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You Gotta Love Serendipity – Shawna R. B. Atteberry
Mar 032009

I just read something I really, really needed from Havi Brooks’ awesome site The Fluent Self (If you don’t read her, go subscribe. Now.) Her latest post is “Avoidance! Oh, and getting out of it”:

You’re avoiding the thing that’s holding all your dreams? Good grief! Of course you are! That symbolic weight? It’s that much potential for hurt and disappointment.

If you weren’t avoiding it on some level, I’d be worried about you. If you could do the thing easily and painlessly, without having to spend years and years working on your stuff to get there… I’d probably assume that it didn’t mean everything to you.

It’s not this: “Even though I thought this meant everything to me, I’m still avoiding it so clearly I don’t really care about it.”

It’s this: “Wow, this means everything to me… so of course I’m avoiding it.”

This is where I’ve been with my writing. It is my dream to write. My whole world is wrapped up in that. But lately I have been wondering at my own avoidance. Does it mean this is what I should be doing? Is this really not what I want to be doing? May be I should just be satisfied with writing as a hobby and get a “real job.”

Then I read this post. And Havi is absolutely right. The reason I am avoiding this is because it really is my heart’s dream. It’s huge. It’s monumental. Of course I’m scared to death. Of course I’m avoiding it. Because there is so “much potential for hurt and disappointment.” Of course there is reisitance and fear: this dream is everything to me.

Instead of beating myself up and berating myself, I need to continue to take Havi’s advice:

To say to yourself:

“Of course I’m afraid. It makes sense that I’m afraid. This fear is a temporary part of where I’m at right now. And even though I’d really like to not need to have it around anymore, this is where I am right now.

I am allowed to have this fear.

This is me noticing how much space my fear takes up. This is me reminding myself that my fear is only one part of who I am. It is not all of me. It is of me, but it is not me.”

Because so much space opens up right after you’ve softened the resistance and the fighting with yourself.

Every time I interrogate myself (”Why am I so tired? Why can’t I write this blog post? How come I don’t feel like doing yoga?”), my reaction is resistance.

Every time I notice what I’m feeling and give myself permission to feel it (”Wow, I guess I need some rest. I’m allowed not to always be in the zone”), I feel safe. Safe and comforted.

Invariably, I remember what it’s like to not be fighting with myself.

Instead of fight myself, I need create a safe space within myself for this fear. And in this space I will feel safe enough to create. I feel a lot better knowing what this fear and avoidance are about. It’s about this being my dream, and not that I’m wrong about what I should be doing. My “real job” is writing. It is exactly what I should be doing.

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