“How was your workshop this weekend?” She asked in earnest.
“Awesome!” I answered. “It felt so good to be teaching again. But at the same time, a part of me felt like a bit of an impostor.”
“What do you mean?” She said with raised eyebrows.
“At times I feel so inadequate. How can I stand in front of a class and teach fearlessness when I have so much fear?”
The compassionate part of me, tells me that it is impossible to be completely free of fear, so I might as well show up, and offer the best gift that I possibly can with the world, however imperfect it may be. The critic part of me tells me that I am an impostor. “How dare you?” It snarls. “You have no right to stand in front of the class and invite your students to embrace fearlessness when you obviously can’t do it yourself.” The truth is, both sides are true. I believe it is better to begin imperfectly than not at all, but I also realize that I am far from achieving fearlessness in every aspect of my life.
Here’s what I’ve come to understand about being fearless: Fearlessness is a practice, not a destination. Life gives us daily opportunities to feel inadequate, vulnerable and afraid, but when we are committed to practicing fearlessness, we can choose to remain open in the face of discomfort.
How do we do this? The next time you feel fear rearing it’s ugly head, tell yourself: “I can handle this.” Breathe. Keep breathing! Don’t shut down. Don’t run away. Avoidance and closure will not get rid of the fear. In fact, it will cement it in, as we build protective walls around the parts of ourselves that hurt, in an attempt to protect ourselves from experiencing pain. It is only by feeling through the fear that we transcend it. This is uncomfortable as hell, I know. This is why it is called “growing pains”.
This blog was created to share my belief that the art-making process is a catalyst for transformation and personal empowerment. I am living proof.