Dear readers: This post is not hair related, it is an offering to you of a personal experience that has helped me learn. I want to thank you all for being here, reading my words, and believing in what I do. Without you all, none of this would be happening.
Because of you, I have had the nerve to share myself in a way that has been both healing and empowering, you have accompanied me through the journey of the last 5 years of my life, and I am eternally grateful. I can only hope that you have gained valuable insight, inspiration, (great hair;) and knowledge as well……I thank you from the bottom and the top of my heart.
This post is about following your heart, making the jump, opening new doors, leaving behind fear. The photos in this post are from our first ShamPHree shoot, several years ago at the buffalo river with a big group of wonderful women, jumping off bluffs in dresses. Photos are by me, with the exception of the black and whites, which were shot by Bob Cochran. I know, I know. You have already seen these photos if you have been reading HTHG for a while now…..They keep popping up. Why? because jumping off seems to be a central theme here at HTHG. ‘Stuck in hair, stuck in life;)’
On Leaving Fear Behind
You are such a selfish asshole. Also, you are a complete idiot. What makes you think that you should follow your heart, and do what every cell in your body knows you should do? I am the fear part of your brain.) You are firmly in my grasp. I dare you to defy me.I apologize for beginning this essay with such a graphic display of self-abuse. But this is the backdrop for my story.
It’s stunning for me to realize how much time and energy I spend beating myself up. Internally, I am constantly in a battle to try to hold down the voice of my own heart for no other reason than bad habit and a well-worn neuropath that depends upon fear. Fear seems to be my path of least resistance.
I spend a lot of time riding this well-worn road in my head, allowing fear to keep me stuck in life, holding me back from the goodness of letting go of old comforts in pursuit of unknown blessings.
6 months ago, my heart tried to stop traffic on fear’s busy 4-lane highway. Heart signaled that it wanted me to quit my job as a hairstylist at a salon which I have loved and for most of my adult life. Deep down, I knew that I had to pursue an impractical yet deeply imaginative and uncharted path of a free-lancing renaissance woman. A small but sure voice suggested that I rely solely on my own skills and ingenuity to create a distinctive career path allows me to create and give back and maximize output energy in meaningful directions. Once I heeded heart’s signal, everywhere I looked, I saw signs that it was time to move on.
While I felt deeply sure of this vision in my heart, the prospect of quitting a job I loved and that had provided sure and steady support for me and my daughters really upset me. It just didn’t make sense. Why would I leave something that I love? I truly loved my job. Sure, there were things about it that were frustrating, but that is par for the course. In my inner dialogue, the loud voice of fear shamed me for considering something as selfish and impractical as a heartfelt choice.
I began to spin out mentally. I knew what I had to do, but I was bewildered as the inner brawl between heart and fear played out in my Self. I felt paralyzed and restless at the same time. The rapid-firing fear was a desperate attempt to distract my heart from following the signs and making an imaginative choice. I was terrified to leave the comfort of a regular gig for an unknown world of independence, even though I knew that it was the right thing. Deep down, I was not only afraid of pursuing a new path but even of leaving behind the comfort of my own fear MO, the place where I go naturally……..I tortured myself for 6 months. I was nearing the edge, afraid to jump.
It seemed as though the closer I got to jumping off and following my heart, the louder the fear spoke in me, with more intensity and determination. Like a junkie, my fear-addicted brain panicked at the thought of being abandoned for the warmth and comfort of a heartfelt choice.
After chatting about my conundrum with a good friend, she said in a very matter of fact way ‘It is time for you to move forward without fear.’ Clear and simple………I remembered past advice from yet another friend, who once called the Fear-based radio station which plays in the forefront of our brains and background of our lives ‘K-Fuckd.’ She had read about it in a book. She found that by calling it this name, it became easier to metaphorically change the station. I carried these bits of advice and metaphors under my wings, moving even closer to the edge.
Several weeks ago, I met a woman who seemingly moved through life without the voice of fear to cloud her connection with her own heart, a woman who manifested her own visions with confidence, humility, and grace, creating a vibrant life of connection and purpose. That I though, is how I want to live. What a relief to follow the heart without fear.
Then, I talked to my mother. She listened, nodded, didn’t try and talk sense into me. She told me she believed in me to make the right choice. I silently vowed to remember this and show the same grace for my daughters when they stood on the edge in life.
The next day, I jumped. I quit my job. I vowed to myself to turn off K-Fuckd every time it started rambling in my head. I vowed to move forward with confidence. Say yes, give back, share with others, make connections, and accept abundance. I vowed to thank my friends and my mom for their words of affirmation. I vowed to stick with my heart through ups and downs, be more kind to myself, and to turn off K-Fuckd, or at least keep the volume turned way down.
Letting go of fear is scary. Fear is VERY assertive and sometimes feels like all we have to hang our hats on. Meanwhile, our hearts are speaking, too, trying to bust through the fog of fear. We can choose to listen, or we can choose to beat ourselves up for entertaining the selfish idea that it is appropriate to listen to our hearts. It can take major overhauling, un-conditioning, self-soothing, and rebuilding to allow ourselves to open that gift……the listening to our hearts gift.
Moral of this story: When you are stuck in life, with all signs pointing to ‘jump’ and all that holds you back is the voice of fear…….. breathe deeply, walk sure-footedly to the edge, jump, and let your heart carry you.