Sunday, November 01, 2009

Sacred Life Sunday: Back to the Wall....

This morning's class was a real challenge!

It was about putting the philosophical into practical application. It's easy to philosophize things. It's even easy to admit my considerable fears and reservations. To commit to change is entirely different.

The instructor had us write a list of things we are willing to do to become spiritually mature.

I pulled out my stenography notebook and began writing. It flowed out and I let it. I wanted to see where it would go.

1. Be brave! In small steps. Be willing to step outside of my comfort zone, despite social phobia. Spend less time in the company and safety of written words and more in the company of living beings.

2. Be brave! To get beyond fear of inclusion. Being included does not automatically mean I will be engulfed. Trust others. Trust that they will respect my boundaries. Trust that I will respect theirs.

3. Be brave! Be willing to corral some of my gypsy spirit and commit to being part of a group. Be flexible Get over fear of group politics.

4. Be brave! Trust that God will catch me before I fall. I'm terrified of spiritual heights and I've found much safety in "living small" so I'd be safe. I've avoided fearful things rather than confronting them.

5. Be brave! Stop living in abject fear of rejection. It has kept me from growing in every area of my life. Let go of the past and participate in the future.

This was all very easy to write, as I said. I'm good at that. (I didn't even edit it before including it here. This is exactly as it came out in class.)

And then I remember how terrified I'd been for the half hour I had to stand around before the class started. There were hundreds of people, all attending a service or going to a different class. It was like standing still for a picture and not knowing what to do with my hands. I scanned the environment for an escape. Go out and wait in my car. Find the restroom. Anything that would remove me from that awkward position, surrounded by families and friends, all of whom knew each other. I felt like an idiot standing alone.

I wanted to run.

So... even knowing I have to overcome these things to fully reach my own potential and to contribute something meaningful to the community, I still want to run and hide. It's scary. Very scary!

Now I have to come up with an actionable plan, something I am willing to do to get beyond these things. It doesn't have to be a permanent and immediate solution ~ but it has to be something I can actually do.

That is my task during the week and then next Sunday, I will likely be coached publicly in front of the class. (That should interesting! Ahem.) Anyway, that is my first Be Brave step. I will allow the instructor to coach me that way - and I will be honest.

Now I'm going to go hide under the bed for a while. I think I need a warm blanket and a teddy bear. :)



slouchy said...

Being included does not automatically mean I will be engulfed.

That is such an important lesson for those who tend towards social phobia. Do you know the psychologist Aaron Beck? He writes about "automatic thoughts" that keep clients stuck in self-defeating patterns. He would call the above one of your automatic thoughts (in the negative, of course -- i.e., the automatic thought would be, "Being included means being engulfed"). It's something you always assumed to be true. But when you break the thought down and analyze it, you can (eventually) see the inconsistencies in it.

meno said...

I hate that "standing alone in a group" feeling. Seeking to escape is my natural tendency.

That's quite a list you have there. I think you can do it.

painted maypole said...

being brave doesn't mean not being scared. It means stepping out with courage when you ARE scared and nervous.

you ARE brave. Keep being brave.

Molly said...

I've heard it said that the greatest heroes were scared to death, but did what they did in spite of the fear----just like you mentioned about getting out of your comfort zone.

Akannie said...

Ralph Waldo Emerson said "Always do what you are afraid to do."

And look at you!! You are!!

I am not one with these problems, but I do have a litany of stuff of my own. Whatever our roadblocks are, we can joyously climb over them, if we want to get where we want to go badly enough.

Love reading your blog Chani....

Leann said...

I too hate to stand around in groups. I have found that if I choose one person and smile, they make a connection with me and I don't feel so alone anymore.

Z said...

I'm so impressed. Good for you. I know people who've worked out why they behave in certain ways, but then use those reasons as excuses not to change, rather than as a way of working out how to change into who they wanted to be. You're taking that further step.

Anvilcloud said...

I understand about standing alone. Been there; done that.

Olivia said...

What an exciting journey you are on, Chani! I wish you all the best in coming up with a plan. I know that you can do this, too. Wow, what a week you're going to have. I can hardly wait to see the next step. Love, O

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I am not a joiner by nature but also feel extremely uncomfortable when I'm alone while all around me others are socializing, but I think it should be noted that just as running and hiding (or avoiding) is our habitual comfort zone, for most people, being part of a crowd spells comfort and security. Maybe we are the brave ones for daring to be alone when we have no compelling reason to join the group.

As for you, Missy, I believe that you can do anything you set out to do if you remain honest with yourself and don't sabotage your own efforts to get back to the old comfort zone.

Mary LA said...

I'm a big believer in small steps or 'micro movements'

secret agent woman said...

Good for you. Walk tall and carry a cozy blankie.

Angela said...

Chani, you are brave. :)

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Thank you for your vulnerability and courage in this post. And remember what you said about sall steps. I truly believe that is how change happens most effectively.