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Telling the Heart

“I’ve become so intimate with fear/I am now the presence that exists at the end of it.”

— Meggan Watterson

Fear was like this three-headed monster that hung over me for most of my life. When I look back at my youth and my early (and even into mid-) adulthood, most of the memories that I do have (I’m missing many) feel heavy. As an empath, I felt everything and I had no language to understand it. I didn’t know that it was Mary’s anger, or the cashier’s pain, or my friend’s frustration that I was feeling, I just knew that I was feeling crushed by a need to take care of everyone and an overwhelming fear that I would never be able to do so and that I would somehow be hurt in the process.

The fear grew and grew until it encompassed just about every area of my life. I was a straight-A student afraid of failing, an all-star athlete afraid of not making a goal or hitting a handspring on the vault. When I discovered alcohol and drugs in high school, the pressure finally felt relieved. I felt like I could say, “Fuck it!” without caring as much what that really meant. I began hiding behind a wall while simultaneously building it higher and higher. I still performed well, but even that just became bricks and mortar for the sealing of my self-imposed limitations.

I was terrified of putting myself out into the world in a real way, of being vulnerable, of feeling more than I already felt. I was so, so scared to feel. It was too much and the thought of failing in anything that was a true expression of who I was felt too scary to even attempt. I stayed small, safe, hidden. I deflected, projected, and pushed.

I had many mini-turning points towards becoming courageous, beginning with sobriety. Committing to not drinking or drugging on a day-to-day basis was huge and it gave me a glimpse of a different possibility, one in which I could actually be awake in my own life. Lots of energy healing helped me to start peeling away the layers of self-deprecation that I had layered on over the years and gave me a glimpse of my potential. It also helped me to shift patterns around past trauma that were contributing to my fear.

After a workshop with Jennifer Pastiloff, I decided to do one thing every day that scared me regardless of whether that one thing was to open a piece of mail, accept a phone call, or tell someone I loved them. Every time I felt scared, I asked myself if I could do it anyway, despite the fear. Almost always the answer was yes. Sometimes I had to put a thing or two on a back burner and do something a little less frightening that day instead. And eventually – though honestly it was relatively very quickly – things just didn’t have the same hold over me anymore. What happened was that I built a faith muscle that showed me over and over again that no matter what came to pass, I was okay.

This shift in perception allowed me to move fully onto my path as a healer and coach, and it was what now allows me to help others to do the same. I have had to say “yes” over and over again. Sometimes it is still hard. Sometimes I need a friend or a colleague to see the fear in my eyes and remind me that I am ready and that I can do it before I can jump. And sometimes I take things really slowly because it just feels better to do so.

Originally, the meaning of the word courage was, “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” I love this. When I tell my heart, I feel good despite the fear that may have been there. And when I tell my heart by expressing the most authentic me that I can out in the world, my heart expands and fills with even more love that can be shared.

Finding our path and shifting onto it is an act of courage and perseverance. It asks us to open ourselves up fully and completely in a way that allows us to express our gifts in the world without fear of judgment or failure. It demands that we be vulnerable and trust.

I have found my edge. My comfort zone has space for discomfort now and is ever-widening. I am myself on the other side of fear – not without it, but not within it either. It no longer defines me and it no longer tells me what I can or cannot do. It has become a guidepost and when it pops up, I know that I have to step up. It’s not always easy, but it is always rewarding.

Le Résistance!


I’ve noticed lately that writing has felt like a chore. As soon as I committed to really moving forward with it, the inspiration bucket seemed to run dry. If I’m not actively avoiding it, I’m skirting around it by re-reading things, looking for documentation of something or just typing a paragraph of gibberish before finding something else that absolutely needs to be done right this minute before I type another word.

I’m aware of what I’m doing and yet I am merely watching myself as a spectator and not taking too many clear and focused steps to move through the resistance.  And with each passing day, the weight on my shoulders and the lump in my throat get just a wee bit bigger.

