Only went two places today with the chair. The paint store (they all know me well by now) and the jobsite. Today I had to paint our client's front door and sidelights. Black. Oil paint. I am an acrylic and latex person. Oils just feel sticky to me and I don't like sticky. Also, the door and sidelights have leaded glass windows in them. It's an expensive set-up. Probably at least $7000. And I was to cover it all with black sticky paint. I felt my Fear. But I also felt lessons I'd learned about Fear in life, not just from the past 45 days but certainly confirmed in that time.
Lesson one: Notice the Fear. Don't run from it. Running from predators only draws their attention. Fear will pursue the runner. Recognize what it is. Today, it was the Fear of messing up the door, getting drips of paint in the leaded window nooks and crannies.
Lesson two: Don't let Fear be the driver. Notice it but don't focus on the Fear. Focus on the task at hand. Recognize the other feelings and especially remember gratitude. Gratitude trumps Fear so well.
Lesson three: Do ALL I can to prepare myself for what needs to be done. This means strategizing what is in front of me. Step by step in my head first. Then go use the restroom before starting so that's not on my mind.
Lesson four: focus focus focus. My mind can wander a bit when working on something this important but really, it needs to focus on how I should best hold the brush to get at this edge or how much paint is on the brush as I approach a corner, etc.
So the majority of my mind wandering was best if it related to the task in front of me. So, mostly I thought about how the oil paint felt as I worked. This actually proved to be a good little foray into opening up. It wasn't long before I really didn't mind the feel of drawing the brush across the wood. It started me thinking perhaps I should try oils in my paintings. Perhaps I will.
So, the above lessons are hard-won from first, learning mountaineering and rock climbing a couple decades ago, then from getting out of an abusive relationship shortly thereafter (the latter just reinforced the lessons learned from the former). I mentioned in last night's blog that climbing helped with two phobias. It helped because I learned that things that feel overwelming like hanging 6000 feet up on a rock can be frightening but it can be dealt with, one handhold or foothold at a time. It taught me that my fear of heights and of spiders (I couldn't even touch a book with a spider drawing in it) was really about fear of loss of control. And Climbing taught me how to focus to in order to preserve and sometimes save my life. It gave me relative control over my Fears in specific situations and that carried over significantly into my life.
So, I've mentioned I still have a fear of spiders. It's not nearly what it was. Holy cow, it's not NEARLY what it was. And, I still don't feel entirely comfortable in some situations at great heights. Yet, knowing I've climbed 14000 foot peaks and free-climbed rock faces thousands of feet up, gives me a sense of strength that actually makes me feel ok having those fears to a certain degree. I also LOVE being high up on a mountain or a rock. I don't go keeping spiders in the house but sometimes I take them outside instead of stomping them on the spot.
Again, in my mind, it's not about getting rid of Fear. It's about getting to know it. It's about befriending Fear and learning how to steer it rather than let it drive me. Today, I could have become overwhelmed and paralized as I stood before the door; but thankfully, I remembered that I DO have tools for dealing with Fear. To be honest, I'd forgotten that until Day 44 when I was talking with my co-worker about climbing.
Huh..... So, how can I apply this to my Fear of visibility, or my Fear of being unloveable or unworthy, or my Fear of being "too much" or "too big" ? Or am I looking for new tools? These fearS are not about specific tasks but come up or are simply themes in my life. What tools apply? I will think about this....