Monthly Archives: December 2014

FOFU – Fear of f—g up

Yesterday I discovered a fear. Well, I knew I had it. I’m sure I’ve even blogged about it. But yesterday it hit me full force. I felt it take over my brain and control my thoughts and emotions. There was no way out.

I’m working through something and there’s a process I’m following. A process with guidelines which I, in my ability to be rigid, can interpret as steadfast rules. And yesterday I chose to break the rules. Well, I broke one rule unintentionally, but actively chose to try something different for a second rule.

All hell broke loose. I could hear the chastising voice in my head – the voice I call my editor – shouting at me that I had f—d everything up. That the process would no longer work. That I had Failed and was a Failure. With intentional capital F’s. That there was no way back. That all hope was lost.

This wasn’t fun and it lasted for longer than I liked. But the good news is multifold.

First, it made me realize that I hadn’t really heard from my editor in quite some time. She used to be a constant in my mind. Everything I’d think or say, she’d have a retort. And the retorts were never supportive and kind. There were lambasting. Cruel. Cutting. She seems to be mostly gone. I hadn’t even noticed that.

Second, it also made me realize that my FOFU could be triggered, and triggered hard. That while it lies seemingly latent most, or at least much, of the time, it is still in me and in me deep. My inability to pull myself out of the negativity, even if only for a few hours, revealed how deeply into me my FOFU was carved. Which gave me an even stronger desire to release it.

And third, and perhaps most important and amazing, is that I did release it. I released my FOFU. I reached for many of the self-care tools I’ve learned and practiced, and I worked them. I worked them hard. I soothed myself with caring words, telling myself over and over that I hadn’t f—d it up and that everything was going to be okay. I caught myself every time my editor spoke up, and reminded myself that what she was sharing wasn’t true. I called people I love and trust to help me realize and remember that “you f—d this up” was a lie. I replaced and replaced and replaced this lie with a more caring truth.

It would be nice if there wasn’t a default FOFU inside me. It would be nice if I did something that felt like breaking rules and I didn’t think I had broken rules, or I didn’t care. It would be very, very nice. But for now, at least, my FOFU exists. And for now, at least, I’ve learned how to ease my way out of it and to be okay.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Categories: Resilience, , , , Tags:

The glory of my monkey mind

It was rampant yesterday. I’m not sure why. My monkey mind was clamoring to rule my mood and my day – or rather, to ruin my mood and my day.

Monkey mind – it’s a Buddhist term meaning “unsettled, restless, inconstant, confused, indecisive, and uncontrollable.” I use it to describe my thoughts as they race, question, doubt, and worry. My monkey mind is the part of me that rushes ahead to figure out the conclusion, dashing about here and there, unable to calm down and let go and let be.

I sat on the couch, trying to relax. As soon as I’m trying to relax, rather than relaxing, I know something is off. I couldn’t focus my attention, and my brain filled with a jumble of ideas, opinions, and evaluations, mostly critical. I heard myself condemning myself and others, finding fault with what I was feeling, and doing, and even thinking. My monkey mind was rampant. What could be glorious in that?

There’s an old adage that “it’s always darkest before the dawn.” I don’t think this is actually true. Nonetheless, it applies to my monkey mind because it is usually my darkest, most challenging moments that propel me towards a personal dawn. It’s when I’ve suffered, and gotten tired of suffering, that I am fueled to have a different experience or approach something a different way.

My monkey mind – my jumping about, unable to settle down, full of worry mind – forces me to be aware of my need for peace, calm, and quiet. Even as I struggle against peace, calm, and quiet. The part of my brain (and being ) that is racing, chastising, and relentlessly moving strengthens my desire to find a way to ease and soothe. To take a deep breath. To sip a cup of tea. To look for what’s working, beautiful, and comforting.

To feed my monkey a banana in the hopes of assuaging it, to allow it to play in the hopes of engaging it, and to simply find a way to let it, and everything, be.

This desire is the glory of my monkey mind.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Categories: Resilience, , , , Tags:

Feed the right wolf

“An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. ‘A fight is going on inside me,’ he said to the boy. ‘It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.’

He continued, ‘The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.’

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, ‘Which wolf will win?’ The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one you feed.'”

Cherokee legend

I came across this legend in Thrive by Arianna Huffington. I love it.

It resonates with me and reminds me of the decision I have – every day and every minute. I can feed my evil wolf, and at times I do. More often than I care to admit. More often than I want to. I can fall into anger or regret or self-pity. Or guilt. Especially guilt. I can find myself in these dark places, wondering how I got there and feeling as if I had no other option.

But I also can feed my good wolf. I can actively search out joy and love. I can dial up my empathy and truth, and be more generous and kind. I can choose how I respond to others, instead of simply reacting. They can annoy me and I can find compassion. Life can frustrate me and I can look for what’s working. Things can seem too tough and impossible to survive (or at least really, really hard to survive), and I can have faith that “the sun will come out tomorrow” and “this too will pass.”

It takes more effort to feed the good wolf. It takes staying mindful and aware, and making a conscious – and sometimes seemingly difficult – choice. It takes building and exercising muscles that I may not know I have, and changing my behaviors and attitudes.

I can feed the right wolf.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Categories: Resilience, , , , Tags: