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Friday, November 12, 2010

fearLESS Friday

Week 17
Learn the alchemy
true human beings know,
The moment you accept
what troubles you've been given,
the door will open.

Photo taken by Kevin Moul,            Taos, New Mexico

It's fearLESS Friday and I have to admit, I'm feeling a little bit fearless in this moment.  And that's really saying something seeing as I've been feeling more like a tiny wounded animal lately; tender & unsure, doubtful & afraid.  And the fear has been compounded because I've been doing a lot of resisting; thinking I shouldn't feel what I'm feeling--I should be stronger, tougher, less sensitive, less of who I am, more of what other people are. 

The other day I read something on someone else's blog that really wedged itself under my skin, something that hasn't wanted to leave me.  It was a woman telling another woman that "she should get thicker skin."   (She, meaning the other woman, the woman that wasn't her.)  Everything in my being reacted to this statement, this "should."  Maybe it's because the woman that "should get thicker skin," reminds me a whole lot of myself.  She's open and tender and gentle and sensitive and compassionate, she feels things very deeply.

And here's the thing, I adore this woman and I want to protect her and tell her I love her as she is, exactly as she is.  And that her "thin" skin is exactly what I love about her.  I want to tell her that there are plenty of (seemingly) thick skinned people in this world--people that cover up their precious insides with layers of thickness, layers of protection & armor, layers of shoulds and shouldn'ts.  I want to tell her that when I read her writing I feel like I'm getting a peek inside her sweet, beautiful, treasure of a soul.  And that this is exactly what I love about her. 

As I write this, I feel my heart beating faster and more alive.  I am aware that I write this to myself.  I am aware that I have been telling myself for a long long long time to get thicker skin.  Oh goodness, this feels profound.  I didn't come here this morning to write about this--it just seems to be flowing directly out of mind had a whole other idea of what it was going to write about.  I've been coming here every Friday for 17 weeks now to post my words, or someone else's words about fearlessness, and I feel like I'm just starting to really get what fearlessness means to me. 

And this is what I'm getting:

It's so not about toughness and thick skinned-ness.
It's about being willing to sit with discomfort for long enough to really hear what it has to say (even if the thick skinned parts of me want to run like hell). 
It's about showing up real and whole and messy and broken. 
It's about coming back to myself again and again to take an honest look at what my thin-skinned, beautiful, whole, transparent insides are trying to say. 
It's about being willing to look at my "dark" sides and being willing to put them in the light for me (and others) to see
It's about being real about the secret ache in my heart, the longing parts, the tender, afraid parts
It's about pausing long enough to lean in and listen to what that still quiet voice is saying
It's about calling bullshit on the heady parts (sometimes disguised as other people) that/who tell me I'm too this or too that. 
It's about being real with myself and people around me about what's really going on, about how I'm really feeling.  
It's about looking & listening, instead of reacting & reaching. 
It's about sitting with instead of running screaming away
It's about not hiding my humanness, the humanness that we all share.
It's about knowing that my little self can't do it all and that leaning into/trusting/surrendering to my higher self/source/spirit/God is the only way I'll ever find true peace

I'm sure this list will continue to grow and expand and grow some more as I continue to allow myself to blossom more fully into me. 

And now I must share some quotes that have completely gotten inside of me and speak to exactly what I'm trying to say here:

"Going beyond fear begins when we examine our fear:  our anxiety, nervousness, concern and restlessness.  If we look into our fear, if we look beneath the veneer, the first things we find is sadness, beneath the nervousness.  Nervousness is cranking up, vibrating all the time.  When we slow down, when we relax with our fear, we find sadness, which is calm and gentle.  Sadness hits you in your heart, and your body produces a tear.  Before you cry, there is a feeling in your chest and then, after that, you produce tears in your eyes.  You are about to produce rain or a waterfall in your eyes and you feel sad and lonely and perhaps romantic at the same time.  That is the first tip of fearlessness, and the first sign of real warriorship.  You might think that, when you experience fearlessness, you will hear the openings to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony or see a great explosion in the sky, but it doesn't happen that way.  Discovering fearlessness comes from working with the softness of the human heart."     Chogyam Trungpa

And now I'm overwhelmed with what quote to share next, there is so much truth in this little book beside me called, "Broken Open," by Elizabeth Lesser...if you haven't gotten your hands on it yet, I highly recommend it.  Here's another:

"If you're interested in opening the door to the heavens, start with the door to your own secret self.  See what happens when you offer to another a glimpse of who you really are.  Start slowly.  Without getting dramatic, share the simple dignity of yourself in each moment--your triumphs and your failures, your satisfaction and your sorrow.  Face your embarrassment of being human, and you'll uncover a deep well of passion and compassion.  It's a great power, your Open Secret.  When your heart is undefended, you make it safe for whomever you meet to put down his burden of hiding, and then you both can walk through the open door." 

And If you're still reading...I know this has been a long one, I want to leave you with a prayer; sweet, tender words written by Elizabeth Lesser.  This is my prayer for you & for me, in Elizabeth's beautiful words.

"I pray that each one of us stays awake as we fall.  I pray that we choose to go into the abyss willingly and that our fall is cushioned by faith--faith that at the bottom we will be caught and taught and turned toward the light.  I pray that we don't waste precious energy feeling ashamed of our mistakes, or embarrassed by our flaws.  After years of teaching, I know only a few things for sure.  One of them is this:  We are chunks of dense matter that need to be cracked open.  Our errors and failings are chinks in the heart's armor through which our true colors can shine."  Elizabeth Lesser

I hope you go out today and shine your colors for the whole wide world to see. Your colors, just exactly as they perfectly are.


  1. So powerful! So much strength here, and so much recognition of the power of being real. This post helped me in a fearful moment. Thank you for posting what was coming through for you here. I love your list and your quotes! So true, that it is the sadness there first with the fear.

  2. Oh wow I have so much to say. I wrote a post called a wish for thicker skin and a world without the news. I had watched too much news that day and it just flattened me- I took it all in a felt it so deeply. Sometimes I wish I didn't have to feel it all so much but, like you, I know it is what makes me- I do not have layers of armor around me. No walls of bricks. For years I have heard from time to time that I am "too sensitive." Yes. I am. Sensitive. And open. And full of light. And after reading your inspiring post, feeling fearless.

    You are a true gift to me Julia. I also want to say that the quotes really spoke to me and the book Broken Open is one of my favorites too. Elizabeth Lesser is thin skinned and brilliant.

    Sending so much love and gratitude to you...


What are you thinking/feeling? I'd really love to know...

♥ Julia