I find it equally frustrating and amusing – my mind’s habitual pattern of imagining in the future.
Having a conference to organise isn’t helping. Last minute arrangements, coordinating speakers, planning my sessions. The merchandise has arrived and hopefully the conference booklets will be ready in time. I am there in the future anxious about all that could go wrong – living the full catastrophe. I am there in the future excited about how amazing it might be.
I have a lovely week ahead in Bridlington with Rob Nairn and his sister, followed by the Scarborough book events at the weekend. I find myself again in the future, excited, planning where we might go and what we might do. I am so looking forward to spending time with my dear friend and mentor and his lovely sister.
But this drives me – excited or fearful – into imagining the future!
I had an interesting conversation with my husband earlier this week – he is a cognitive behavioural psychotherapist – about fear. I have been ‘suffering from’ fear for the last few months. Bringing to mind the phrase ‘Be more curious than afraid’, but really wanting to know why I felt so afraid and wanting rid of the fear. It’s exhausting.
My husband was saying that the fear and excitement are both a result of the firing of the threat response. It is how we interpret that initial firing that decides where we are headed – fear or excitement. Think of roller coasters. I’m terrified of them and feel terror. Other people find them exciting. It’s all in the interpretations and the interpretation depends on our past conditioning.
This was a bit of a lightbulb moment for me.
Then I have been reading Brene Brown’s book ‘Dare to Lead’. A point she makes is that – however much we might want it to be different – acting with courage, requires us to feel vulnerable. I am happy to live courageously, in fact I aspire to do this, but did not realise this meant feeling vulnerable.
So again a lightbulb moment about the OKness of feeling fear.
Sometimes I feel like Homer Simpson – a Doh! moment – I should have known this!
Nevertheless, I am delighted to have had these lightbulb moments. I am curious to see if and how they will change my attitude and response to vulnerability and fear. I will reset my intention again to let go of the imagining and come back to being here now – with the fear or the excitement – until my mind wanders off into the future again! That’s the practice.
How are you relating to your fear and vulnerability today? Can you let go of the thinking about and just be with what is?
Heather is leading the first course in our series of Mindfulness training – Level 1 Mindfulness Course – Being Present – 25-27 October 2019. The weekend can be attended as the beginning of a four weekend course, or taken in isolation as a taster or a retreat.