Define Your Fears to Free Yourself from Them

Finally, I can report progress on my 2018 Reading Challenge. I’m still working towards a solid Commit-to-Self-schedule, but I’m tweaking and getting there. It’s taking some trial and error, which is new. But then, it’s also new not giving up on my resolution by now. We’re all going forward together, so keep at your resolution/goals too, even if they are not exactly how you envisioned them.

I’m often asked: What can Maple do? One thing it does is provide a place to store the Thoughts I don’t have bandwidth to fully explore yet. I know, that sounds sorta weird. Here’s how it works for me:

I find that insights or meaningful ideas frequently happen when I least expect it. I call these Just Formed Thoughts because they aren’t entirely complete yet, they are just the start of something. Rather than lose the idea before I have a chance to think it all the way through, I put those in Maple. I come back to them later, give them attention, and see what they are all about. Here’s an example: while on the phone and flipping through the mail a course flyer caught my attention. I knew it was something I was interested in but couldn’t explore in the moment. I quickly popped a Thought about it in Maple – “Check the program at school. What is it? Doable? Why are you interested? Cost?” I set the Reminder and just continued my conversation.

Other times something races through my head and I’m just not in a place to receive the idea. These are what I consider whispers. Its something relevant to my purpose or path but I don’t want to accept the idea at the moment. Think of this as being in a movie theater, fully engrossed in the action, and the person you came with leans over and says in your ear, “Check your oil filter when you get your car serviced.” Your reaction is “Ok yea. But I can’t think about that now. That dude is about to get eaten by a dinosaur.” The whispered words linger somewhere in your brain, but you can’t deal with them, so you don’t. The problem is, because you didn’t want to hear or acknowledge that info, you may not recall it. You’ve safely plopped that in the Not Dealing with That Now bucket. For me, those bits are usually lost. My Not Dealing with That powers are strong!

Here’s what I discovered about whispers: 1) They aren’t always obvious things I’d think of, they are coming from deep within – like my gut talking to me and 2) My desire not to hear them is my mind shutting down the idea – its something that scares me. Not scary like a T-Rex chasing me, scary like here’s my crap and it needs to be dealt with. Given the option to conveniently forget that whisper, guess what is going to happen? And the possibility of progress associated with that whisper? Also, not going to happen.

Putting those whispers into Maple may take some doing because my brain is actively trying to protect me from something I’m afraid of. But I usually get enough captured to come back to.

I’ve made my way through Gifts of Imperfection by @BrenéBrown (Yea me – the first book is done!) and in the spirit of being vulnerable, I created a Maple Journal for Fears. As I review my Thoughts, if its triggering a fear (or one of its shady counterparts: anger, resentment, jealousy – you know the list) I put it in that journal. I don’t necessarily resolve it. Merely taking the little step to name it, own that I am afraid, and recognize its keeping something else from happening. Full disclosure: I thought this process wouldn’t be useful. Happily, it is! It creates space, a desire to deal with fear and peace. Plus, when I finally roll up my sleeves and do the work, I have all of it safely in Maple.

It’s natural to plod along or grapple with your Commitment to Self. We all do. Ask yourself, what fear is at the center of my struggle? Then, Maple on, friends!

Our journey continues.


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