spent six months preparing and I've learned a lot about being on the edge. The edge is where you feel adrenaline. It's where you feel alive. It's where you feel like you have that heightened awareness. It's where you are pushing yourself. It's where you naturally find yourself doing lots of self-reflection. In the past six months I've been on my edge learning to track animals, start a fire by friction, eat bugs and plants, use plants medicinally, carve cutlery, and so much more. 

This solo night in the woods is a 'choose your edge' experience. You can go hardcore with matches and a tarp or opt to stay up and tend a fire all night. I am choosing between a hammock and one person tent and/or the fire. I don't expect to sleep. I'm afraid a porcupine will fall out of a tree into my hammock. (Did you know the leading cause of death among porcupines is falling out of a tree?) One of my mentors tells me it is so cool to wake up and see a deer standing 20 feet away. A friend who did this course last year swore she could see eyes watching her during the night. 

Whatever happens, I am facing my fear. I know every time I've faced fear in my life I have grown as a woman. I'm choosing the edge. Fear is limiting. Fear is not reality. And from where I sit - life doesn't get easier, fears don't lessen. Courage is required. Don't get too comfortable. 

Come Sunday: The Truth Hurts

For most of my life I have been interested in spiritual journeys. My own story has had some surprising twists in it! So I was curious when I saw the trailer (below) for the movie Come Sunday.  Thanks to the ice storm I had time to watch it this weekend. This movie documented so much of what I've seen happen in my life and in the lives of others. We start with a certainty of belief. We are confident. We may even be arrogant. 

But suddenly, we are faced with a different perspective. It may have come through a crisis. It may have come through a growing feeling of disconnection within ourselves.  We experience doubt, fear, disbelief, anger, disillusionment. Questions begin to form and the old answers don't work for us anymore. We feel simultaneously like we've seen the light AND terrified that we are going down the wrong path.

If you've experienced a spiritual crisis you may have actually found the courage to verbalize your doubts and questions. You may have been shut down by the people around you. Or they may have given you the advice you would have given someone in the past: pray more, go to church more, find accountability, serve more. You may even try it but the questions don't go away. Or you may have had the good fortune of friends who were mature enough to support you without judgment. In any scenario, I'm sure it was painful. 

What I enjoyed about this movie is that it showed the cost of speaking truthfully. It cost this pastor everything to be honest. Everyone wanted him to stay the same. The system was working for them and his honesty was an unwelcome disruption that impacted so many people on so many levels. His crisis was their opportunity to examine their own beliefs.

I'm not here to comment on his theology or beliefs. Or yours! I'm here to say that when you change your beliefs, when you can no longer pretend that you are OK with the system you have been participating in, the journey has just begun. 

I provide spiritual coaching for women who are on that journey. I'm not going to tell you what to believe. I will help you hold the questions. I believe the truth will set you free. You need a place to speak your truth. You need support as you align your life with what you really believe. 

In the movie, Come Sunday, Bishop Carlton Pearson, shows how difficult this process can be. Watching it reminded me of how important it is to have people who support you in the process. Unfortunately, your community may not understand what you are going through and you can feel quite isolated.

Contact me if you are ready to align your life with what you really believe. I'd love to talk about how I can help you find the courage within to live truthfully.

Ducks in a row

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Have you ever felt unsure of what the next move is in your life? You can't go back but you aren't quite sure what forward looks like? I have been sitting in that space this month. I have a clear idea of what I want to do and who I want to serve, and I want to move into that space with integrity. I'm just not exactly sure how it is going to unfold.

In a recent blog post I took a big step in saying where I want to focus my work going forward. I expected that I would have a number of people unsubscribe from my newsletter. I didn't have anyone unsubscribe.

I was talking to a friend recently and she said, in response to my newsletter, "You are not there yet. I'll know when you are there. It will be clear." And what I heard was, "You have no idea what you are doing." To be fair, she didn't say that. She said, "I don't think you are there yet." She was encouraging me to push even further into the work I want to do around spirituality and women.

But for some reason I became fixated on having everything sorted out before I started doing anything. Yesterday I was reflecting on our conversation. "You are not there YET." And I realized that I've been waiting until I am completely clear what products and services I'll be offering my clients. I've been trying to get all my ducks in a row.

But here's the truth: I'VE NEVER HAD MY DUCKS IN A ROW.

And neither have you .

Maybe they were for five minutes but chances are something happened and then very quickly those ducks were out of line.

I work with women who don't have their ducks in a row! How's that for a tag line? I get transition. As women we are often in transition. I understand that in between space we often find ourselves living in. For me the most difficult transition has been around the changes I've made in what I believe and how I practice my beliefs. It was difficult to leave behind something that was so significant at one point in my life. And yet, staying the same is not an option. As Rob Bell says, "Once you have seen, you can't unsee. Once you have tasted, you can't untaste." Letting go of having my spiritual ducks in a row was a big deal for me. (Am I pushing this metaphor? Probably.)

If you are tired of trying to keep up the appearance of having your ducks in a row this space is for you. If you feel like you are swimming in circles. Great. If you don't even know which direction you are heading - welcome. You are in the right place. Together, we'll come up with a better metaphor for this crazy life. Let's stop listening to that critical voice - or as a wise woman once said, "Shut the duck up."