To each of you who, in response to my last blog, have been holding us in possibility, thank you. Coming face-to-face with the challenges has been a remarkable journey for us individually, and as a couple. There were times when choosing to stay present and facing squarely the fears we were feeling was pretty challenging. And other times when, though nothing had changed in our external circumstances, it felt easier to be present with our hearts open to ourselves and each other.


Looking over the edge …

And … life continues to unfold in unanticipated ways. We received confirmation this week – the day before the one we’d expected to be Bruce’s final day of employment – that one of the projects which had been on hold was proceeding, and that he’d be working on it.

So, while we’d had the opportunity to face the challenges and our fears around that, we didn’t actually have to live them right now. It feels like we walked right up to the edge of a precipice and stood there looking over the edge for a while but didn’t have to actually step off that edge.

The greater sense of freedom I feel at having faced those fears squarely is remarkable. I’m also thankful for another part of this process – the clarity that’s resulted from some of the deep conversations we had about how we’d handle various challenges if/when we ever had to ‘step off that edge’. And we didn’t do this alone. Throughout, I was very aware of the community of support surrounding us – and to each of you, supporting us in your unique way, thank you.

Since our experience, I’ve been thinking about what happens when we don’t turn towards and face squarely the scary situations life presents us.

I’ve often heard Bruce refer to the making of the movie Alien – not one I’ve watched! Director Ridley Scott chose not to show the full Alien for most of the film, keeping much of its body in shadow in order to create a sense of terror and heighten suspense. What happens is the audience projects their own fears into imagining what the rest of the creature might look like. As Scott who was intending to create horror and terror said “The most important thing in a film of this type is not what you see, but the effect of what you think you saw.”

And I think that’s what often happens to us in life. There’s this scary thing, and we don’t really want to look at it – maybe we’re afraid if we actually see the whole thing it’ll be too overwhelming. But in truth, in only risking looking at bits and pieces of what’s there, of catching a glimpse and looking away because we’re afraid of what we’re going to see, we’re doing to ourselves just what made the Alien movie so scary!

What I know is that we’re not foolish, and most of the time in life – especially when the chips are down – we’re really courageous. Because of that …

I’ve recognized there’s got to be a powerful reason we turn away …

I’m guessing that each of us has a unique story that’s rooted in our beliefs and life experiences, and that’s led to a question I’ve been curious about and asking people recently …

What is it that gets in the way of our turning towards and
exploring the ‘scary things’?

In reflecting on this myself, I remembered that this kind of exploration often feels like going into a dark cave with many passageways. And one of the big fears I’ve had about exploring further (or more deeply) was the fear that I’d get lost and not be able to find my way back out again. One things that gave me courage to go explore more deeply was connecting with someone who I trusted to stay there on the outside while I went in. It was like they were holding the end of the virtual ‘rope’ that I tied around my waist so I could be sure I could find my way back. And if you read my last eNews, you know there are times when I still reach out and do that!

Another person I spoke with shared their sense that when faced with the scary situations their fear was they (their identity) would be blown apart into little pieces, and that was scary for a couple reasons. What if they didn’t know which pieces were really them? And what if they lost some important parts?

Someone else said they didn’t want to look because they were afraid of what they might find out about themselves.

I also heard about an individual cautious about approaching upsetting spaces for fear that in doing so, they might lose something that was really important for them – their sense of contentment in life.

My sense is this is an important area of exploration. In the movie Alien, the nature and appearance of the alien evolves, so the viewer never knows quite what it looks like or what it can do until … the terrifying scene where it bursts from the chest of one of the characters, killing him.

I don’t want to take the movie metaphor too far! But one thing seems clear in life – challenging situations generally don’t just go away, they evolve and usually the level of challenge increases. When we’re facing situations that really require the best of us, the more conscious and better acquainted we are with concerns of the parts of us that get in the way of our facing and exploring what is, the better.

If you’re reading this, I imagine there’s at least a part of you that feels resonance here. I’d love for this question – What is it that gets in the way of your turning towards and exploring the ‘scary things’? – to be a prompt for you to deepen your relationship with you.

I’d really love to hear your answer to the question! While I think each of us is unique, I’m curious to see whether there are certain themes that emerge. And one other thing, if having company (a partner holding the other end of the rope as you explore, or a companion in discerning which pieces are truly you) sounds as good an idea to you as it does to me, please be in touch. I’d love to explore what that might look like for us.


Photo credits:
– Looking Over the Edge – Clarisse Meyer on Unsplash
– Question Mark – Qimono on Pixabay

Nurturing juicy co-creative partnerships
…with ourselves, others & life!