Each week in The Wisdom of Change blog series, I share the original artwork and unpack the insights and meaning behind one of the 44 cards in The Wisdom of Change oracle deck.
This week’s card is 41 Fabulous Fear
I hadn’t realised how many faces fear has. Doubt, procrastination, shame, guilt, commitment issues, reluctance… you name it; if it makes me feel all kinds of wrong, I’ve learnt that I am actually experiencing a version of fear.
Society teaches us to move fast in the other direction when anything close to feeling discomfort rears its head. Somewhere in my formative years I embodied the idea that bad feelings were to be avoided or minimised by positive thoughts and getting on with something productive. This may have been my 70s upbringing, but joking apart, I had to learn that its ok not to be ok from time to time.
I’m not suggesting that we wallow in negativity, but there is an important middle ground at stake here; we need to give ourselves permission to feel our full range of emotions. Why should we limit ourselves to a restrictive selection of ‘middle notes’ when we have a whole keyboard of gloriously nuanced feeling to play with? I learnt that none of our emotional states are wrong; what a relief. The last thing I want to do is add ‘the way I feel’ to my list of things I’m not doing right!
I used to fear feeling bad. I thought it was the result of something I was doing; that I was being ungrateful or that I had somehow asked for what I’d got. If I was feeling uncomfortable, I concluded that I hadn’t been working hard enough, trying my best or seeing what must be obvious. This line of logic led me to stick a smile on my face, suppress what I was feeling and get busy distracting myself from what was really going on. In fact, uncomfortable feelings are a helpful indication from our internal navigation system that ‘it’s not this way’. What is needed is a course redirect, not a tirade of self-punishment.
In my unskilled state, I would attempt to ease my discomfort by seeking to make other people happy. I used people pleasing behaviours to detract from my unacknowledged, unexplored and unresolved pain. This modus operandi got me into bad habits; however small and seemingly inconsequential my pain was, I squashed it down. I told myself that being honest about the way I felt might be a burden to others, a downer on a social event or have me perceived as being weak and fragile.
Ignored pain doesn’t go away; it just gets supressed. Somewhere down the line it explodes in the form of unreasonable behaviour and unrealistic expectations. I can recall times when I didn’t even recognise myself in those outbursts. And all because I hadn’t known how to acknowledge and alchemise my fear.
I now alchemise fear much quicker. I feel It, I acknowledge it and I ask it what wisdom it has to share with me. I don’t label it wrong; I see it as a signpost indicating an alternate route towards my destination. Fear provides me with so many invaluable insights. It allows me to double back and check that where I’m heading is in fact where I want to go. When I acknowledge it, it graciously allows me the opportunity to stop and readjust. It gives me the chance to pause and check in with myself; to scan for anything that needs a final tweak.
Fear is in fact, a fabulous friend!
If you are feeling fearful and need some help using it to your advantage, I can help.
Drop me a line and tell me what’s on your mind and I’ll get straight back to you.
You’ve got this.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s connection to your inner wisdom.
As always, I’d love to hear your comments below.