I used to be terrified of fear itself and suffered anxiety for years. Anxiety is something I now rarely encounter thanks to my regular practice of Vedic meditation, but when it does hit, it’s like an old intimate feeling that I know immediately what to do with; lean into it.
Shying away from it, pretending it’s not there, or worse, altogether avoiding doing the things that bring on fear and anxiety I have found futile. Speaking honestly and openly about our fears is incredibly helpful. Embracing being vulnerable and accepting we won’t always get it right is critical to moving past fear. Acknowledging that fear can be a good sign I have found extremely helpful. There’s not a bold thing that I haven’t done that hasn’t terrified me to some degree. Arran and I have launched businesses, sold them, shut them down, moved house, moved studios, travelled when on paper it didn’t make sense, and so much more, all with a throat tightening enveloping fear. Knowing we would always come out the other side, as that’s the only thing that can happen, has been our guiding grace.
There are days at the moment, when I wake up in our beautiful home that we now rent, and think ‘holy crap, we own almost nothing’ and if I allowed it, I could have fear hit me like a tonne of bricks. Arran turns 40 in a few weeks and I’m 35, and we have Marley who is 9. And we own a box of stuff each. We don’t own a fridge, spatulas, quilts, coffee table, bed or anything that someone our age normally owns (after giving it away or selling it and donating all the money to charity). If I hadn’t lent into fear (and dragged Arran with me) I would never have undertaken this last project with our lives. I truly believe that the Audit, Edit, Refine Process we have created as a path to High Grade Living is wonderful. But this Edit was the most severe by far. A true experiment in regards to stuff and the way we own it or it owns us.
The process was gritty. So many people have come to me saying it’s inspired them to edit and become more aware of what they are acquiring. Some have said we are flat out crazy. A few have asked why we couldn’t just get rid of a few things rather than everything. The answer is at the moment I’m not quite sure. I just know that the fear felt good, we lent into it and the experience has permanently changed us all. Right now the thought of buying something makes me feel ill to my stomach. It might wear off, who knows. Right now, I have no idea what life looks like after this coming December 15th when we have to move out of here. Right now I am still allowing the outcomes of 10 years of incredibly hard work, that involved my acquiring many things, that I couldn’t in the end even give away let alone sell, sink in. Arran and I had so many amazing things, furniture, objects (side note, we moved all our art to The Broad Place). Now an amazing therapy dog charity called Delta Society has the culmination of that with a donation we made to them. In all honestly part of me thought ‘oh god, hold onto the money, you might need it to buy stuff later, this is going too far’ then the rest of me trusted it will all work out.
Like with all things initially terrifying, there’s now such a sweet joy in it. We wake every day surrounded by trees and the sounds of the ocean. I lie in the morning listening to everyone breathing (such is the tiny structure of this cottage). The sweat and tears (there were so many) and angst and fury that came with this decision is now faint, and in it’s place is a calm I have never experienced. We are technically as free as birds. And we certainly have enough of them in our garden for me to admire and draw inspiration from. Gathering only what they need to create their homes, they spend most of their time socialising loudly, singing and gliding through the air. Light, beautiful and working with nature’s elements, they are the opposite of fear and anxiety.
I think that whenever we are gripped with fear or anxiety, or that awful mix of both, then looking to nature is truly inspiring. When I sit in our backyard at sunset I don’t see any anxious laurikeets, stressed out magpies or over worked kookaburras. I see beauty, I see calm and I see grace. And that for me right now, is how I want to be.
Right now, what do you want to be? Where can you lean into fear and embrace it. Some pondering for the week ahead…