I’ve noticed that every time I am moving towards the next level, I have this attack of sorts. I know I am not alone. Finally make the decision to move on up by sending your CV out there, or get out of a relationship that’s not working, or ask for that raise you know you deserve and here it comes– the negative head-chatter. The judgmental family member/colleague that says out loud what you’ve been afraid of. Self-sabotaging episodes.
“Who do you think you are?”
“What right do you have?”
“You’re just going to screw it up.”
Whatever your committee’s favorite shaming and fear-inducing phrases are, they’re in a near-constant loop.
Yet, push through and do it anyway, and the whole world opens up. Nothing I was worried about happened, or if it did, it wasn’t a big deal. Its like there are these boogeymen at each portal to the next level that make all this noise and try to scare me back, but actually have no power. Harmless. They’re just waving their arms and making noise, really.
In folk tales, there are no shortage of such creatures. The reputations alone of these trolls under the bridges of our lives are often enough to keep us from even going near the bridge, let alone daring to cross it. Yet it is in this daring that we survive. Dare we not, and it is the fear that held us back that will consume us. The negative, critical, searing questioning that will intensify and make the next bridge even more frightening to cross.
In the story of Vasilissa, our heroine is the victim of a plot intended to kill her. She is sent to Baba Yaga’s house deep in the woods to get fire. Frightened at the prospect of being eaten by Baba Yaga, Vasilissa arrives at the hag’s hut after a few days of traveling through the woods. Even with all this time to mentally prepare, she’s still terrified when confronted by Baba at the gate.
…”Why are you here?” the Baba demanded.
“I live with my Stepmother at the edge of the woods, and we are in need of fire.” Vasilissa answered.
“Yes, yes.” Baba Yaga sneered, “I know your people.
“Why should I give you fire” she shot back.
“Because I asked.” Vasilissa replied.
She’s facing the horrible stuff of legends, and she doesn’t justify. She doesn’t explain. She doesn’t try to win pity points. She simply asks for what she needs.
This takes ovarios. And it works.
The Baba didn’t eat Vasilissa right there on the spot. She didn’t eat Vasilissa at all. But to be able to stand in the face of that kind of Wild Power and hold her own, Vasilissa had to know what she wanted. Just knowing what we need is half the battle won.
When we know what it is we need, when we’ve connected to what happens if we don’t have what we need, courage comes much more easily. The fear of going forward becomes less than the fear of turning back- and that’s all you need to get past the gatekeeper.