What is your biggest fear? Mine is speaking in public or in front of a large group of people.
How do you confront your biggest fear? Well, I confronted my deep fear of public speaking rather unexpectedly just two weekends ago when I was pulled up on stage while attending a conference in Las Vegas. After I walked under the spotlight and grasped the microphone, I looked at the eyes of over 400 attendees staring back at me. But, I quickly realized that these were the eyes of supportive, loving people. And I realized it wasn’t really that scary. (Watch the full video below).
The Power of You (POY) is a 2-month online course with Mel Robbins and her amazing team. She invited the POY class participants to a reunion in Las Vegas so we could get to know each other in-person, share our experiences, and hopefully get answers. At the registration desk, we dropped our names in a hat, which were entered into a drawing for a live, onstage coaching session with Mel. Of the 400 attendees, I was one of 4 names drawn from the hat.
Mel has an Audible series called, Kick Ass with Mel, where she coaches 8 people through habits or issues in their lives that are keeping them stuck. Mel helps each person go beneath the surface level - to the root cause. And this is what she did with me two onstage weekends ago!
From my experience with Mel (see video above), I found that I am fearful of saying words, any words. I fear I will not find the words or that I will not be able to accurately articulate what I mean. I am scared that I will look or sound stupid. I am fearful of being laughed at, or being judged by others. I dread eyes looking at me because I think they might find me lacking, without value. Or, perhaps they will find me ugly. In other words, I am terrified of people thinking that I am a piece of shit (root).
"I am terrified of people thinking that I am a piece of shit." - Wendy Wagoner
A quiet childhood
Throughout my upbringing, my mother was not fully attuned (my brother and I were 13 months apart and he had some physical issues that needed special attention) and my father was an alcoholic. While a small child, my dad did not like noise in the house. To receive the love I wanted from him, I had to stay quiet. So, I quietly played in the corner. If I cried, he would often say, “do you want me to give you something to cry about?” Sometimes he did.
Misbehaving has consequences
My father would return from work on Fridays (he worked out of town during the week), hoping to come home to peace and quiet. Instead, he was responsible for disciplining us if we had misbehaved in his absence. My father did not want to spank us with the belt. But he did because my mother expected that from him and he was frustrated with the situation. I remember feeling bad for him, and yet at the same time I was upset for being hit. I would cry (because of course it was very painful) and this would only make him more angry.
Grandma embarrasses us all in church
Once, when I was 5 years old and my crippled grandmother was staying with us, the neighbor forgot to pick us up for church. My grandmother found us another ride and we slipped in the side door since mass had already started. While the priest was talking, my grandmother decided to yell across the church at the people that forgot to pick us up. Every eye turned towards us and the judgements flooded in. I wanted to shrivel up into nonexistence. Since that moment, I haven’t walked into a church without worrying about what people thought of me.
Teasing has consequences
During my adolescent puberty stages, my brother would come into my bedroom without knocking, and say to me, “boy you’re ugly” or “boy you’re stupid.” And sometimes “you’re so flat chested.” When you are told something often, you start to believe it. Plus, my brother was popular and cool, so I figured he would know. I decided I better stay hidden so people would not tease me like he did.
I was going into the 4th grade when we moved to a new city. At the new school, the pretty girls pretty much ran the playground; they decided who could play with them on a given day and who couldn’t. As the new girl, I was bullied and told that I was not allowed to play with the poplar girls. This validated my belief that I should stay small in the hopes that I would not be picked on. I never raised my hand in class to read or answer a question. In fact, if we were reading out loud, I would count down the lines so I could practice reading the paragraph before I was called on. I would literally take an “E” in a class before I would get up and speak. I would even get to the end of the bus line over and over again so I could take the last shuttle to junior high school and avoid walking the halls before class.
"My motto becomes life is a bitch and then you die."
In my 40’s I embraced the concept of anything is possible. I began to start unraveling my character patterns - seeing the continuum from you, me, we to oneness. I realized that there is no way to skip up the ladder to oneness without doing the work first. My motto in my 40’s was life is an adventure.
