Tuesday's after dropping off my kids I listen to David Ji and he was speaking about fear. He had several listeners on to talk about what they fear. He had a listener on who has been blogging and was talking about her fear of taking her blog from safe subjects to exposing more about her real self. As this is a fear of mine I listened intently.
Everything I write will be out there forever, like for-e-ver permanently. Each time I write something and push post, I freak just a bit. My stomach tightens, my throat feels restricted and my facial muscles tense & set. But I hit "post". Then it is done and out of my control. I know I have a message to share and I can't keep being afraid of what people will think. I can't keep being afraid of what my friends and family will think.
Initially each time I write something that really exposes what I feel my life was like growing up, I feel that panic. I don't want to upset my mom and dad and sister. I am not trying to get them to deal with my shit. I am not trying to force them to wade through this with me. I make peace with my mom, sister and dad each time I press "post" because I know that they love me and see me!
They really know me and in doing so know that so much of what has gone wrong in my life stems from trying to suppress all of these words and feelings inside. Trying to keep it all in and boxed and organized has kept me anxious, worried and fearful. Secrets will do that to you.
So, while I am not actively discussing my writing with my immediate family, I know that they support me and that they know that my hope in sharing my pain is to connect and help others. What I write everyday is my testimony. I share it because I am ready to connect.
For the rest of my extended family in a very small southern town where shame is passed from generation to generation, I have to exhale as loudly and forcefully as I can through pursed teeth & lips and remember that they were witnesses who chose not to get involved. I am an adult now and I will not be silenced to keep the peace and comfort of those who turned their eyes from children in need.
Anyhow, I digress. To the listener who called in unsure of how to start sharing more personal parts of her life, David Ji told her to just "blurt something personal out to the coffee server, next time you are in line." I am so not kidding when I say I loved hearing the rawness of that. How fucking true to knowing if you are ready to share than to just tell someone who you don't know and who's opinion of you truly doesn't matter.
Now, he went on to adjust that thought by asking her to start sharing information with friends and see what their reaction is and how you feel about their reaction. But before he made the adjustment, the thought was put out there.
There is always a struggle with what you want as your end result or what journey you are here to take. Some people blog anomalously so that they can share and interact but from the safety of no one knowing who they are. I can so understand that process and I know from talking to others that the anonymity of blogging can allow so many people to work through and work out their problems. No one ever need know who you are in the real world.
While my blog started with anonymity, I realized that I want to be able to speak with people without having to hide behind a wall or without having a blurry dot put over my face. I want to write books and meet the people who like and connect with my thoughts. My journey needs to be one of visibility. Even knowing that I want and am choosing to be open about my journey still scares the shit out of me.
Hearing him advise this listener to test the waters was good for me today. It was a reminder that I am getting more comfortable with what I am writing. I don't want to feel shame about my life and the things that shaped it. Not all of what has happened in my life is pretty, but it all happened and hiding it and denying it has created the fear monster I share my life with.
As he continued to talk about fear, he said that he loved a quote by his good friend Terri Cole, "If you are struggling, flip over and float."
Again, I love me some syncronicty in the morning. This was another perfect message being brought to me personally. I am very much struggling right now. I am stressing what I am doing, how I am doing it, what is the next step, am I still on the right path, and as always, am I doing it fast enough.
The message my Angels whispered this morning, was "Flip over and Float."
I so much believe in this message and have been teaching it to kids learning to swim for years. I am a swimmer. My children were born and raised in a pool. Summer to me means the smell of chlorine and sunscreen. When your children first learn to put their face under the water and to relax with having their face under the water, they stand in that accomplishment for about a three days. Then they stare longingly at the other side of the rope that separated the baby pool from the big kid pool.
After the whole face under water thing, teaching them to swim is easy. Time for lessons. Every morning for weeks they splash and kick and learn the technique and movements that are swimming. Then the last few days of swim lessons, they have your kids take the swim test. This test allows them the freedom they have eyed from the safety of your arms when you took them into the big kid side. They are so ready to pass this test and spend the rest of the summer being a big kid! For swimming families this is a huge first big kid milestone.
Both of my kids passed their swim tests and my easy summers of sitting by the edge of the baby pool chatting with moms changed to playing life guard and keeping a motherly eye on how tired they appeared to be getting with their new found freedom. This is when you see if they were listening to your lessons. I taught both of mine to flip and float. We practiced it every day. There is a lot of trust that goes into relaxing your body and trusting the science that keeps your body afloat. You can't do it and crane to keep your face out of the water. You really have to surrender and relax.
We would be at the pool for several hours every day and inevitably I would see one or both of them take a little time out and flip over to relax those tired little arms and legs. Much to my "mom" anxiety, I also witnessed them flip and float when they found themselves too far away from the safety of the side of the pool. I was never far away or unable to reach them in two strokes, but I had to force myself to stay still and watch to allow them opportunities to use the safety skills you teach them. It should always be in a safe environment, but children have to learn to save themselves because we want them to grown up and start their own lives.
The best skills we can teach our kids is to take care of themselves, self care. As a mom, I need constant reminders to take care of myself so that I can take care of my family. Weekly I remind myself that they rely on me and I have to find the time to nurture and replenish myself.
It is in these moments when I am so riddled with stress and doubt that I have to remember to flip over and float for a while. This very much ties in with my on going thoughts this past week to stop and listen for what the next step it. I am fighting and resisting surrendering to the unknown, the change that is here, even though I know that my battle is only making it worse.
I will try to surrender to this moment and float for a bit. I will try to relax and listen. I have to admit that yesterday's plan to listen to Day 1 of Deepak's 21 Mediation Program did not happen. I had big plans to listen to the first meditation twice yesterday and didn't even create the time to listen to it once.
I am going to create the time to listen to yesterday's meditation. I am ok with being a day behind.
Maybe in the 10 minutes or so while I wait for my kids to finish school and make it out to the car, I will soak in the warmth of the bright sunshine and close my eyes and float for a few minutes. I will feel the sun on my face, smell the chlorine and sunscreen, feel the water float in and out of my ears, and relax my neck.