I am a long time writer about to become a first time author, and while I told you I was worried about starting this blog, it’s as nothing compared with the book. I am scared shitless. But why?
Of course, it might be the familiar fear of not being good enough—in reality (whatever that is), and in the eyes of the world I hope to enter and influence. Now that the book is just weeks away, ye old fear of being seen and judged less than (and boy do I open myself to judgment in Bare Naked at the Reality Dance) is moving front and center. It’s bound to get worse and get to the bottom of me (I mean that—IBS!—literally), unless and until I get to the bottom of it. But I’m not here to make it all about me, so I hope scoping out my fears may also help you face yours.
Is it really the fear of not enoughness that has me by the throat? Or is it the habit of fear, the idea that when we’re about to do something monumental, we should be afraid for God’s sake. There’s so much at stake, or so it feels to ego, for whom life is all about up or down and win or lose—and who the hell do you think are you anyway, Suzanne Grenager, to write a book for readers of Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, Anne Lamott, and while we’re at it, Elizabeth Gilbert, with whom I share India and ashram writing turf? Aren’t we aiming a tad high, a little too full of ourselves?
We are aiming high and we’re full of ourselves (but are we too high or full?), and ego is terrified all right. I can feel it grab at the heart and guts of me as I dare compare myself out loud with the most successful spiritual authors of our time. I ask again: Who do you think you are? It has taken me decades, but here it is: I think I am an excellent writer with plenty of wisdom to share.
Whew, I said it, even if I had to take out several qualifiers and other equivocations before I got to “excellent” and “plenty.” My ego is shaking in its boots. And isn’t it crazy how afraid we are to be counted as fabulous! Yep, that’s the big one. But if I don’t claim it for myself—terrifying as that still feels—I forgot the truth of my dear heart. I abnegate a very long lifetime of commitment to encouraging myself and everyone else I can get my hands on to see and be our greatest selves.
If after all my efforts in that direction, I won’t own my gifts out of fear of arrogance (or of being seen as arrogant—and that’s what it is), I can’t possibly encourage you to own your gifts, which I finally understand is what I am here to do. That means I can’t be myself. I can’t inspire you because I can’t expect you to do what I won’t do. I may be wrong about myself, but because my heart and gut tell me I’m right, not to own my gifts is an act of cowardice, damaging to us all.
Okay, I guess what I just did was feel the fear and do it anyway. The fear isn’t gone. But I’ve named it and shamed it for what it is—the boogeyman that tells us we shouldn’t step into and pronounce our power. It’s a really bad habit, that one, and I ask you to break it with me. Start please by leaving a comment about your deepest knowing of where you in particular shine. What is it that you, one-of-a-kind you, knows and is afraid to claim as your own? I dare you to name it. Because I really want to know, and because until we do, we give ignorance and fear the upper hand over our knowing, loving hearts, depriving our world of the light it desperately needs.
Categories: Facing Fear, Inspiration
Tags: anne lamott, byron katie, eckhart tolle, elizabeth gilbert, using your gifts, writing a book