My mind loves scary stories. Not horror movies or Stephen King novels, not ones told around campfires by flashlight-lit faces. It loves to make up its own scary stories about all the disasters that might befall me, all the mistakes I’ll make, all the awful things that others will do. My mind is so good at this stuff that I’ve often considered going into disaster planning or safety work because I can see all the worst-case scenarios so clearly. Years of listening to clients share their experiences of actual horrific events has given my mind lots of material.
I’m about to put my little book out into the world, and my mind is at it again, telling me all the awful things that could happen as well as the equally scary thought that nothing will happen because no one will read it. I have to keep reminding myself that I’m doing this because it’s important to me as a person to share what I know and to do creative activities, even if no one else likes or responds to them. Then I have to tell my mind, “thanks for sharing” and continue to move forward with it, my mind chattering away the entire time.
Bold moves, leaps of faith, whatever you want to call them, are going to stir up our mind’s chatter and our parts that want to protect us. They see trying something new as a potential threat to us, and they want to keep us from being hurt. It’s part of the deal. Make a big step, get the mind running up and yelling for us to back away. Our emotions can get in on it too, especially fear and anxiety.
These are the times that we can muster up the self-compassion to tell ourselves what I once heard a mother say to her son on a train. They were at the door that leads to the next car. On this particular Amtrak train, the door from one car would slide open at the press of a button, requiring you to cross a short platform that moved around constantly before going through another door and into the next car. While crossing, you can hear all the noise from the tracks and feel the wind. The mother knelt down and told her child, “This’ll be a bit of an adventure. We’re going to go across together. It’ll be bumpy, maybe a little loud. Are you ready?” The child took her hand slowly, and they made it across.
So that’s what I’m doing with myself as I take each new step towards this book launch, and some other things too. I’m trying to gently, compassionately, take myself by the hand and head into the adventure. Not denying the fear and the risk, knowing it’ll be bumpy and a little loud, but not fully buying into the scary stories either. It’s the stance I try to take with my clients, and one I try to teach them to do for themselves. This’ll be a bit of an adventure. Are you ready?