Tigre, Shamanic Handy Man
28 Dec 2017
How often do you feel like a poser, imposter or fraud?
Have you ever given up on something after investing time, money and education because you felt like you’d never be that imaginal professional you dreamt of?
If so, maybe my experience with tool belt medicine helps you through your next Mean Brain barrage.
Yes, this is going to be about mechanical tools like drills, hammers and a tool belt. But, really, this is about all the tools one uses in any profession.
When we get excited about becoming X from whatever divine or mundane inspiration that tickled our inner seeker and explorer, we usually go out and get the tools to fulfill that inspiration.
“Hmmm, let’s see, I’ll take one of those, and those, and those, and…”
With all our excitement and giddiness, we load up our physical or digital shopping carts with goods, justifying each purchase with a hearty, “I totally am going to use/need this, for sure.”
And Then, They Sit
Once the initial shopping dopamine kick wears off, we’ve either carefully placed those tools around our future workspace, altar or desk, or, we’ve let them languish in their packaging in a tucked away corner.
There, they go. Unused. Untouched. Unloved. As time and their presence tango with our Mean Brain, the latter begins to ridicule us for the attempt at becoming someone “we’re not.”
“Who did you think you were to buy that?”
“What a waste of money and resources. You should return it or give it to someone who will actually use it.”
And so on.
You may muster the courage to fight back that Mean Brain and actually engage with the tools you once excitedly purchased or asked for. But the thick scorn taints your experience as you fumble with using it. Mean Brain loves a weak point and senses it in your latest attempts at growth, and like Lucy with Charlie, sabotages your Beginner’s Mind with taunts and ridicule.
You put the tool back. There it sits, collecting dust. You avert gaze when you pass that area. It gets shuffled around in moves, and eventually, you slough it off via Craigslist, donation or the dust bin.
Putting Your “Tool Belt” To Work
Like you, I had a tool that pitted me in a fit of not-good-enough-ness. That tool was my tool belt.
This tool belt has pouches for small tools, pockets for screws, hooks for tapes and suspenders to keep the weight of all that manliness from pulling down your pants.
I owned it for two years before finally putting it to work. Why?
Because, every time I went to put it on I felt like a poser. Who was I to wear this device? I didn’t even know how it went on properly. What was this pouch for?
Like an injured fawn, my weakness and self doubt drew my Mean Brain’s wrath, “You’re not a carpenter. You’re just a poser pretending to be a man. You should get rid of it and stick with what you know.”
So, it sat. We moved. It joined us. And sat again.
A few months rolled by as we settled into our nest. My home improvement sights landed on the dilapidated chicken coop where we plan to build our future healing space. It seriously needed to go to make room for new energy.
As I gathered my tools to disassemble the rotten coop, they became unwieldy and awkward. How was I going to climb a ladder, hold a hammer, use a pry bar and collect roofing nails?
Then, it dawned on me. My tool belt. That is what it’s for: holding tools for easy access so you can stay focused on your task and not start and stop progress. What a useful, practical and handy device. And, best of all, I already owned it!
But my Mean Brain said its usual, “You’re just a poser,” drivel and tried to negate the benefits of using it. Thankfully, my Kind Heart reminded me otherwise.
“He needs to sit down and suck a lollipop,” my Kind Heart said, “You put that useful tool belt on, load it up however you want, and get to fulfilling your dream.”
Thanks, Kind Heart. You’re the best.
Putting On Your Tool Belt
The first time we engage a tool or instrument, we must be patient, slow and kind.
Many times, when we first use a tool, we expect perfection upon first use. Then, when we fumble with it or sound out a grating note, we sheepishly put it back or get angry and harrumph and stomp (I’m looking at you, inner frustrated child).
Yes, I still didn’t know how to use the tool belt. But I gave Mean Brain it’s lollipop of distraction and allowed my Beginner’s Mind to take over.
Fumbling with the belt, placing it where I thought it would suit my frame, and strapping on the suspenders, I felt awkward. It wasn’t right, the straps were still, but work called, and I gave myself permission for it to be imperfect. I was allowing myself to learn and grow into it.
Tool belt on, tools of the day into it, and I was off. Chicken coop no more!
Finding Your Tool’s Rhythm and Purpose
It only took me a few minutes to discover why tool belts are awesome. After de-shingling the roof, collecting nails and alternating between my hammer, pry bar and wire cutters, I realized just how excellent and helpful the tool belt is to contractors and carpenters.
As my work progressed, I put on the hat of The Fool to laugh at myself for all of the mental Mean Brain blocks I had placed before me that prevented my enjoyment of such a useful tool.
Sure, it still took me a few tries to get the back strap to sit my frame right, and I’m probably not using all of the pockets the “right” way, but I’m using it and that is what improves my competency, self-assurance and confidence.
No longer is my tool belt languishing unused, unappreciated and unloved. Now it’s one of my go to tools, like my Leatherman®, for getting tasks done around our home.
Embracing Your Tools
I encourage you, where ever you are at in your passion’s journey, to pick up one of your forgotten or discarded tools and pick it up with a Beginner’s Mind and a Kind Heart. Play with it, tap into why it’s with you now, and use it to create the world you’ve been dreaming of.
Oh, and give that Mean Brain a lollipop.