Hello, awesome readers.
In October of last year, I went to a writer’s retreat in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.
Confession: While I was boarding the plane on that Monday morning, half of me felt like I was “living the dream”. Seriously. Going to a writer’s retreat was something I had always wanted to do.
Only half of you, you ask?
Ah. Very observant of you, dear reader. So while THAT half of me was busy crossing off go-to-a-writer’s-retreat from my bucket list, the other, LOUDER half of me was screaming words of self-doubt.
You’ve probably heard these words in your head too. Things like …
“What. Are. You. DOING?”
“Taking a week off, huh? You do realize that you should be spending that time cleaning out the garage, right?”
“Travelling BY YOURSELF? What are you thinking??? Something bad is going to happen. Something terrible! You may even wake up dead at the bottom of the ocean!”
Oh and I love this one …
“Enjoy who you are now – so safe and sheltered – because you’re going to come back a different person after that terrible, unknown thing happens.”
That last one always makes me question who I’m ignoring. It almost sounds like a dare. It’s confusing because if you read the same books I do, they’re always telling us to listen to our inner voice. But let’s be real here. The difference between our inner voice and our fears is sometimes no difference at all. They sound the same!
You’re sitting in your favorite restaurant and your mouth is watering shamelessly as you anticipate that pasta dish you love. Even though you already know what you’re going to order, you still browse through the menu because part of you is wondering if you should try something different. Then you hear that voice. You know the one. It’s telling you to, “Order the pasta. What if you order a different dish and you’re disappointed?”
Here’s the question. And it’s not a trick question:
Who’s speaking? Is that your inner voice of KNOWING or is it the voice of your fears?
Back to my story from a year ago …
So here I was, loving the IDEA of going to a writer’s retreat while battling with the voice of fear. Or was it my inner voice of intuition? Here’s what usually happens when I travel by myself: I get lost. I forget to eat. I miss my dog.
Well guess what? Here we are, exactly one year and a month later and nothing bad happened. It wasn’t the voice of knowing speaking to me as I boarded that plane; it was the voice of fear. I know this now because I didn’t even wake up dead. I went to the writer’s retreat and returned home safe and sound. Instead of terrible things happening, I fell in love with a charming little town AND made friends with talented writers … lovely ladies that I now consider friends.
Yes, I got lost. And I did forget to eat during my travels. (Although not during the retreat. Sharing meals with my new friends was part of the fun.) As for my dog, I think it’s safe to say that both Jed and I are over the absence.
Bottom line: I cherish the memories from those five days in California. The other retreaters and I met as strangers but within a few hours of knowing each other, we were laughing, sharing secret parts of ourselves, and even confiding our insecurities. All with no alcohol involved; only 100% proof of our genuine selves … our true spirits, if I may. (I share this detail because it demonstrates the authenticity of our connection.)
None of this would have happened if I had listened to my fears. Although I will say this: My fears were right. I DID come back a different person. But not in the way that their screams predicted. Stepping out of my comfort zone, I came back stretched and a slightly better version of the me before I left.
So here’s the deal. I think I’ve figured out the difference between that inner voice of knowing and the voice of fear. The inner voice of knowing, sounds like inspiration. It’s the first thing that you hear when you get an idea that excites you. It sounds like sunshine and raindrops falling on a tin roof all at the same time. It sounds like possibilities and potential and LET’S DO THIS!
Fear, on the other hand, makes you not want to leave your house ever again. Fear sounds like the heavy voice of doom. Like every idea you’ve ever had and will ever have is toxic and debilitating and you had better know how to swim because the next thing you’re going to hear are your own muffled screams as you find yourself at the bottom of the ocean.
Can you hear the difference?
Dear My Fears:
Don’t let your fears stop you from doing stuff.
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