Fear is so amazingly powerful. I know that now, sitting here today, more than ever. I see how it affects me and I see how it affects others. In my life, and I’m probably talking about the last 10 years or so, I have let fear creep in and overtake me. I have let fear step in and run my life for me. Run my thoughts for me, make my decisions for me. Now, gratefully, I’m able to identify fear, notice when it comes in, and choose to live my life how I want to live it in spite of the fear. But it’s definitely not easy. It’s challenging, to say the least. Because it’s incredibly difficult to fight fear. To fight the dark side. To fight against something that seems so powerful over me, so righteous and so strong, that makes me question everything about who I am and what I think is right and true. That makes me squeeze my eyes closed and shudder and tremble. No. I must fight for Myself. To realize this is MY life, MY time on this planet and being afraid is keeping me a victim, keeping me from experiencing everything that life was meant to offer me.
It’s easy to have a strange relationship with fear because to me it seems like there is also a ”good” side of fear. All emotions are indicators. Like the rumble strips on the side of the road. When you start to drift off the road or into another lane, the rumble strips grab your attention and you can decide if you are on the right course. Did you drift off the road because you weren’t paying attention, or did you cross the center rumble strip because you are trying to pass someone in front of you? Fear is there to protect, right? If I am about to make a choice and I feel an intuition that I shouldn’t do it, then I listen to it, evaluate and decide. If I am walking too close to the edge, fear is there to tell me to move to where it is safe. So in my mind, fear has a positive intention. It just wants me to be “safe.”
But that is a key question. What is “safe?” And at what point does it switch from being “safe” to just not living life. That is why fear has so much power. It lures itself into my heart like it’s there to protect me and keep me “safe,” yet then it starts to grow and grow, building up walls of confinement and constriction, limiting my every motion and every thought. Making everything dripping with fear that something bad will happen to me if I do that, go there, say this or think that.
And what is wrong with something “bad” happening anyway? So what if I take that road trip and my car breaks down? Maybe it was meant to break down so I could have that experience. What makes it “bad?” Is it warm and fuzzy and convenient and easy? NO. Absolutely not. But I believe that life is learned from mistakes. Life is learned from experiences. If the car breaks down, I could learn a lesson to check tires or get an oil change before a long trip. Or, I could have even done all that and broke down anyway, but met an amazing Good Samaritan who stopped to help me and I made a new friend. If I stay within the confines of fear, avoiding life, then I am avoiding experiences. Then I have to ask, what the hell am I even doing here on this planet anyway?
Which is exactly how I got to where I am today. I found myself asking that question. Actually a lot of questions. What is the meaning of life? What is existence all about? Why are we here? What is my purpose? I feel a pulling that there is something I am supposed to do. Asking more and more questions began to open my mind and my heart because I let the questions flow and listened to them and did not ignore them. Ok, initially I fought them because it went against the norm of what my life had been so far. The questions went against everything society, conditioning, life experiences, and people had taught me. How could these questions and thoughts be “real” or “right” when all my life I have lived and believed something different. When it seems like everyone around me believes something different from the answers these questions are proposing. That I could be different than what the rest of the world appears? Different than what is presented as normal by the government, by media, by society, by people I know.
What made it take hold for me was that I sat with it. I didn’t dispel the questions, I kept listening. Then more questions came that were deeper and richer. I asked myself if what I am seeing as the “norm” is controlled by the media or by what people only want you to see (aka masks and ego and identity.) So isn’t what I am seeing as “right” or the “norm” actually a facade? Then I started asking myself how could this be all there is. That just getting up every day, going to work, coming home, going to bed is all there is. Feeling stress and pressure to make lots of money so I can spend lots of money? And why did I keep drinking mass amounts of coffee, smoking cigarettes or chewing nicotine gum, overeating really bad food, drinking alcohol, or staring at a television every night for 4 hours. Coping through self medication? And why did I feel depressed? (Now I can see it is obvious why I was depressed, I wasn’t eating right, sleeping well, or exercising, and I was unhappy with my job and my lack of spirituality at the time, of course that is depressing.) So yeah, of course I would want to make all that feeling of depression go away… so I ran fast to the doctor and pleaded, “please please make it better!” And then I am gifted the cure to my problems… a prescription of some anti-depressant made of chemicals and having side effects, but oh, that is how everybody deals with it and the drugs are supposed to make me be able to handle “life.” Because life just sucks and I’m supposed to let it suck and just deal with it by taking drugs?
No thanks! My life is amazing now. All without medication. Yes, I worked closely with my doctor to wean myself off of the medications while I started to learn to reconnect with my body. I started believing in myself, taking care of myself, finding what makes me happy and thinking about what makes me happy and doing what makes me happy and spending time with people who make me happy. I started to choose for myself instead of just believing “it is what it is,” that life just sucks and I am a victim and just have to deal with it. I believe in “it is what it is” but in a freeing way… to liberate myself from the desire to control everything, that everything happens for a reason. And I also believe in the law of attraction and manifestation and the power of positive thinking. I can have a positive life. I can feel what I want to feel.
And that includes fear. I have to both fight fear and not “fight” fear. I can’t hide from fear and push it away or try to hide it in a box. Suppressing any emotion only gives it strength. I admit to myself when I am scared of something. I am human. It is very natural and healthy to be scared. I respect the fear. I listen to what it is trying to tell me. “Dana, you are walking too close to the edge of the cliff, you might fall and slip and hurt yourself and you could die.” “Thank you fear, you have a good point. But I believe I am resourceful and I have a strong mind and I have strong feet and strong tools to get me past that part of the trail that is so close to the edge of the cliff. I am not going to turn back and give up on my climb. I am going to go forward. But I will heed your advice and be careful. Thank you, fear, for being there for me to protect me and keep me aware.”
And then I just stay on my path. Moving forward on my climb. Moving forward in my life. Experiencing life. Living life. Free.