Fear of Drought

I go through periods of time when I’ve got nothing to write about. This past month or so has been one of those times. What with the stress of the move, selling almost everything I owned,  putting what was left in a 10X10 storage locker, getting in my car and driving to a place I had never laid eyes on and not really knowing what the next step in my life is, I got lost in the worry, self pity and anger at others who I feel have dealt me swift, unjustified blows. The landlord who didn’t pay me my damage deposit back, the money that was suppose to arrive in my bank account but circumstances had other plans for it,  the new business deal I was getting into that changed like the wind and just when I thought it was going to mean cash in my jeans, changed as did the seasons from spring to summer, leaving a new, less lucrative but still interesting (which is code for zero cash), deal on the table. Yes, even after all my talk about the great adventure and throwing caution to the wind to find what was out there for me, I fell deep into the pit of  ‘oh my, what have I done’.

I see today that there was a reason for the ‘nothing to write about ‘ drought. I was in a period of reflection, a time of figuring stuff out, a time of taking in all that was happening and coming to understand it, and learning to live with my life as it was today, not as it will be tomorrow. Another reason, is that I had to be able to share with others that needed to hear what I have to say. But I needed to live it and to learn it in order to share it.

Today, was the day for sharing. Yesterday, I wrote about fear and how it grabs hold of you and can choke the life right out of you, if you let it. I talked about how fear stops others from helping someone who needs them. However today, I see why I had writers drought. I received an email from a women I only am connected to through social media. I don’t know her personally, but it seems she may have read my blog because she reached out to me for help. I’ll refer to her as Meredith, although I’ve changed her name for privacy. Her email went something like this:

Hi Shioban, ( see,  we don’t know each other as she spelled my name incorrectly – people I know go through rigorous training on the spelling of my name)

I was in a space of great success until 1999, then domino’s to nothing. Now, healthy, unencumbered, and wanting/needing to create a good income career again. Fear? yes – I’m 61 and afraid of not being able to take care of myself. I planned and built all my life so I could just enjoy life, but now I’m starting again. Have some pretty strong anxiety I need to shake and get on with it. Suggestions?

I started to write back to her and what came of it was this blog post which I’ve shared with her.

Hi Meredith,

I have to say it’s strange how the universe works. Fear is a topic I’ve been writing about and thinking about a lot lately. In fact, yesterday I posted a blog about fear. Perhaps that is why you wrote to me, I’m not sure. If not, that’s a big ‘ what a strange coincidence’. I’ve become aware that fear gets a strong hold on you and you must realize that you can push it back into the shadows of your life by taking action each and every day. Last night we did our show, The Attitude Shift,  and our guest, Betty Marvin, ( first wife of Hollywood actor, Lee Marvin) at 62 had been swindled out of all her money. She was homeless for a period of time  but she never let fear take that strangle hold of her and she stayed focused, diligently reaching out to people, making her way anyway she could think of, and today at 82 has written a memoir, Tales of a Hollywood Housewife, of her life of survival to success as she puts it. For my partners and I in The Broke Wives Club, that’s code for, ‘from broke to stoked.’

Betty said one thing about fear that I have come to understand recently, that having a routine everyday, reaching out to people and taking action will keep you from completely losing it and as you do, situations will arise that get you back on track toward what it is you really want and to a place where you feel whole. Sharing this story is how I can help you, Meredith.  I have no corporate jobs in my back pocket for you, in fact, I am living in a home, not my own, because a kind soul is letting us stay here for free.  What I do have is my courage to follow my dreams and be a partner in a start-up organization that currently has no revenue stream, and do a weekly podcast to help women find success simply because it is what I love to do.

As I continue to do this I have a strong sense, which each day gets stronger, that I will be better than OK. The things I need to survive, to live day to day will arrive. It wasn’t always like that and even recently I’ve gone off the deep end in fits of panic, anger, and the all consuming “how could this have happened to me?” mind game. What I do have is a community of women at my fingertips all who are finding their way from broke to stoked. As I’ve said in my previous blog, it’s not about the me, me, me anymore, it’s about the we and with that knowledge I know I’ll be fine because I’m  a part of the we.

I wouldn’t have that today, if I hadn’t stopped to listen to the silence that was so deafening after losing a lucrative contract and a steady income last summer. It was then, at a time when perhaps in most sane people’s minds I should have been finding a paying job, I stopped and listened to a women, Donna M. Butler, who had found her way to me.  As I listened to her story of tragic events in her life that placed her squarely in the broke category, and I took time away from what was happening to me, to encourage her to find her way past the fear, I found my courage and my life path. We have the power to keep forging ahead and what seems to be a dark cloud over head, is actually just hiding a ray of sunshine that will soon brighten your life’s path. All you have to do is walk out from under that cloud and you do that by placing one foot in front of the other and keep the momentum going toward your brilliant, unique destiny.

Meredith, there is something I can do for you and that is share your action plan with the members of our club and perhaps someone has the ability to help you with even just one step in it. Let me know if that will be of interest to you and we’ll get started.

Stay stoked,


Siobhan Shaw is co-founder of The Broke Wives Club and Co-host of The Attitude Shift.


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