Own the Fear and Do it Anyway.

"The easiest way to avoid wrong notes is to never open your mouth and sing. What a mistake that would be." ~ Joan Oliver Goldsmith

In pursuit of happiness, I have been carving out time in my day to write. Writing clears my brain much like yoga does. Gets me out of over thinking and allows my fingers to quickly spill thoughts to ease my mind-wandering. 

But, what I've written hasn't felt share-worthy. Overly critical of myself and protective of those that I love, my writing has been my exclusive therapy. The past few days, I've spewed all the feelings that I have been afraid to say, even to myself. Everything taboo. Everything that people say you shouldn't write about until after anyone who can verify the story is long gone. 

One writing, however, stood out, pulling at my heart. About to post it, I shelved after a good friend read it and gave less than enthusiastic feedback. I felt derailed. Taking risks, something I've never minded doing, suddenly felt too impulsive. 
“There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally.” ~ Miguel Ruiz
I know that I should not heed what others are saying or simply not saying, and listen and abide by my own intuition. I don't really know how to do this consistently. Just like you, I take other's words and paste them on the wall of my heart-- good or bad. 

The only way I know how to not to take things personally is to look. Look at the person who is speaking. What do you see? Not on the outer shell but in their soul? Are they wounded? Are they clueless? Do they speak from bitterness? Are they in a circumstance unfamiliar to you? Or do they really mean well? Which is usually the case, and then I distort it and make the entire thing... about me. 

Everyone has their story. And, our stories tend to define us. If we can see compassionately through someones words or lack of words and realize they are simply telling us a narrative that is their own, then that spark of equanimity might blaze through and ignite freedom in us.  
"Always do what you are afraid to do." Ralph Waldo Emerson 
Learning to own my fears and still do it anyway...that is the start of living. Correctedness is not an absolute. Writing, the effort, results and how I identify with it, isn't my primary aim. It's always been a process of personal growth to share a story and then give it away once it's done. 

"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that?"  Writing myself alive, again. 

"The only way to fail, is not to write." Gail Sher 




Image: artist Lisa Congdon


  1. You, as so often, ricochet inside my soul, tumbling ever so gratefully into my heart. I always find a graced nuance to your writing which I am, therefore, happy to paste onto it! There is a beautiful and profound tension between "not heeding what others are saying" and to "see compassionately through someone's words" and allow that "spark of equanimity" to blaze through. Yes, we all have our narratives...and yes, they can tend to define us, but they also, I think, join us in this wonderful thing we call humanity. It is an amazingly lush and richly storied tapestry that we all are constantly weaving together. So in the end we should follow our own intuition, our own unique thread, but let the color be informed by and the texture be embraced by the compassionate mindfulness we have for everyone sharing the loom. I am so thankful you write, Melissa, so thankful you share your stories....and so thankful that your spark blazes through me.

    1. That's a more gracious reply than deserved... but I'll take the encouragement. Thanks, Scot. Grateful heart. :)


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