Lee Shinefield - July 20, 2015
Thank you very much for all the conversations, emails and exercises we've shared over the years. I want to take a moment to appreciate not only what our interactions have contributed to me, but the impact your core principals have had on my everyday life.
There are many incredible principles I've learned from you, however two of these in particular have subtly altered my way of perceiving little things in life. Rather than dramatic epiphanies, little moments of seeing these little things a little differently, cumulatively have allowed me to connect with my personal integrity
and then take actions, moment by moment* one situation at a time, that are aligned with my personal integrity. The result is I've made courageous choices and redesigned my actions in the world to be supportive of what"s most important to me in my life.
The first principle is that fear never stops me — resistance to fear is the culprit in my feeling stuck and frustrated in my life.
The other principle is that courage is not a personality type; it's a choice, again and again, moment by moment.
After many agonizing years of allowing (almost inviting) people to walk all over me, it became clear that I was trying to please people and get them to love me by bending over backwards for them. When you suggested draw a line and not allow people to cross it, I was afraid to assert boundaries, and believed the fear was stopping me from making different choices. As I played with the idea that resistance, and not fear, was holding me back, I made more supportive choices and felt calmer at the prospect of asserting my own truth. I followed your advice, that by acknowledging the truth of being afraid I could dissolve resistance and just be present to fear. So I've yelled "Boooyy, am I scared!" probably thousands of
times. This is where courage comes in.
Releasing resistance to fear has unblocked tremendous amounts of energy for me. As that energy releases, I practice choosing to do something that requires an act and I take that action. An example: for years, I had felt bullied by a contractor I hired in my computer business. Eventually, I breathed into my fear, released my resistance; and began to stand up for myself. He got angry with me when I did this, and I'd back down again, Eventually; instead of backing down I calmly asserted dates by which I needed to have things done. He continually did virtually none of what he promised, and then got angry when I insisted he keep his word. After months Of this cycle, I progressively got stronger in asserting and not backing down, until I finally realized and told him it wasn't working for us to work together. Very soon, I could that each time I backed down in any situation from my personal truth it was like betraying myself. I could now see each time I betrayed myself by resisting my fear of asserting my truth, I became angry with myself and berated myself to the point of being enraged. The result of that rage is I made mistakes and poor choices, after which I berated myself even more. I noticed anger more and more, and also noticed that it disappeared when I stopped backing down. It's taken years of becoming clearer about this pattern for me to form a habit of standing my ground, and it's still a choice of courage to
remain true to myself.
Ironically, as I got better at standing my ground, I began to see that the business I was in did not support me. In fact, it was damaging me severely. I began to make choices of courage related to doing something else. It took me almost five years from the time I noticed my business didn't work for me, to make enough choices of courage to close that business down. Though it took me many years to be able to acknowledge this pattern, and longer yet to make healthier choices, I'm now able to seek out and grasp opportunities that I couldn't even see before.
Recently my sister-in-law referred me to, and I've now accepted, a position as an IT manager at a college. I'm closing down my business, have moved out of state, am about to purchase a house, and am seeing myself in a whole new light. I'm experiencing a bit of what you often call "living my life as a work of art." I'm
embracing each challenge of this transition as another opportunity to choose courage and take actions that are congruent with what I want in my life, even if someone close to me disagrees. Instead of being terrified of them disagreeing with me, I'm starting to be able to thank them for sharing their ideas, act on the ones that are right for me, and discard the ones that go against who I am. I feel vulnerable and the future seems less clear than it did before. However, I'm considering that these feelings might be a result of honoring the truth within me, and marching to the beat of my own drummer. Maybe I won't feel quite so
uncomfortable as I become a better friend to myself. As I listen more to what myself needs and less to how others want me to be, have a sense of anticipation, like embarking on a great adventure envisioning the destination, yet being open to whatever twists and turns, challenges and uncertainty surface along the way.
All this has opened up, from saying four simple words — "Booooyy, Am I Scared!"
Thanks again, fellow traveler. I look forward to talking soon.