Welcome to Day 8 of “30 Days of Brené Brown.”
wrenching through writing yesterday’s post (which I am glad I did because I got some kind feedback and my world has not yet crashed around me for going as far as I did there, which in my estimation was quite tame), I am eager to write about this quote.
Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty.
― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
Faith. Isn’t it amazing? Mom used to say that faith is the greatest mystery of all. Why we rely on others, why we trust them, why we (some of us at least) rely on an unseen deity to usher peace and satisfaction in our lives, is truly one of the mind’s greatest spiritual gambits and communions.
This entire “conversation” reminds me of the post I wrote about Jung when I referred to my mom’s painting techniques. She used to say that sometimes we had to turn something upside-down to see all its dimensions. She used to also say that how a person sees another person is not how a mirror shows us to ourselves but as a three-way mirror would work: a reflection of that reflection. So, to be less obtuse, I’ll say this: I’m going to go at this from a different angle and first discuss my perspective of the omission of faith.
As far as I’m concerned, without faith, we have only ego. But then there’s an irony, for me anyway: when things go wrong, often we tend to blame outside circumstances: our history, the weather, a headache, the president, the car… whatever. When things go right, we tend to ascribe credit to
Nope. It’s not working for me. There’s too much static in my head. I’ll just go straight in.
Faith is The Thing that keeps me going. For some reason, “giving up” is never an option; there is always a way through (not around). As much as I’d like to say my ego is the only thing that keeps me going, it’s really not. It’s much more my belief these days that things are unfolding as they should.
It’s simply much harder for me now, after the yoga retreat, the EMDR, the navel gazing, Mom’s death and cheap-seat views of my life to say that there’s no reason for any of it. I wrote about that here. All of it has a reason.
That’s the beauty of it though — it’s at that point that we can decide to analyze it to death (as I tend to do sometimes) or simply let it go. Doing both, to me, are acts of faith. Scripture tells of Thomas the Apostle who doubted Jesus. I dig that about Thomas. He was willing to go there and mete it out. Meting it out doesn’t mean you don’t believe or are absent of faith, it just means that you need a little more.
I’m re-reading the quote: “…to believe in something we cannot see and the strength TO LET GO(!)” [emphasis mine] — since when does letting go require strength? This quote has so many twists and layers.
It’s like spiritual lasagne.
Pass the tray.
Can we see fear? Why do we believe in it so much or allow it so much sway in our lives? What is it about fear that keeps us back, keeps us from seeing ourselves and our potential and from moving forward?
Strength to let go.
Yikes. Yes. Right?
What about another inversion: strength to hold on to fear? Tendonitis. It’s a crutch… fear is a crutch. This is flying at me so fast right now that it’s not mine. It’s coming from somewhere else.
I’ve said this before — that fear is a crutch. It allows us to stay angry and resentful. It harbors our darkest parts of ourselves for community. It’s truly the misery that loves our company.
Standing still is one of the hardest things to do. To stand fast in the face of fear instead of run from it. That takes strength. Don’t believe me? Try standing fast — not locking your knees, eyes focused, arms at ease at your sides. Breathing. Try it for one minute without moving one millimeter. Soldiers are TRAINED to do this. It’s not so simple, so easy and so natural to stand fast and ready for anything. In yoga we call it “Mountain Pose” or Tadasana. You are encouraged to feel the earth with your bare feet, ready for anything: to act or to stand fast. After about 10 seconds of it you can feel your pulse. Then you hear your pulse. Your breathing slows, your gaze softens, your muscles at once firm and relaxed, experiencing what it means to Just Be.
Wake up! Back to Brown.
What is it about the unseen nature of faith that makes some people roll their eyes at the concept of giving one’s problems (control issues) and gratitude for life’s gifts (seen and unseen) up to a higher power?
What is it about the unseen nature of fear that makes some people nod their heads and murmur “Uh-hunh.”?
Why do we scoff at one, but allow the other?
Why do we allow the painful and inhibiting one but dismiss or feel undeserving of the joyful and liberating one?
Look, I’m not suggesting that we all run out into the streets and proclaim that we’ve given it all up to God/Universe/Fate/Spirit … what about faith in ourSelves? We’ve gotten this far, right? Sure we’ve had bumps, bruises, wrecks, mistakes and missteps. But we’re still here!
(Someone slap me.)
Fear of uncertainty. Other than knowing that nothing is certain, ever, please… someone show me how being afraid of something that we can count on — uncertainty — gets us anywhere.
I am just saying that I think we ought to give ourselves more credit than allowing fear to run our lives.
Who’s with me?
ps – to yesterday: i’m going to go ahead and write the memoir. i don’t know about publishing. ha. look at me not caring about what i don’t have to care about at the moment.