Who are you listening to?

Who are you listening to? blog
Living The Big Stuff

Who are you listening to?

Meg Cabot in The Princess Diaries said, “Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the judgement that something is more important.”

Fear is something we all have to deal with in order to progress.

As you know, I unravel life one question at a time, so for the sake of this inquiry I’ll begin by asking: Where does fear come from?

Is fear some invisible force of intuition that we should always listen to?

When intuition or fear is guiding me to be physically safe, I listen to that. Or, intuition often guides me as I read the motives of people I meet. But, when I feel fear that causes me some kind of emotional set back or bitch-blocks me from moving forward, that’s when I’ve learned to become leery of following those kinds of instructions as “inner guidance.” That’s when I know EGO is present. My friend, Alana Leigh, says, “Ego is in the house!”

After years of study from places like Siddha Yoga Center, and tutoring from gurus like Sai Baba, Osho and others, this is how I see it. We all have (at least) two voices in our heads. The true self and the shadow of the ego. (Personally, I think two is plenty to deal with.) We walk together, we talk together, and the tapestry of my life takes shape and meaning grounded in my separate reality and the lens from which I view the world—depending on the conversation that’s going on in my head that forms my perspective.

One voice is who I am. (The real me. My essence and true nature.)

And, there’s the other voice of the ego who is based on identifying with something other than who I am–meaning there has to be something that comes at the end of the statement “I am.” (Something make believe and based on some story I tell myself that gives me some false sense of safety.)

I am something. (Some contrived positive or negative version of me. The made up me.)

Hmmm…my inquiry continues:

How do I know which one is speaking?

Unfortunately, my true nature, unaccustomed to being heard, is quiet and speaks softly–in a whisper. I need to lean in to hear her say, “I know what’s right for you.”

The ego is far more practiced at being heard and is louder and is more like a brass band creating a conversation of mental obstacles that drown out the whisper of my true nature.

I’ve come to understand that my emotional fear is actually my best internal guide to reveal to me my most important actions and steps that will lead to my soul’s greatest expression, and ultimately, my greatest joy and fulfillment.

Knowing that the voice of my ego (my shadow and self-doubt) causes resistance and confusion in me by manufacturing fear, makes it super easy to identify when ego is present and “in the house,” doing its best to issue instructions to sabotage any movement forward and keeping me feeling stuck. Stuck in the routine of safety. Stuck waiting for life to happen.

And, I’ve learned not to pay attention to that voice of ego, except to lean in with greater intensity and access the courage I need to uncover what’s behind the fear that’s holding me back.

To listen deeply to the whisper behind the fear.

Fear becomes a door with an imaginary hoop of fire (that’s ego) around it. (That makes it extra scary.)

Just behind the door surrounded in fire–that door that I’m most afraid to open–is my true essence, and some authentic aspect of who I am. In order to reveal that part of my authentic self, I know I need to jump through the hoop of fire–the imaginary fear–and open that door and step into love. And when I do, I will retrieve some aspect of my soul that I may have left behind in pursuit of the ego’s idea of what life should be. As I jump through those hoops of fire and open those doors, I retrieve those parts of myself that are my natural states of passion and joy and the driving force to manifesting my most meaningful life. I retrieve the authentic version of me that’s always been quietly present. Always been whispering and singing softly.

As I lean in, transforming the fear into love, the voice of ego becomes subdued like the shadow that falls behind me, where it belongs. I can hear the whisper of my heart saying, “Come here. Come with me. Your essence will shine brightly as you move forward into me and into love.”

You see, from the moment ego formed, I became separate—not only separate from “other,” but separate from the true me: my essence.

The wounded ego began to tell me a story of shadow and self-doubt—an unforgiving tale that I would be hurt if I shined too brightly or experienced too much joy or passion.

Ego (to me) is the same as the antonym of courage: coward.

The ego mind would like to keep me in the status quo and not question the way things are. Ego would like to confine me to a box for safe keeping. Ego would have me wait for a very long time for life to happen. But, I am far more courageous than that–and so, my friend, are you!

You are here to LIVE fully expressed, and so am I.

We all have what I call a defining question that shapes our actions. Your true nature has one and so does your ego. Your true nature may ask the question, “How can I serve? What brings me joy?” And your ego will ask “How can I avoid pain?” Can you see how these questions can drive your actions and shape your life?

Here’s my process of INQUIRY for accessing courage and calling out the ego-coward, ushering in the voice of my true nature, stepping through the hoop of fire, and opening the door into love and my true essence:

  • I stop and BREATHE. Sitting quietly, very presently in stillness, I ask my body what it has to say to me. Where do I feel resistance or blocks to something, to an invitation or a dream? Is my solor plexus tight? Where I am tense? Where am I holding something?
  • I ask: What am I feeling? Fear? Confusion? What is the fear (ego) trying to tell me not to do?
  • I ask myself to name the hoop of fire. Is it self-doubt, or that I’m not worthy of joy? Is it fear of rejection, fear of failure, or is it fear of my success? (which has often been the case) What do I need to let go of to move forward?
  • Then, I ask, “What small steps can I take to move into the fire and open the door? (Usually, that means JUMP!) Could it be a phone call, doing research, or asking for help? Maybe an act of forgiveness? Maybe to be more engaged and present in my life as it is? Sometimes, stillness and prayer is the answer.
  • As I complete my inquiry and step in, I feel ignited to move forward, albeit in baby steps.

It may feel counterintuitive to be guided by fear, but when you realize that ego has just used fear to create a story to stop you from moving beyond your comfort zone, it’s all the more reason to step in and it becomes the greatest act of self love to do so. Stepping through your hoop of fire subdues–even annihilates the ego, allowing your true self to be heard.

Isn’t your authentic expression worth stepping through fear?

That’s public speaking for me. Every time I’m asked to speak, I feel fear, and I know I have to step through the hoop of fire that ego has placed at the door. Just beyond my comfort zone, as I open the door of fear, I enter into the flow of inspiration, and that’s when miracles begin to happen.

It’s all about accessing the courage to step beyond the illusion of fear from the ego and listening to the voice of my true nature–and that puts me one step closer to awakening to my most vibrant life yet.

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