This week I have found myself in a lot of conversations about fear. In them, I have recognized my own fear, the way that it can grip me so easily, and often block me from my best work. I have recongized others’ fears. Fears of specifics, and with some, fear of fear itself. It has opened up rich learning for me. And vulnerability. A bit of that hit is below.
Two days ago the conversation was with a long-time artist friend, Bruce. He is establishing himself as a free-lance artist. His fears included not being good enough. Not having enough connections. The economy. Truth is, Bruce is a great artist, and has some connections / artist friends who are each finding their way.
A couple of days ago the conversation was with some from the Tampa Bay Art of Hosting team. We were updating information on registrations for our November event. One from our team, Harold Aldrich, spoke something that really landed with me. He talked about the “drumbeat of fear.” As he was approaching people about registering for our event, most places he turned, people were hearing that drum. The beat of fear of economic collapse. The beat of fear of retirement portfolios that were disappearing.
Yesterday the conversation was with long-time friend, Meg Wheatley. Together we shared noticings in some of the community groups we are in. Meg spoke of community recovery groups that are just asking her to bring peace. Yes, there is consulting. Yes, there is coaching. Yes, there is community engagement strategies. But what they really wanted was to feel a bit of peace — a bit of release from the relentless drumming. Meg brings a lot of things. Her presence and the peace that people feel in her groundedness is one of them.
So, I think all of us are in some kind of practice of bringing peace amidst the drumbeat of fear. It is the work deep down at several levels. I feel this as invitation and challenge. I feel this at all levels of scale — the system that is me, the system that is our families, the system that is our places of work, of community, and the system that is the planet. It is what my colleague and I talk about it as a bit of order to the chaos. This might be what is even more called for now in these times. For me it is found first in our presence that stills a space. Even better, opens a space. It seems that fear often contracts, masking the reality of choices. Peace and presence can restore some of the expansiveness and flow that brings us back to awareness of choice and creation.
Maybe in some places we are just breaking the pattern / habit of contraction found in the drumbeat. Maybe it is shifting the drumbeat. Maybe it is opening ourselves and others to the gift of the drumbeat of fear, because fear is calling us to transform what and how we are being together. Restoring choices through the fear feels essential in these times.