Since attending an amazing event ‘Your Fearless Start to 2019‘ organised by Network Ireland West Cork a couple of weeks ago, I have been thinking about fear and how it stops us doing what we are here to do in the world.
With the theme of ‘Your Fearless 2019’ Susan Steele, Chair of the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority of Ireland and Fiona O’Donnell of West Cork Fit were the keynote speakers. Sheila Munro of Deliciously You, Kate Ryan of Flavour.ie and member of the month Anne-marie Kingston (White Sage Home Decluttering), spoke about how they overcame their fears and self-doubt to run their now very successful businesses. Fiona’s brand of fearlessness was in how she dealt with serious illness and how she has reclaimed her health and has a great business guiding others on their path to health through diet and exercise.
In her talk, Susan explained that fear is always going to be there. It’s part of our survival strategy as a species, so it’s really a question of managing it. Since we can’t get rid of it we can learn to be brave. Susan claims that she is not brave but she just cultivated certain habits then she just gets on with it. She started to run when she had small children and was feeling unfit so she decided to put on her running gear every morning and keep it on until she went for a run. Susan has now run over 70 marathons and swims in the sea without a wetsuit throughout the year!
Learning to be brave reminded me of a quote from Aung San Suu Kyi ‘Fear is just a habit. I’m not afraid’. This woman’s spirit and courage has inspired me since I was a teenager.
Under our chair’s Susan had placed bags with limpet shells inside as a gift. The limpet clings to the rocks on the shore and is protected from the force of the sea and from predators by it’s shell which acts like a shield. She said our fears are like shields we can let go of. This tied in perfectly with the oracle card I had picked the day before as this was all about letting down yours shields.
When I looked up the little booklet with the card deck, it said ‘Drop any shields of shame, resistance and fear that are standing between you and your chances of enjoyment and fun. Know that you don’t need to hide who you are of the gifts that you have. You were born to shine’.
So now this card makes much more sense. We are carrying the shields of fear and shame and not enoughness and we can call on our angels and guides to assist us in the ‘being brave’ stage. ‘Angelic protection is swirling around you and helping you to move forward in a more fearless way. Call on your guides for help in changing your frequency so you can feel safe and protected at this time’.
The analogy of the shields and limpets is perfect and I will display my limpet in a prominent place as a daily reminder to move beyond my fears.
I am blessed to be part of a beautiful group of women who meet up from time to time to sound together. We were together last week to sound for La Fheile Bride (Brigid’s Day). St Brigid, formerly the Goddess Brigid is known for her fearlessness. One of the aspects of the goddess Brigid is the maiden and together we explored this phase of our lives through sound.
As soon as we started to sound I was transported back to my childhood to my nana and grandad’s hen run where I used run laps with a dozen hens running enthusiastically after me. One of them, Molly was very tame and would let me stroke her and pick her up. At the age of 7, I would sneak outside after tea in the winter dressed in my long blue maxi dress and sing songs to the stars. At 10, in the summer I would sit in the field at dusk behind my paternal grandparents summerhouse in Oysterhaven with my arm around my dog Teddy waiting to see the lighthouse flash from the Old Head of Kinsale. I loved to ponder on the big questions of life and burned to explore Africa that I knew only from books and letters from my uncles on the missions.
I remembered the day when I realised I wasn’t enough. ‘We can’t tell you because you’re too innocent. You wouldn’t understand’. Then I started to hide who I really was and spent many years in a haze of ‘I don’t mind’ until indecision enveloped me and I wasn’t even sure who I was anymore.
Now I am older and wiser, no longer the maiden but now I can accept her as she is and no longer scorn her for being the hapless ignoramus that I had branded her. Now I see that she did what she could to get by and all of that has brought me to the here and now.
And as I’m writing this in my journal, I find 3 pictures that I chose in the red tent last summer to represent ‘Who I was, Who I am, Who I want to be’. and these are the words that came.
From Maiden to Crone 26th August 2018, The Red Tent Clonakilty
White dress of innocence
sitting in a big strong tree
gazing at the crescent moon.
Waiting and dreaming
no longer stuck.
flying on the wind.
connected to the
I hadn’t looked at this since then and now I can see it even more clearly. Susan showed us illustrated brains with different parts lit up. We are social animals and mostly our fear stems from not being socially acceptable. By taking part in groups such as the red tent and Network Ireland, we find our tribe and feel a belonging that encourages us to be brave. I am dipping my toe in the water. Would you like to join me?