Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Feel the Fear

photograph by Renee Griffin
“Feel the fear and do it anyway.” – Jessica Swift*         

This quote grabbed me by the collar and shook me to the bones.  Not because it’s particularly poetic, but because I recognized the visceral truth in it.  I will not presume to speak for others, but can only speak of my own experiences.  Close inspection of those experiences made me realize that if there is no fear it is because I am entrenched in my comfort zone.
It is so much easier to walk the worn path than to blaze a new trail.  But that worn trail will always end in mediocrity.  I have no qualms singling out mediocrity in the world around me, but daring to decry my own is difficult.  It’s so much easier to blame others- work, school, kids, little wild fires that need immediate attention.  But what truly perpetuates mediocrity is fear:  fear of failure, fear of discomfort, fear of criticism, fear of the unknown. 

I read Jessica’s words and the critic within heard the challenge.  I will embrace the fear and then, do it anyway.  In the spirit of pushing my limits and quieting that dark doubt that fear induces,  I bought a new set of water colors and ordered the ink sprays I’ve been secretly coveting for the past six months.   And just to make sure that fear itself hears me, I will invite you to view my creations.
Don’t leave me hanging though, I want to hear from those of you who also hear the challenge.  What are you inspired to do despite the nagging fears?

 “Queen of Fork  ‘n’ Cork” is one of my earliest forays into mixed media artwork.  I created it at the culmination of a very ambitious collaborative effort to raise money for our elementary school .  The canvas was a gift from several of us to our fearless leader, and I hope she doesn’t mind that I have shared it here with you.

Whatever you feel inspired to do this week, I hope you find beauty in the process.  While undertaking the daunting task of staining our new wooden fence this past week, I set aside the irritation that stems from tedium to appreciate the beauty around me.  The Bermuda is waking from its winter slumber, the forsythia have donned their spring attire, and the Bradford Pears have exploded in a shower of white.  So don’t just feel the fear, feel the beauty.

 Photograph by Renee Griffin.

*You can read the interview with Jessica Swift in Somerset Apprentice Spring 2012 p. 80.


  1. Very well stated as usual Renee. You do such a great job of making us think about the bigger picture.

  2. I love that quote. There's this great book called Art and Fear that you'd love and we had to read in architecture school. It's about how the creative process is so much tied to thinking we're terrible and not really artists, then doing it anyway. As soon as I get it back from my other writer friend, you can borrow it. Yesterday the verse I wrote down to memorize was "I have trusted in the Lord; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" I was thinking how so much stress/worry about my book is really fear- "What if I fail? What if people hate it? What if people laugh at me?" But really, what can man do to me? They're not going to put me in jail or kill me like they do in some countries, for what I believe. What am I worried about? Reputation? So I'm going to work on when I start worrying saying that verse outloud! :) I need all the help I can get! Love Bradford pear picture. I love those trees with all my heart!!!

    1. Great to hear from you again Charity. I will definitely put the book, Art and Fear, on my list of reading. I hope my humble scrawl on the cyber-wall does inspire you to pick up your pen and throw yourself out there. If we support one another we will be invincible!


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