I have come a really long way to be right where I am and it was an often very difficult path and so I am really proud of myself. I am also very aware of myself. I know my patterns and my bullshit (though I also recognize that it’s more like cat shit these days). I’ve spent years breaking these patterns down and stepping out of my comfort zone and so I know when to call myself out and yet – I haven’t been doing that.

My writing usually happens through some sort of divine intervention and it goes something like this: I’m moving through my day, I notice something about myself or someone else that reminds me of something and an idea pops into my head. I then spend a few days allowing it to sort of roll around my heart and my brain before I sit down and pound it out. When this happens, it flows and it’s exhilarating and I feel like, “Damn! I got it!”  A little editing ensues and then I send it off somewhere or post it on my site. It’s all one neat looking little package.

The comfort zone of my neat little package is somewhere around 1,000 words. It usually happens naturally that my idea begin to wrap itself up around 700-800 words and unless spirit throws me another bone, it will tie its bow about 200-300 words later. Easy-peasy. It’s a sweet spot that I’ve been in for several years now and it’s been good for me.

Even in that layout, I seldom publish more than one piece a month though, and although I’ve written with deadlines and such before, it was always under the structure of a specific topic being assigned to me and not because Spirit was whispering sweet nothings in my ear.

Recently I’ve been working on a book. Great, right?! It is so exciting and fun to talk about writing a book and secretly I’ve wanted to do it for years. I even started a fictional novel close to seven years ago and it was going really, really well until my inspiration well ran dry (read: Janet’s fear kicked in). Despite picking it up several times since then, not another word has been written.

And now here I am stuck in a corner with a new idea for a book that sounded great in my head until I had to sit down and write it. Every word within me has seemed to freeze. This is the most I’ve written in a good while now and it is because I finally hit the threshold where the discomfort of not writing is greater than the discomfort of actually doing it. I am struggling in this space outside of my comfort zone and finding it difficult enough to stick my head out the door let alone walk through it.

I’m sick of my resistance, my excuses, my utter lack of faith in myself to come up with an idea. I am so tired of my ego standing in between me and where I want to be. The truth of the matter is that I’m scared. I’m scared if I do and I’m scared if I don’t. I can sit here and wait for inspiration to strike and notice that I’m scared and do subconscious releases and heal, but at the heart of it all, if I don’t take action, nothing will happen. The words actually can write themselves, but I still have to sit my ass in a chair and allow them to glide through my fingertips.

Somehow I have found a way to flow in many areas of my life, so when I’m stuck, I notice it immediately and it becomes harder and harder to stay in a stagnant space. I want so much to grow, and expansion demands that I live on the edge of my comfort zone. I have to walk through it and let go of the old ideas that may have worked really well when I was a different version of myself (or may not have though I clung to them anyway). The willingness to change my thinking and try something new is a rather novel concept for me and one that has dramatically shifted my life. I don’t want to stop and I don’t want to shrink. And so I must move forward, one step at a time, regardless of how small that step might seem.

I am the only thing that ever gets in my way. Understanding this is liberating. Sometimes it might look like other things are the obstacles, and my ego would love for me to believe that, but in truth…It’s always just little ole me standing resolutely in the middle of the path staring right back at me. For such a small person, I can make myself really big when it comes to creating excuses and justifications for not writing. The reel goes something like this: I’ve been really busy! I have had a lot of sessions and I’ve been getting things in order and I have to run Jake aroundEverything is great, but I just haven’t been able to sit down and write.

My boyfriend likes to remind me (all the time because I need it) that if we really want to do something, we make it a priority. All of the things that I tell myself that are in the way are valid and true with the exception of the fact that they are not actually in my way. They are a part of my experience; they do not block it unless I allow them to do so. Learning to maneuver the path with grace and ease is a skill that many very busy people have attained. There is always time and I have a choice in how I want to spend it. So as I look at this, I am able to see that time can in fact be on my side as long as I’m willing to be honest with myself about how I want to utilize it. Writing is an investment in me and my future and my wellbeing. Honoring that allows me to see that is the very reason that I hesitate to engage with it; it is the very reason that resistance tugs at my shirtsleeve.

