Step into my Wayback Machine here. We’re not going far – just to 2009. But we have to go back so you can see where I am.
In December 2009, my longtime friend Holly had a get together – a combination of birthday party and Christmas tree decorating party. It was a terrific evening with an eclectic group of women in a range of ages and backgrounds laughing, talking, planning, and decorating. At one point, Holly asked us to write down on a slip of paper “one thing we wanted to be rid of or do differently in 2010.”
It didn’t take me long to figure it out. I wanted to be rid of Fear. I am not, by nature, a timid or fearful person. This was not “afraid of the dark” kind of fear…or “afraid of spiders” kind of fear. The kind of Fear I lived with was paralyzing. I knew it, but I couldn’t figure out how to break loose. But at that moment, the “how” became less important than the “now.” I needed to commit living differently. I’d figure out the “how” part later.
We all wrote down something on our little pieces of paper, and one by one, we pitched them into the fireplace.
My turn. I pitched my paper into the flames. The paper sailed OVER the flames, and landed, unscathed, at the very back of the firebox. I stared. Then I laughed, threw my hands up in disbelief and looked at Holly, who appeared to be almost as incredulous.
Yep! That’s me all over the place!
She shook her head and smiled, got out the tongs, and retrieved the paper. On the second try, I made sure that sucker was fully committed to the flames.
But it took me most of 2010 to be rid of the Fear.
It dogged me. In writing. In relationships. In parenting. In my professional life. Fear, in some ways, protected me. Because if I was afraid, it gave me an excuse for not trying. And if I didn’t try, I couldn’t fail.
And it wasn’t just Fear of failure I stared down. It was Fear of success. Fear of the unknown. Fear of not being “enough” for anyone or anything. Fear of not being the smartest kid in class anymore. Fear of “doing it wrong”…whatever that meant.
See, I look at that now and think, “Doing it wrong? How do you know it’s wrong if you don’t know what the right way is either?” But I digress…
I think what ultimately happened was my Fear of Wasting My Life overrode all my other fears. And at Christmas 2010, my dear friend Karen CL Anderson sent me a copy of The Gifts of Imperfection by Dr. Brené Brown. From the preface of the book, I felt like the weight of my world had lifted. I really was Okay. Just fine. Perfectly normal.
I am Enough.
After lots of thought, gut-checks, taking the temperature of my soul, and assessing my priorities, I decided my word for 2011 is TRUST.
Trust my instincts. Trust myself. Trust God. Trust The Process. Trust that everything is unfolding as it’s meant to and with my spirit’s best interest at its core.
When I find myself at a crossroads of some kind, the word TRUST appears in my mind, almost visible to my eyes, glowing blue-white…like a Patronus. And then I take a deep breath, and get off the fence.
Since adopting TRUST as my Word of the Year, many things have fallen into place by simply deciding to decide, and not worrying about the overall outcome. I still take two steps forward and one step back. Not all decisions are easy and I’m not just throwing a dart at a list of things to do. But at least I’m moving forward. Learning to Trust takes practice, like anything else worth doing well. But two months into 2011…so far, so good.