FEARLESS We Paint: Guest Post By Tracy Carlton
Published on December 16, 2010
A New Look at Fear
So what does it mean to be FEARLESS?
I see myself as someone who’s done some pretty FEARLESS things in my life ~ moving to Tokyo when I was 21, backpacking around Asia for 4 months, moving to Prague without a job not knowing a soul, starting a nonprofit organization, opening a belly dance studio…
But then there’s other kinds of FEARLESS, like running off a cliff with a parachute on your back, appearing on national TV, quitting a well-paid salaried job to work for oneself, or calling up that nasty bully-girl from junior high and inviting her to tea. (Ha ha, that last one would be a doozy!).
And you know, it’s funny, by that definition, I don’t think I’m FEARLESS at all!
So it’s incredibly frustrating, knowing how much I’ve accomplished in my life, to still having Fear with a capital F show up again and again.
But what I’ve learned is the thing about fear, whatever kind it is, it doesn’t really ever go away. What makes the difference is how you respond to it. And recently I experienced first hand a whole new way of looking at fear. So that even in those areas where fear still lurks, and trust me, there are plenty, my whole perspective has shifted!
This summer I was able to stretch way out of my comfort zone and paint on really BIG pieces of paper (thank you very much Ms. Connie). And by doing that I was gifted with a new way of seeing me. I was given permission to create on a bigger canvas, to create an even bigger life. I learned to embrace a different perspective and a new lens through which to view myself. And even better, a chance to actually redefine what it means to be FEARLESS.
Having a huge blank white surface in front of me that needed to be filled, well, fear was ready and waiting ~ old fears, new fears, irrational ones, and petty ones. I quickly learned to recognize fear, waving its arms in front of me, halting me in my tracks, telling me it doesn’t matter what I’ve already done in my life, saying things like…
“you call that painting?”
“you’ll never be an artist”
“you’d better take some more drawing classes”
“you don’t even dress like an artist for goodness sake”
(Whatever THAT means!)
What was different this time though, was that instead of making a hasty retreat or pretending it wasn’t there, I took a good long look at that fear, acknowledged it, thanked it, and didn’t let it stop me. I pushed through. I kept painting. And fear didn’t go away, it was right there along side me. But the paintbrush kept moving. The feelings poured out and the tears flowed. And I kept going ~ with fear right there the whole time!
So what was on the other side? To be honest? Sometimes it was exhaustion. But it was also this unbelievable sense of accomplishment! I did it! Whoo hoo! Yay me!
The image on the paper? Well, that really wasn’t the point. It didn’t matter if the colors I chose came from wrong areas on the color wheel. It didn’t matter if the eyes looked crossed. Or the perspective was all wonky. That’s not what it was all about.
Nope. It was about dancing the dance with fear. Taking back the power it held over me. Reclaiming it for myself. Letting it hang out along side if it needed to. But moving forward anyway.
And you know what?
It feels GREAT! I highly recommend it. As scary as it is.
You know what’s even better? Find yourself a group of like-minded souls, trust that they have your back, that as you make friends with fear, you are not alone. It’s so much easier with others!
And you know, approaching fear this way has opened doors in other areas of my life too, really surprising ones! And I feel that the possibilities are ENDLESS! There’s no stopping me now!
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