Transforming Fear to Joy

Standing On My Own Two Feet: Part I


Something quite profound is happening within me.  I cannot describe what it looks like, only that it feels like the million tiny bits of me, previously floating aimlessly, are joining together.

In my youth and early adulthood, I knew myself to be a free spirit not a gypsy.  Although I may not have been present in my body or fully standing on the earth, I understood that my relationships kept one foot tethered (on a fairly long rope) to the ground.  I loved to “fly” and took every opportunity to do so in my imagination.  I wouldn’t say I was a practical person, and my belief that anything is possible led me to explore and experiment.  In my pursuit to try everything once, the chapters of my life were fleeting in that nothing or no one could really hold on to me for long.  Of course change was often and abrupt.  I was intense, and there were highs (beginnings) and lows (endings) with little or no in-betweens.

When I spoke of this to a friend recently, this is the image that emerged in his mind.


stick-person atop the ever-spinning-in-one-place fulcrum
Source: Chris MacDonald, April 2011

I was not bipolar but might have been enroute.  I was unfulfilled and unhappy.  And that is when the in-between showed up in my life.  All those in-betweens through which I jet propelled in my 20s and 30s caught up to me just in time for mid-life.  Like the stick-person atop the ever-spinning-in-one-place fulcrum, I walked this less-travelled journey.  Mid-life is a universal, yet deeply personal journey of second chances and re-dos.  Although the desire to leap to the next landing pad is almost unbearable, the real work is to remain in-between until the fear of staying is gone and the certainty of self awakens.  My poem below describes this universal time of growth.  Notice in Chris’s image that both feet need to be on the ground for successful navigation.  Why?  We are growing the balance and stability required for us to stand on our own two feet.

In The Meantime 

My yesteryears taught me . . .     look to the future
see its promise
seeks its changes.

Today, I reluctantly return to the past
from whence has surfaced my fears.
It is not easy, this journey to my dark side.
Discomfort travels through me in many disguises.

Doubt and Worry, nasty twins of deception,
challenge my peace
filling my silence, my solitude, my self
with noisy chatter.

Desperation and Panic, once so easily written away,
now churn into assault weapons.
No longer able to contain the inner war,
I explode outwardly.

The weapons of war discharge their loads
of anguish, frustration, insanity.
These too-big feelings alarm me,
and I cry out, “Why this? Why me? Why now?”

Some days, not often, I feel safe.
Hope comes in the form of love.
Your love, our love gives me sanctuary.
I retreat into the freshness of its scent.
Time and trouble stand still, and I am saved.

Mostly, I stand naked,
trembling in my exposed feelings,
Begging for a miraculous reprieve.
In-to-me-see cuts deeply into my truth

In the meantime, I weep and wait with bridled impatience
for the day when love rests solidly within me
undisturbed by fear’s feeding frenzy.
Then, will I be truly home.

(27 August 2001)


If Part I was Then, Part II is Now.  Stepping out of the in-between to join pieces of me together into a new identity is the subject of next week’s blog.  For now, are both your feet on the ground?  What foundation can you create to both survive and self-actualize?

Picture of Author: Helen Maupin

Author: Helen Maupin

Helen is passionate about transforming fear into love — from her, for her, for all. She expresses her commitment to transformation through writing poetry, self-awareness and yoga books, co-designing organizations into adaptive enterprises and deepening her daily meditation and yoga practices.


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