Recently I moved back into my house after renting it out for a few years and I am facing a few fears as I get ready to do some much-needed remodeling. The house is small and perfect for one person, awesome. Not so awesome, the mess that needed to be cleaned before my Virgo self could be satisfied living in it. There had been a flood through the neighborhood last spring and the remnants were dark water lines on the basement walls and peeling paint on the basement floor. With mold growing everywhere, it was dirty and dingy. Add to that the many cobwebs falling from the rafters and over all the basement was a mess, a scary spidery mess.
I would go down to the basement and get overwhelmed immediately. There was stuff that had to be moved, garbage thrown away, the floor had to be scrapped, the walls had to be painted, OMG! On top of that every where you looked there was another dark place for a spider to hide. Are you kidding me? I could feel all those potential spiders, it felt like a horde of spiders, looking down on me every time I went down there to check out the job. And what about other bugs? Could there be other bugs? What about all the dark corners? Face my fear, well kiss my ass!
One moment while I clear my head…
Do what’s hard first the wise men say and I can see why. The overwhelming nature of that basement job had me stopped in my tracks unable to get started. When I looked at the basement job I saw only hardship and difficulty. Is that any different from looking at life in this moment and seeing the mess of unanswered questions like; Why is this happening?, Which way do I go?, What will I do?, When does it start?, How much longer do I have to wait? The cleaning of this basement, the inability to get started, or just having the will to the do the job is no different from say, a person (who me?) stopped because of mid-life fear, a mid-life crisis, a mid-life crossroads, mid-life fear of starting, fear of finishing, fear of success, fear of failure, fear of living, fear of everything, full stop, no life.
Do what’s hard first. The only way to look at a difficult passage of any nature is one moment at a time, one step at a time, one part of the job at a time. Facing your fear as an adult is part of the awareness that when you were younger pulling the covers over your head for safety only works when the ghost is a shadow, real ghosts can go through sheets. We have to learn to face our fears so we can live our lives or we will spend all of our lives with our head deeply buried in the sand. Fears can take our years, (good one)
Fear is part of life’s game. Fear in babies is about safety, a much-needed fear. Fear in children is about safety as well and the broadening of the idea of self, willing to take a few steps away from the safety of moms apron strings. Fear in adults is a self motivator, dealing with that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you are getting ready to stretch your wings but more often a self stopper, scared of life and I am not moving. Life is safer if you do not take risks. Life is easier if you go with the flow. Life is better when you do what your told. Life is boring and you love beige.
Facing your fear is part of the growth process. I mean we all know that spiders are not interested in my basement job or jumping on me when I am not looking, I hope. I can squash that spider dead and they know it. Logic tells me that. My paranoia tells me everything that moves on me when I am down there is a fricking spider. Who’s in charge now! Same with fear trapped in our mind. This fear is used to stop us from becoming, from doing, from being, and this kind of fear is an illusion and frankly a pain in the ass. But the good news is by doing what’s hard first, moving slowly and surely, you can face your fears and take back your life, and maybe your basement…
It’s how I dealt with the basement. I faced my fear of the job by doing what was hard first. I looked for the scariest corner and started there by doing a section at a time. I am managing the basement job by doing it in small bits, using lots of light, and it has kept the hoard of spiders at bay, ok so there wasn’t a hoard but there could have been…
Soon my basement redo will be finished. Praise God!, and one thousand Hail Mary’s!
So remember one way of facing your fear can be done by doing what’s hard first. We are all going to lose our footing from time to time and fear is going to step up to the plate and hand you some sh*t you do not want to handle. So handle it the same way I handled the basement and the imaginary hoard of spiders. Find the scariest spot to start, keep your eyes open, use lots of light spiritual and otherwise, taking small steps. Before you know it that fear that had you stopped in your tracks, or was keeping you from your best, becomes a distant memory. Best news being your scary basement will turn into just a basement, and a damn good-looking one at that.