I realized about 5:00 this morning what I’ve been doing.
Last Friday I decided to do a brain dump; I wanted to get all the various thoughts, half-baked ideas and things I wanted to write off the “white board of the inside of my skull,” as David Allen says, and get them on paper. Then I could see them, connect them, moved them about and hopefully decide how to go about writing.
It was an invigorating weekend, I’m not going to lie. Me and my music and my markers and my sticky notes and a bare chunk of wall. I loved it. And in the end, I had what you see at on the right. Some blog post or short article ideas were a single word or phrase; that was all it took for me to know what to what to write. Others were a bit more complicated. And one – as you can see right there in the middle – went on and on and had connections and theories and thoughts until I started to feel like the guy from A Beautiful Mind.
Someday – hopefully soon – those sticky notes will become a post or two or three about how the internet and social media have changed teaching and learning and the passing on of knowledge and how we must all be both teachers and learners and the beginner’s mind and the gift of ignorance and the synthesizing of information and what it means to be an expert and so much more, maybe even a reference to the Gutenberg Bible.
But first I have to own up to what that mass of sticky notes that have been carefully arranged and rearranged really is about.
It’s about me not wanting to write.
It’s about be not wanting to put myself out there, to risk being wrong.
As I mentioned, I made a promise to myself and to some of my fellow learners/teachers at my enneagram training that I would share my blog. I promised to send them a link and let them in on the messy process of going over what I learned, what I want to share with others, how I want to teach.
When I first floated this idea at our last lunch together, people were interested and supportive, as I knew they would be. That was the atmosphere of the weekend. But that didn’t stop my heart from racing and my voice from quivering. I had easily cried in front of these people as I share some very personal stories, but the thought of sending them a link to this blog nearly gave me a panic attack. I shared that with them at the time, but what I didn’t share was I had been wrestling with that fear for the entire three days. Wanting to tell them about my blog and what I was planning to do, but instantly feeling the flush and heat of fear whenever I started to talk about it.
People who are Type Six wrestle with fear. That fear shows up in different ways. I can wander around my big old house in the dark or walk alone no problem. I can speak in front of crowds or meet new people just fine. But the idea of sharing my writing can throw me into a tizzy. What if I’m wrong? What if I completely misunderstood something? What if I make someone angry with my take on the information?
Sixes are head-centered. We project and rationalize and intellectualize. This is why double locking the door makes sense. It’s just logical to go back to the house three times to make sure the stove is off. I know you won’t like what I wrote, so I won’t even bother you by showing it to you.
All to avoid saying “I’m scared.”
Well, folks, I am scared.
I don’t want anyone to stop liking me because of my writing. I don’t want to look like an idiot. I don’t want you to find out I really am an idiot. I don’t want anyone asking me who gave me permission to act like an expert.
When I tell folks back here about what our training sessions were like, they are always a bit taken back about how many tears there were. But they were not tears of sadness or of being bullied. They were tears of going deep. We weren’t let off the hook by telling stories or sharing elaborate theories of social media and the Gutenberg Bible. We were pushed, gently and lovingly, to be with our felt experience. We were asked what feelings were rising and where we felt them in our bodies.
So, let me be brutally honest. I am scared. When I think about writing down my experiences and thoughts about this training, my heart races and my chest grows tight. When I think about sharing my impressions of an experience with others who were there, my skin tingles, I get can feel a flush staring in my chest and rising up to my hairline. When it gets bad, I can actually feel a whine beginning in the back of my throat.
When I let myself sit and experience the fear it fades pretty quickly, which was one of the most amazing things I learned (over and over again) during my training. And then I can see (again and again) this is a pattern I am familiar with. I often feel this way about my writing. It has kept me from writing as much as I would like. It has also made be unpleasant to be around sometimes when I am writing as I project that fear onto other people. And for that I am sorry.
I have coached others out of this place, but haven’t been able to avoid it myself. Hopefully this is the beginning of a change.
All those sticky notes were just a way to avoid my fear, to retreat into a world of ideas in my head to avoid the fear of opening my heart to my own creativity. And so acknowledge my fear. I will sit with it, make peace with it and listen to what it has to say to me. I will do my centering prayer and keep building a breathing practice. I will practice trusting myself and the universe.
And I will write.