Like many of my fellow citizens here in the U.S., that’s what I think of when it comes to July 4 and the founding of our nation. And if I think a little further, and feel a little deeper, about what freedom means to me, two additional words come to mind: from and to.
Today, as I launch this website and the essence of Being and Doing Now, which has been gestating for years, really — long before the name of it came to mind or I had an idea of how it would actually play out — I’m allowing and enabling what has been lived through experience, nurtured in spirit, and clarified in mind and heart to continue to unfold by sharing it beyond myself and my circle of family and friends.
It is a great privilege and a tremendous joy to be able to share with you. I feel ecstatic about it in many ways. And, frankly, it’s scaring the bejeezus out of parts of me.
Let’s get back to from and to, and I’ll tell you more.
I don’t know about what you experience as you step into doing something absolutely wonderful — whether it’s sharing a work you’ve created, seeing a desire of your heart taking shape and coming to fruition in the world, or anything in between — but I know, for me, it can feel like a mixed bag.
There’s fear right along with excitement. There’s a willingness to step forward and the instinct to pull back. There’s an internal voice that gently yet assuredly says, You’ve got this!, and another that vehemently asks, Who on earth do you think you are?
So, in sitting with what I’m feeling freedom from today, here are four common companions that are taking a long walk right now.
Fear. Fear is an insidious thing. I’ve been well aware of the tired, familiar games it has played with me through the years — the conscious kind that show up in various ways to keep me dragging my feet, questioning myself, or finding really good reasons for why it’s just not time yet.
A couple of weeks ago, as my wonderful husband-like life partner and I were working on getting this website ready and making some real progress toward the go-live goal, I turned to him and said, “This is really about to happen, isn’t it?” I hadn’t realized until that moment how much fear had been skulking under the surface. Once it became conscious, fear’s hold loosened. And, finally, I got to that wonderful place of being so tired of thinking about the site, planning for it, working on it, talking about it, etc., that continuing to drag my feet became more painful a proposition than just launching the dern thing.
Doubt. Self-doubt is so unkind. It’s like we pick up and make the choice to believe, over and over again, every ridiculously false thing anyone has ever said to us. We steadfastly incorporate it and make it part of who we are when it wasn’t even our burden to begin with. There’s a wise part of each and every one of us that knowingly whispers, if we’ll listen, That was never about you, love. That was someone else’s fear and pain talking. You can let it go now. You are capable, worthy, and ready.
This past weekend, I was immersed in an utterly fabulous boot camp training that reinforced the power of transformational life coaching. As I went through the strategic intervention processes myself, guided by an amazing coaching partner and facilitator (thank you, G!), the last vestiges of self-doubt fled. I reconnected with and strengthened my own internal resources.
The result? You’re reading this.
Judgment. I am my own worst critic. Although I may get comments or feedback (constructive and not) from others, ain’t nobody who criticizes me like I criticize me. Judgment is like self-doubt in the way we pick it up and become, seemingly, utterly fascinated by it — to the point where we just don’t want to put it down or let it go. But we can. It’s part of that whole loving ourselves thing.
Over time, I’ve moved from being a perfectionist to someone who seeks excellence, both in my own offerings and those of others. It takes time to see, feel, experience, and understand what that really looks like and is within ourselves and in the world. And I’m even learning what good enough to move forward means.
I’m sure that I’m absolutely alone in having these types of ideas, and you know absolutely nothing about any of them.
Projection. I’m talking the into-the-future thing here (a.k.a. anxiety and, especially, what-ifs). What if I make a mistake? What if I fail? (Horror of all horrors.) What if no one is interested in what I have to say and I end up talking to myself?
What if, indeed.
That last point was the clincher for me. It’s a question, I believe, that we creative types — anyone who creates anything, really — eventually come to terms with. The pain of not creating becomes much greater than the fear of creating, putting it out there, and being criticized or rejected.
It’s just who we are and what we do, and even if we are indeed the only ones listening, we have to do it anyway.
For me, and maybe for you, too, there was another layer to it. It was a scarred remnant of the pain that came, nearly 10 years ago now, when someone — who, by all rights, should have been a voice of support rather than discouragement — slammed this question at me when I shared what I really wanted to do with my life:
What makes you think anyone would want to pay to hear what you have to say?
Granted, y’all aren’t paying to read this blog, or to hear the podcasts that are yet to come, but the underlying message is essentially the same.
What you have to say offers no value. What you have to offer offers no value. Who you are offers no value.
Here’s the way my tendermost parts heard it:
You have no value.
We all know that’s a bunch of hogwash, right? I know that now. It took a long time to understand the true inanity of hurtfully hurled words like that from a cognitive, or head-understanding, place. And it took even longer for my heart to understand it. But once the heart begins to get it, true healing starts to happen. And when the emotions, spirit, and body get on board — well, that’s when we launch onto the path of understanding we truly are limitless.
Ultimately, that’s what we’re doing here. It’s why we’re on this planet, having all these trippy experiences, and learning the lessons our souls are guiding us to and through.
I believe we’re here to know ourselves better, love ourselves more, and share from the heart.
That’s why those three points are the core tenets of Being and Doing Now.
As you can imagine, exploring what all that looks and feels covers quite a broad topic area — taking deep dives into our own internal depths, embracing all parts of ourselves, communicating effectively, and so much more.
Being and Doing Now is feet-on-the-ground practical. It’s the messiness and the glory of day-to-day life as a human. It’s the ways and means and beauty of connecting. It’s the soaring of the spiritual, universal aspects of our nature.
It’s real. Raw at times. Honest.
It’s about the freedom to:
be ourselves • live authentically • discover what we like and don’t like, want and don’t want • create • love • be • do • laugh • share • choose • help • serve • nourish • nurture • uplift • connect • explore • give birth to • arise • contribute • align • …
Please feel free to continue this list by sharing your comments below about what freedom to means for you, and other thoughts about what this discussion may have sparked within you.
I feel excited about and so look forward to sharing this unfolding journey with you.
Much, much love to you.