Tag Archives: fear

The Imaginary Sniper

What do you see when your fingers are propped above the keyboard in the

anticipation of writing a post or story?  Anyone could logically say there is a blank space or page.  And while this is true, there are many of us who tend to imagine the onset of disaster if a mistake is made.  Maybe you type a letter or word that just doesn’t seem right.  Maybe you end up writing a whole sentence that doesn’t fit.  It’s called an error.  You can fix this.

Writing a grammatically incorrect sentence is far different from hitting someone in the nose.  Revising what you typed is a temporary setback or even a way to learn more about writing.  It is not a crime.  An error in typing is not going to bring on imminent danger.  I can tell you this all day long, but a lot of us will still think, feel and imagine an imaginary sniper ready to shoot us upon the first stroke of the key.  Why else would you sit there and think about what to say?  What is with the hesitation?

Writing is simple.  I’m not saying talent comes easy.  But the task of putting words on paper or the screen is an elementary function which most of us have.  Using your fingers to make words is something that human beings can do in any state of mind.  The ability to create a fluid, coherent message with words will only come with practice.  But the fingertips have to touch the keys.

To understand my claim about the imaginary sniper, try writing a story on a general subject as soon as the blank page appears.  Or get a notebook out and apply the pen or pencil immediately.  Don’t stop for corrections.  Just continue writing.  Pay attention to how your body reacts.

Three Times My Last Words

It’s my turn now.  It’s my time.  Lights!  Camera!  Action!

The bright yellow, sticky paint envelops my pores as the pool rises and takes more surface.  Slowly, the suffocating embodiment of liquid color threatens to enter my nose.  I say “Bring them in!”

I cite every last crime before them.

“What are you talking about” they say, with confused expressions.

The paint bubbles with my efforts to push it back out with labored breaths and I realize the wasted effort spent frightened by my private thoughts.

Ah, let’s try again.

I touch the flame to my last boat and walk on to the beach.  The surf licks up against my ankles and my body is electric.  This will be my last chance to apologize before leaving the earth.  May forgiveness be my legacy.

She shakes her head and smiles.  “You never even spoke to me.  What did you want to say?”

Fooled again.  The thoroughbreds crush me two by two before I get the chance.  Again.

For the third time, I set the stage for my window of opportunity and motivation to break the spell of fear.  The vines are cut.  My safety net will dissolve and hold no further chance of protection.  With all my strength I jump.  Christina’s hands accept me.

And she says “This is all you had to do.”

How to Go From Wheezing and Stumbling to Gliding down the Street

I’ve been on both ends of the “from struggling to proudly flying in my shoes” continuum.  There is the gradual process of running a further distance without having to stop and stagger with relief.  It becomes easier as muscles get conditioned and learn to expect a certain kind of movement and exertion when I initiate certain actions.  Just the forward step at the starting line seems to summon the level of energy required for the run.  Over the course of two weeks, my body brought itself into tune and I was running long past the markers used to go ahead and slow down for a short walk.  It’s all about habit and learning.

Much of my writing has to do with the initial step out of the comfort zone.  Just one simple step and one simple action is all it takes to redirect my thinking and change my mind.  In social situations it is the act of saying hello to someone when feeling awkward.  In running, it is the act of putting on my shorts and shoes at 5:30 in the morning.  Neither type of behavior is easy for me most of the time to start with.  Both are very simple and small in terms of commitment.  Saying hello doesn’t mean I have to stay in a conversation or even begin one.  Putting my running gear on doesn’t necessarily mean I have to step out the door.  Even if I do step out there is always the possibility to just stand on the porch and then go back in.  These small actions can be my ace-in-the-hole or my safety net, but they can also be the catalyst for the next step; a bridge from one level of action to another.  Learning to glide takes time.

My experience as a renewed beginner in running almost 6 years ago has taught me some things about what learning has to do with the ever-living presence of ego.  I have to be the boss and sort of counter those self-doubting beliefs by swinging one foot forward and then the next no matter what.  Each foot step is a valiant win in the face of the thoughts that scream “This is crazy!”  The first jog, walk and wheeze felt like trying to bring to a wooden puppet to life.  Every part of my body was shocked.  It took some doing to go 2 miles and almost run the last 2 blocks.

Self-doubt can be considered an attempt for the mind and body to stay safe and not go outside the usual.  But time and time again, I have witnessed both myself and others express hesitation towards a new activity.  Most of the time there follows the same pattern of events.  The person whines and makes excuses regarding the reason not to try it or just go ahead and do the thing.  Finally a step is made in action and soon the formerly uncertain person is a natural at it.  This is much of what happens when parents take their little ones to swimming lessons.  My son kept getting into the water on a daily basis and was soon doing cannon balls from a little cliff.

Putting my ass out on the street morning after morning was how I stomped the fear thoughts into a mud puddle.  Another thing I did was make everything a routine which supported the running.  Without even knowing it, my ritual of eating raw oatmeal and milk after a run was a method used to encourage other actions such as purchasing a stopwatch.  This really moved me into getting past the initial hurts, aches and blisters.  It became a game for me to see how much faster I could go from start to finish.  The oatmeal breakfast helped me and continues to help me stay in the league of runners.  When my morning is started with a few automatic simple steps, my mind goes towards the process of pushing beyond limits and saying “Hello and eat my dust” to fear and ego.


I hear you!

Please feel free to share your moments or even days filled with uncertainty and anxiety regarding the journey to accomplishment.