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The Chronicle Sessions - Stepping Through Your Fears

Updated: Nov 10, 2019

“Waiting in Shadows”

There you are sitting next to me, eyes lost in uncertainty.

Why do you look so confused and unsure?

Can’t you see you have this path you must take…

Please don’t you wait until it’s too late.

To love yourself, so you can love me too.

This fear embracing you isn’t real, my friend.

But your mind won’t stop pulling at your heart.

Step into me and I’ll show you it’s all an illusion, a figment of your imagination.

You’re afraid of what you think you see in the reflection of the mirror.

It’s only yourself you keep running from.

And the image no longer appears clear.

You stop and toss the question for yourself high up into the air.

Two side of a coin are the only options there.

Which direction will it be?

You pick it up and start to see…

Both are faceless and can’t give you the answers you need.

The disappointment written on your face only proves either side can be right or wrong.

The next action is solely up to you.

Look around, no one is here to tell you the way.

Hide from yourself, but you can’t run away.

The shadow is always at rest by your feet (a silhouette of the darkness in you).

Embrace it, because it never leaves your side.

Like a companion of truth…an obscurity compared to the brightness it stands against.

If you want to get to the light, better start walking through the dark.

Now won’t you find the courage to step through and ignite your spark?

Poem written by Kirsten Toth

August 2017

Here I go again…feeling guilty for not following through with the commitments I had made for the day. I find myself standing on my balcony looking into the sky through the summer leaves still comfortably sleeping on its branches; soon to change colour and rest for the winter. I’m surrounded by beauty, yet all I seemed to focus on is feeling sorry for myself over the lack of productivity that engulfed my day. Distractions were plenty and pleasures were sought out to cover the sense of disappointment in myself. I begin to worry if things will work out, or if I will be alone with this constant chatter, hoping that the words that form my thoughts will show me the things that matter. I settle in and I can finally start to hear and it slowly starts to all become clear.

I am late (again) posting on this blog. One of my commitments when I started this project was to make sure each piece was posted by the 1st of the next month. Yeah…that definitely didn’t always happen, just like it didn’t this past month. But that’s ok. I have come to realize I don’t have to criticize myself because there is always a reason why. This month’s topic is about pushing past the challenges and setbacks that are continually bounded by an innate human emotion called fear. Sitting in the position I am, losing two jobs in the career I love over the last two months and making minimal income the last few weeks, one would assume I would be drowning in worry and anxiety over how I’m going to make it all work. And I was… until a conversation lead to the realization that I needed to see the bigger picture of these experiences to have the ability to write this piece. That conversation was the defining moment for me to shift my perspective and allow me to feel like things would figure themselves out the way they’re supposed to. A sense of ease took over, creating enough space for my fear to expand and dissipate. Enough room to fill the space with trust and love and the belief in the Divine. Enough freedom to impact two individuals at the same time; both paralyzed in a world of uncertainty and “I don’t know”, but each given the chance to dissolve the outside perceptions and projections that hold them back. One thing must happen first in order to inspire the one that follows…

I’m going to pause here to tell you a story from my own experience last night (September 6th, 2017).

The full moon was at its peak and I knew I wanted to go somewhere to see it and practice taking photos outside of the city, but I wasn’t sure which direction I wanted to go. After a conversation with a friend, I headed South on Crowchild Trail toward lower Springbank, as he suggested. As I was driving, the turn off to go West was quickly approaching when I had a sudden inclining to keep going straight. Putting complete trust in my intuition, I drove cautiously forward…slowly as I entered into North Glenmore Park. I’ve lived in this city my entire life and have never once gone to this park and nothing looked familiar. It was eerily quiet and dark with no one in sight; I slowed down and an uneasy feeling started to wash over me. I drove my car in an empty parking lot overlooking the reservoir, but found I couldn’t bring myself to get out of the car as I was afraid for some reason. I lowered the volume on the radio, rolled my window down and listened to the silence. The gentle rustling of the leaves on the trees and cries from a group of animals not too far away were the only things I could hear. I picked up my camera and started shooting the moon from outside of my window. After a few minutes I turned back into my car and looked ahead… I saw a faint shadow rested on the street sign in front of me and I turned my headlights on to see if I was imagining things. I wasn’t. Perched facing the water, a Great Horned Owl turned its head and looked at me; I felt paralyzed and didn’t know what to do. Then, without hesitation, I opened the car door and got out…forgetting about any previous fear I had in the last 20 minutes and moved in for a closer look. I greeted the bird out of respect and we stood there staring at each other. What do I do right now!? I don’t want him to fly away if I get too close…Then the words stumbled out of my mouth.

"I don’t want to be afraid anymore."

I didn’t have anything else to say…I turned around for a split second and looked over my shoulder, but when I drew my gaze back to the sign the owl was already gone…like he vanished in the air. I stood in bewilderment for a moment before I noticed I felt more at ease and the sensation of the fear that was holding me was dissolving into a puddle around me. I grabbed my camera and continued to take photos of the moon as I had originally intended when I left my house…outside of my car of comfort and inside the darkness of the unknown in the open air.

My experience from that night left me perplexed and reflective on what I am truly fearful of. I’ve come to recognize some deep-seated emotions I’ve held onto since I was a child that has been at the forefront of the majority of my experiences in the last year. Almost every time I’ve put myself in a situation of emotional self-expression, especially when performing my spoken word poetry, I found myself not fully letting go and being in the moment because I wanted it to sound “good”. My awareness of this grew each time I got on stage, yet my actions never changed as this illusionary fear of not being good enough and being judged continually held me hostage. I am finally ready to let this fear go.

So, what are you afraid of? What are the things holding you captive from your greatest potential? Time? Finances? Truth? The image in the mirror reflecting back at you? No matter what form it comes in, the effect remains the same. It is an inevitable fact that we all must continually make decisions in order to acquire all of the things we desire in our lives. Within each choice lies an emotional component that will either guide us to go one direction or another based out of fear or love. Think about the last time you chose not to do something because you were afraid…maybe because it was out of your comfort zone or you were avoiding judgement from other people. Whichever the reason, the decision was made due to an underlying fear of the unknown. Personally I feel overwhelmed and scared to take on this new persona of who I am becoming because it means that I have to let go of parts of my identity from the past. This is not an easy thing to do. Stepping through into the next version of yourself requires you to walk along the edge of uncertainty and away from the things you understand. It also takes a hell of a lot of courage to trust what’s around the corner when you don’t even know where your next footstep is going to land. Even though I’m afraid of this awareness that I am beginning to experience, I am consciously choosing to step into both the darkness and the light that resides within my true self so I am able to progress forward in life with contentment and peace.

Thank you.

Photograph by Kirsten Toth

“For this one hour, there has been clear as day than any other day of my life, so fuck it…that’s what it is…my life is a fucking orange moon.”

– Taylor O. (“Fake James”) from audio recording September 6th, 2017

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