In the last post, we talked about befriending fear. The comments were so heartfelt and the emails I received so amazing as people testified to the transformation that is possible when you make fear your friend.
See for yourself in these moving words from Tameka:
“Without becoming friends with my fear, I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this, in a little cafe in Vientiane, Laos. I wouldn’t have left everything I knew- all my creature comforts, my life as I knew it- and traveled alone as a 23 year old, throughout the whole of Cambodia, Thailand, and now Laos, despite the fears of my family and friends. I wouldn’t be floating and fluttering around this beautiful universe, too afraid to live my own life, for fear of leaving those who need me.”
How do we go from barely living a life limited by fear to one that expresses our unique gifts and longings? How do we inhabit our lives fully? We let fear come along for the ride. We don’t use it as an excuse or justification. As Justin commented, we accept it and move on with our plans.
Recognize the Voice of Fear
If your intention is to not be deterred by fear, you need to know it intimately. You need to study it so you recognize when it is tapping you on the shoulder and asking for attention. Its voice can be subtle, so learn how it speaks. Here are some examples:
- I can’t disappoint my family.
- I might fail.
- I doubt if I can do it.
- I might get overwhelmed.
- I will have to work too hard.
- I will be outside my comfort zone.
- What if it gets difficult.
- I don’t know how to start.
I could go on and on. Do you see the commonalities? I can’t…what if…I doubt…I don’t. These are all signs that fear is in charge. They are thought patterns that assume the negative and question the movement of your heart’s deepest desires.
In fact, these limiting thoughts arise just after a moment of clarity when something you are passionate about comes to light. Trace each one back to its origin, and you will find what makes your heart sing.
Let Your Heart Sing
Fear is a natural part of the human experience. Its goal is protection and survival. But when we feel the call to step out into the unknown to experiment, create, and manifest our own unique song, we need to learn to navigate with fear. We acknowledge it, study it, then make a reasoned and intentional choice.
Which is just what some of the members of our community here at A Flourishing Life have shared.
Emma of Graceful Balance writes,
“I try to personify fear and instead of seeing it as a scary monster I see it as a little girl just wanting to be noticed. Somehow this view of it allows me to have compassion for the fear, to see it as outside of myself, and to acknowledge it while not being sucked into it.”
And Tameka says,
“Seeing it for what it is, recognising when it does have real merit and pushing through gently, as to not hurt its feelings. It is a part of us, after all!”
How to befriend fear? Treat it with kindness. Don’t push it away. Say, “Yes, you too,” with compassion, then step outside it and move forward from clarity. This is the end of violence and separation, and the beginning of life.
I’ll leave you with the words of Rumi, the Sufi mystic, from a poem called, “The Guest House.”
This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Can you welcome fear in? Can you treat it honorably? I’d love to hear…
Note: As you know, I’ve been traveling, so I’ll be taking a week off from writing. I’ll have a fresh post, ready to go, in a couple of weeks.
Love to you,