I truly thought I had worked on my issues around my mother’s death. I thought I had moved past it. I thought I was good with death and that death was my friend. I believed that I was good at helping people die; I could hold space for them and create a beautiful experience, which I have done. I felt it was a gift I had to give - helping people feel comfortable with dying.
But, I truly had barely skimmed the surface of understanding death. I had been holding on to my mother - not truly letting her go, I was NOT ok with letting her go again!
How was I doing this? Well, by keeping myself small, not good enough, not lovable enough. I was enforcing my core beliefs about who I was. I could even find myself merging with her in the clutter of my drawers and closet. Every time I walked into my closet or pulled open a drawer - wham! - my judge voice kicked in and I would feel less than.
It was a very subtle way of keeping my judge alive, which just happens to be my mother! My bad tone of voice I would use with my family was my mom’s voice. The popcorn I wanted to make and eat each evening was my mother's favorite. The way I kept myself avoiding true contact with people was similar to my mother's actions when she was alive.
But, if I stopped beating myself up with my inner judge voice (which is my mother), then I would need to figure out a way to let her die all over again. I would have to feel that raw, numbing pain again!
Ironically this is all imaginary in my thinking, stored in my cortex as my perception of my memories.
"My motto in my 40’s was life is an adventure."
Yesterday while lying down, I could feel the roots coming up from the earth into my feet and spreading through my entire system. I could feel that my mother was absorbed into this root system and part of consciousness (Avatar comes to mind now). I could feel the Earth mother (archetype) of consciousness and the flow of this life system through my system. It was feminine energy - not masculine. I could feel how this new energy flowed and the true strength of this space was just being. Simply lying on the table Being - not being pulled or needing to do anything for anyone - there was value in my just being.
I could feel myself at all ages, into my 90’s, feeling the same as I did when I was 2. I could feel how time was irrelevant and my previous anxiety about being a minute late to my appointment became funny. I could feel that there is no need to be held, that I was part of this Universal consciousness - of which my mom was too.
I could feel myself no longer needing anyone or anything. I was everyone and everything! What could I need or want? I had been keeping my mom alive through the gravesite, pictures, my tone of voice, my smallness, my nervous system. I was totally vibrating and relaxed at the same time.
My mother has been part of this collective consciousness since she died (and while she was alive). I was born knowing about the oneness, but had since merged with her wounded identity.
AHHHHHHHH………………..finally, I could FEEL the whole picture and KNOW that I was part of the Oneness. I had it so wrong and it seems so simple. My motto in this moment is life and death are the same, they are everything and nothing at the same time. I KNOW of Oneness and its spacious vast awareness of everything all at once.
I have worked very hard on my life up to this point (this made me giggle). I wonder what that really means. Anyway, I have many life experiences that have shaped me and allowed me to be on a journey for this elusive feeling of peace. Up to this point, it has been somewhat of a push/pull and ego driven endeavor to become a person that my children will feel in their hearts; that I was truly a good mom and person. My mom died when I was a teenager and at the funeral, I remember thinking, who are they talking about? The perceptions I have of my mother were not theirs and so it felt false to me. I felt ripped off - jealous of something they seemed to have with her that I did not feel I had. I now know that is not the truth, but at the time it was so strong. I vowed to explore and strive at being a better person for my kids and my future grandchildren. The dysfunctional patterns can stop, but once again I have worked very hard to change my character patterns. Have I arrived? Well, honestly I can say I am done striving, or trying to arrive anywhere. It did serve me having to take this journey from an ego driven agenda place. Now I am ready to just BE.
If I died tomorrow would my kids, listening to people sharing at my funeral, agree with their perceptions of me? I am not sure that would be the case, but I am ok with that because it is their journey to figure out that it is all a projection. I truly feel love for them, from every cell of my body and heart. I did the best I could with those moments in time, as did my mother. I know that my mother loved me from ever cell of her body and heart and did the best she could with the moments she had on this planet. So the letting go of what I “think” my mother did or did not do for me is a wonder gift I found within myself and I feel peace in the letting go.
Wendy Wagoner has explored numerous avenues of disciplines over the last 30 years. She is a professional Awakening Coach, healer, and experienced workshop leader.
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