It didn’t end like the Blair Witch project, which is something, however it felt as if time stood still when I spent four hours with my spiritual mentor in her wooden cabin located in the wilds of Surrey. It was so quiet, even the birds were whispering and it’s a challenge for me to sit in silence with someone I don’t know that well. I must admit, I was squirming in my chair at the start of the session.
There was tea and a bit of chat before the work began – the work being me sat there with my eyes closed, while Marion encouraged me to explore my feelings.
It seemed like as good a time as any to take a good, hard look at the fear that was sparked by her monthly meditation group last week. We’d been asked to examine areas of our life that needed improvement and when I thought about work and money, panic set in and has stayed there ever since.
One thing that terrifies me about experiencing my own fear are the palpitations I get. There’s nothing worse than feeling as if your heart is out of control. If there’s one thing in my life I need to be steady, it’s my ticker.
But there was no way out. The odds of me dying of a heart attack right there next to Marion’s crystal lamp were low and besides I had so much to live for – she’d made pea soup for lunch (my favourite!).
I’m not a feel the fear and do it anyway kind of person. I feel it and it often stops me from doing and saying the things I really want to. It’s why I say ‘yes’ when I really mean ‘no. It’s why I’ve turned up to countless social occasions I haven’t enjoyed and it’s what stops me charging decent rates for the work I do. Fear has been a millstone around my neck for decades. For too long.
There were no magic spells to make my fear vanish, it’s still there, but I had a good look at it and noticed how it changed with different thoughts or words and most importantly, examined the childhood memories it triggered. As an adult, they don’t seem so huge, they’re like shadow puppets, small things magnified and casting great shadows. Heaven knows what fears my own children are carrying with them into adulthood.
We also touched on my fear of appearing vulnerable. Everyone is vulnerable, but it pains me to show it. I’ll use anything to cover it up; humour, bravado and often spite. It hasn’t served me well and interestingly, I met my husband on a holistic holiday where we both did a group therapy course that was so powerful, it was impossible to mask my vulnerability. Once he’d seen it in full technicolour, I reckoned there was no point in trying to hide and I am sure this is partly why we’ve been together for 20 years.
I left the cabin with plenty to mull over, but can I use what I’ve learnt to change the way I act in every day life? I’m not going to be a brave soul overnight that’s for sure, but I’m prepared to have a go. I’ll probably fail a few times, perhaps even a lot, but practice as they say, makes perfect.