Competition, Connection, and the Edge of My Fear
Two weeks ago I stepped over a threshold of fear right into the arms of someone I thought was my competition but who turned out to be my soul-sister.
The reason it happened is that I finally took a deep breath and believed in myself. I flat out decided that I'm ready to think of myself as excellent, an expert and worthy. In all of that is an awareness of how scared I am of competition and comparison, how hard I've worked my whole life to avoid them, and yet, how much I want to stand out from the crowd and lead.
You can't have those shining moments without taking yourself to the edge and dealing with the fear. You can't find out who you are at your core if you don't lean into it and risk failing or falling short. Being vulnerable. But, what drives the engine for me is that I am passionate about what I'm doing and I want to connect with others who share that passion. The desire for connection gives me momentum.
A few months ago I heard from a student that there was a new art journaling class being offered at the local community center. My hackles immediately went up. "This town ain't big enough for the two of us!" thought that small, reptilian part of my brain.
I did a little snoopin' and found that it was Sheri Gaynor, a creativity and life coach, horse girl, art journaling guru, and author of the gorgeous book, Creative Awakenings: Envisioning the Life of Your Dreams through Art, recently relocated to my neck of the woods. Well, that all tapped into several of my "you're not enough" tapes. And I promptly found something else to occupy my mind.
But not before it had completely drained me of all my self-confidence.
A couple weeks ago, however, I remembered. I remembered Sheri was out there somewhere art journaling. I remembered a conversation I had with my mentor, Jamie Ridler, when she told me I am an expert. I remembered a conversation I had with my biz coach, Kate Pintor, in which she suggested it's time for me to seek partners and joint ventures.
My desire for connection is always strong. It's most definitely one of the driving values of my life. Suddenly, I realized my desire to connect with Sheri was much stronger than the fear I had of being seen as a fraud by Sheri. I still felt some anxiety but I also felt a thrill of possibility. Mostly, I felt the urge to reach my hand out to her and stop perpetuating the fear.
I penned a quick email inviting her into my studio, my world, and my life. And hit SEND.
The next morning I had her enthusiastic yes in my inbox. It wasn't just luke warm. No, it was YES YES YES.
When Sheri walked into my studio the next day, her first words were "I'm home."
We had immediate chemistry. There was connection and resonance all over our passions, our life stories, our dreams. We left our meeting with smiles stretched across both of our faces and new possibilities for our friendship and partnership brewing.
I told Sheri about my initial reaction to finding out about her. And she got it, completely. And she thanked me for taking the risk. We both had gratitude for that leap of faith in myself and in her, as well.
The other night in the studio I found myself creating the page, above, fully from my intuitive self. I worked, with inks and stencils to make the background and then felt called to the alphabet stamps. (Anyone who has spent time in my studio knows I am OBSESSED with alphabet stamps.) I felt I wanted to cover the whole page with words, but which words? As I walked to pick out some stamps the phrase "Take me to the edge" came into my mind. I grabbed on and didn't let go. Where would that take me?
As I set up my paints and stamps the words "of my fear" popped into my head. "Ok," I thought. "I can use that."
As I followed my inner knowing voice, and stamped and stamped the letters on the page, more rolled out...as it often does when I am open to my intuition and in front of my journal. The complete message that I shared with myself was:
"Take me to the edge of my fear for it is there I will find my opening, the path I need to follow, and ultimately, my center."
You can quote me on that.