I recently dove into a big volunteer project, co-leading an initiatory process for young women leading to a solo experience in nature (a Vision Quest or Vision Cry).
Learning to face your fears is one of the truly heroic tasks of initiation. Sometimes you’ll face real scary things, like snakes, bugs or animals. More often, it’s your inner fears. These young women are brave for stepping into that.
For me, it’s not lions, tigers or bears. It’s Crickets.
“Crickets” is the dead quiet that can happen when nobody responds to something you put ‘out there’ on the Interwebs. No calls, no emails, nothing. Just — crickets.
One morning as I drafted an email to request some interviews, the Fear Monster raised its head from deep in my gut. It said, “What if no one responds?”
I tried to sidestep it, to breathe, work past it. But it had me in its grip. Because I’ve known crickets.
Fear whispers, “They won’t like you. You don’t know how to be with people. That’s why you always work alone. You’re crazy to take on a business where you show people your real self and ask for something back.”
Shadows know how to get our attention, eh? I let Fear take me to a hard place, one I’ve visited several times. It felt very ancient and deep, maybe from infancy. From there, Fear said: “Don’t trust people. They will let you down. You can’t depend on them.”
Hours later, I was exhausted. Wads of wet tissues in my lap. I hadn’t sent my email. But I’d met my real fear, named it (fear of abandonment, lack of trust) and claimed it. So I could tame it.
Yes, Trust has been hard for me at times. Some people won’t care or get what I’m doing. But it’s not about their approval. It’s about me stepping up to do what I’m here for. And putting it out there.”
By choosing to reinvent yourself, you enter an initiation. You will face fear, because you’re an explorer on the edge, gathering valuable insights. Even if it’s for you and the crickets.
Question: How do you face your fears? What helps you tame them?