Today I choose to allow the resistance to become le résistance! It feels good to write when I remember and acknowledge why I do it. And this has been a good reminder to be gentle with myself. I’ve never written a book before, so the first time through will be a little uncomfortable at times. I will have some false starts, as a dear friend recently shared with me. If I can just remember that and sit and write through the discomfort, inspiration will be able to flow from within me no matter where I am.

Folding Fear into Faith

I used to be the biggest scaredy-cat. Very simple tasks were often overwhelming for me and this led to a sort of paralysis in most aspects of my life. Piles of mail would remain unopened because I was afraid of what might lurk inside. Phone calls were usually held off until the last minute or even past the last minute. There was this heavy, sticky energy that surrounded me most of the time, but I couldn’t clear it because the fear was my constant companion.  The irony is that I’d grown so accustomed to the fear that I was afraid to get rid of it.

I borrowed courage sometimes when I drank or took drugs and because of that it was easy to fool myself into believing that I wasn’t really scared. This bravado carried me through a good twenty years of engaging in ridiculously dangerous activities that should have gotten me killed while avoiding the day-to-day tasks that could have actually made my life sincerely, authentically enjoyable.

The major side-effect of all of this fear was that it kept me disconnected from me. I had no idea who I was. I knew who I pretended to be and I knew who I wanted to be. I could hear a voice whispering inside of me, but I couldn’t make out the words. I continued to just sort of drift along in my life, thinking that I was “figuring things out” when actually I was running all over the world trying to simultaneously find myself and escape from myself.

A huge shift occurred about 10 months ago. There had been many little shifts leading up to it as over the past several years I struggled to understand why my life wasn’t working the way that I wanted it to. A huge “stuckness” had fallen over me as my youth slipped into my past and I was still doing the same things I had been doing just because I had been doing them and not because I really wanted to be doing them. I began to up my healing work and I began to really dip down into my being. It took several years to do this as I tiptoed through my pain, looking at each little piece of it, opting to clear some while rigidly holding onto others. What finally happened is that the pain of staying where I was – knowing that I was not being true to myself – finally became too intense. I was tired of scurrying and ready to leap.

I attended a Jennifer Pastiloff workshop last year, something that I highly recommend for any of you feeling fear of any sort. She works a lot with clearing fear so that you can manifest the life that you truly want. It’s about letting go and forgiving yourself and others so that you can fully express yourself and your joy. Powerful stuff. I realized that by continuing to live the way that I was living, I was only going to experience more of the same. I understood for the first time that if I wanted change, I was going to have to change. This seems so simple, but I had spent years trying to find any loophole in this axiom so that I could avoid really showing the world who I was. I was too afraid that people wouldn’t like me if they really knew me. (If they didn’t like the “me” that I projected to the world, I felt that was somehow safer.)

Immediately following that epiphany, I made one of the most courageous decisions of my life. I vowed that I would do something every single day that scared me. Initially I was able to uphold this. I was afraid of so much that I had material to last for several months. During this time, I noticed something amazing: Nothing catastrophic happened. In fact, really good things started to happen. As I made the connection between the world not falling out from under me and me creating meaningful changes in my life, I began to really and truly experience faith on a deep level for the first time ever. I was finally able to stop caring what other people thought of me, and I was able to rest in the truth that those on the same path as me would find me. I just knew that I would be supported. Now, my experience of fear is completely different. Not only do I not live in fear, but when I feel it in my body, I acknowledge it and then move through it.

As I have let go of my fears and expectations of how the outcome should be/needs to be, I have learned that there is freedom in life to be who I want to be and to pursue the dreams I want to manifest. The people that I love sometimes give me that little look like, “Aw, isn’t she cute! She believes in healing and angels and Spirit and psychic mumbo jumbo” but they still love me. And it’s okay if they don’t believe in it. I have found a community that does and I am helping people to heal. As a result, my life is richer and fuller and I experience much more joy and abundance. In the end, that is all that matters.