I’ve been thinking about how Fear robs an artist of the very essence of their Creative self. It is sometimes wrenching to watch a young artist or student wrestle with Fear. Sometimes Fear completely immobilizes and renders all of the hard work a farce – within minutes. It doesn’t matter how long you have been performing, or if you are new to performing – overcoming Fear is necessary, or your career will be stuck. Fear is tricky. It masks itself as Procrastination, Sleepiness, Crazy-making (distracting arguments hiding core anxieties), Blame Gaming, and so on.
When you are burdened with Fear, your audience is often not sure what is troubling you. After all, by the mere fact that you are standing on stage and they are seated looking at you on stage, they assume you elected to be on stage! Why would you volunteer to be afraid? What sane person would volunteer to victimize themselves in this manner? It is quite peculiar indeed.
Fear can create temporary insanity – you suddenly can’t remember where you are, the lyrics, your bandmates names, your name. You are trembling like a leaf, sweating bullets, and your calm spot is nowhere in sight. “What was the reason I gave for wanting to sing in public?” This is the question you are now pondering.
The morning of a Winter Vocal Recital for a core group of my 2012 season students, I was given this poem/stream of consciousness/gift after meditation. It flowed quickly and effortlessly – this poem – and seemed to sum up observations of student anxieties while preparing for the event, and, musings of my own garnered over the course of my teaching encounters.
I’ve arrived at a plan for eliminating Fear. Try it out and let me know what you think.
Pause a moment and reflect about a circumstance that terrifies you. Keep holding this thought in mind for a couple of minutes. Imagine this terrifying scenario as a person named Fear, instead of a circumstance. 1) Reach out and open your arms wide, as if waiting for a loved one to enter your outstretched arms. 2) Begin hugging this invisible loved one - Fear. 3) Keep squeezing so tightly that the imaginary object/person/thing – this Fear – is squashed in your embrace. Continue hugging! 4) Soon you’ll find your arms are around You (and you are hugging yourself very tightly). 5) Be aware of how you now feel – take it in.
Now read the following poem (repeatedly if necessary!). After reading the poem enough times for your liking, repeat the hugging exercise above.
Journal about the outcome of this exercise. Rinse and repeat as needed. Good luck!
Fear is a thief that comes in the night to rob you of your Divine birthright,
And if it’s night watch doesn’t succeed, it lurks in the day,
bringing you to your knees, stalking your dreams and monkeying with your mind.
Isn’t it time ? Fear and You. Just have a showdown!
Given the lowdown, dirty tricks he plays – I mean, if I had my druthers, Fear would get a back seat!
For some odd reason, whatever the season, occasion or locale,
Fear arrives dead front and center, acting like an old pal, good buddy and friend.
With friends like that, who needs enemies?!
Don’t know about you, but I’m declaring fear a frenemy, you know, “friendly enemy.”
Friendly only because he’s familiar, and enemy because you see, well…..
Gotta keep it real…..
Who else but the Enemy makes you feel like that?
Like quitting, even though you’ve worked long and hard,
(have) given blood, sweat, tears. Haven’t you given your all?
Maxed out your credit cards, robbed Peter to pay Paul, left your spouse, ignored your friends, (maybe your kids) stayed up all night long,
studying to ace that test, or worked 24/7 so you can win, but…
Success never comes when you’re running on the adrenaline of Lack.
See, that’s the knife in your back!
Because its said that Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real,
But thinking myself wise, said, “Self, you can beat Fear! All that’s required is to Follow Every Avenue Rapidly!”
So…I’m here to tell you in this ditty of a discourse that
Fear takes hold when your true Eternal Friend
His Almighty, Father, Creator, Maker of all that was and is,
Is given a back seat, and made a co-pilot instead.
Yeah as I said earlier, give Fear the back seat, let Fear get what it deserves, Defeat!!
Make God the sovereign head of your life, and you will never fight alone!
It is He within You as Him that can conquer all!
And then – that showdown with Fear, or Anguish, or Loneliness or Chemical Dependency….
whatever may be…shackling you with strongholds old and deep,
Surrender to Him once and for all,
Your Destiny awaits you, so answer The Call!
Lenora Helm Hammonds, December 16, 2012, 7:07 am