Category Archives: fear

Let Love Lead

It’s a brand new day.

How will you approach it?

Will you go about mindlessly, bouncing busily between activities, not feeling that deeper sense of accomplishment?

Or, will you break out of that routine with a renewed sense of purpose?

It comes down to you.  You and only you.

Ask yourself if you are bringing the energy of fear or love into your life.  Which is it?

Do you find yourself wasting your days out of carelessness or laziness?  If so, this is a fear-based response to life (dig deep and you’ll discover that this carelessness or laziness comes from being afraid of things not working out, of being a failure, or of being successful).

Do you find yourself doing things that strip you of your personal power or make you feel miserable?  If so, this is another fear-based response (afraid of being rejected and not fitting in, so you do things to please others or to appear as someone you are not?).

Where there is fear there is no love.

Replacing a fear mindset with a love mindset requires a shift in personal thinking. It’s not always easy; it requires some work and patience, and once you get into the practice of it, your life will begin to change in unexpected, even miraculous ways.

Ask which fears are blocking out the presence of love. Step outside of yourself and take a long non-judgmental look at You. What scares you? What motivates you? How do you define yourself? Take an inventory of what you think, feel, and do.  What is the motivation behind your actions? Is it love or fear?

Once you have identified those fearful thoughts, deeds, and energy, it’s time to send the energy of love.  The energy we send out is the energy we will receive (this is a universal law…check it out for yourself).

You can do this in a number of ways.  You can repeat the word “love” as a mantra.  You can repeat an affirmation such as “I see all things with love,” or you can choose your own wording. You can also visualize waves of love emanating from your heart area or chakra while directing those waves toward specific situations or people.

Find a way that resonates with you and commit to it.  Approaching each day with love instead of fear will change the energy of your life path.

It’s a brand new day, and it’s your life.  Let love lead the way.

 

Wise Up

Day 9 of 29 Days of Spiritual Messages.
Today’s message comes from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

Look not mournfully into the past. It comes not back again. Wisely improve the present. It is thine. Go forth to meet the shadowy future, without fear.“

These five simple sentences are packed with truth. Let’s unpack it.
Notice the authority in which HWL speaks to us. He speaks in the imperative. His words command us to “look,” to “improve,” and to “go.” This is the voice of confidence, of experience, of knowing. And the words ring true deep within us. We know this, too, but how many of us remain in the past, glorifying or romanticizing “the good old days”? 
Staying stuck in the past robs us of the present. It smacks of a fear to move forward.
Sure, there were some good times, maybe some better times, and some bad times, but as HWL says, “It comes not back again.” In other words, let the past go because there are bigger and better things coming our way, but they can’t and won’t come to us when we continue holding on to the past. If we are too busy allowing the past to define who we are, how can we ever build a future?
To “look mournfully into the past” is a sad and lowly vibration that does nothing to elevate us; instead, it drags us down by the neck, chaining us to our illusions, where we will forever be haunted. Can we learn from our past? Absolutely. But once we learn the lessons, we must move on so that we can “wisely improve the present.”
Note that HWL doesn’t say to simply improve the present, but to “wisely improve the present.” Big difference. To improve “wisely” means that we must take action, but not just any action. We are to be selective in our choices. We are to be educated in our choices. We are to make choices that will serve the highest good, not just for us, but for all. 
This may take some hard work as well as some heart work to bring about positive change. There is no time like the present because “it is thine;” the present is all we have, so let’s use it wisely in order to “go forth” to our future, no matter how uncertain it appears.
Courtesy Google Images
Even though the future is “shadowy,” HWL tells us to meet it “without fear.” We can’t predict the future, and this scares many people because the future is the one thing over which we have no control. We can either fear it or embrace it. 
Our preparation in the NOW is what will help or hurt our future. This goes back to wisely improving our present. Our choices in the here and now will pave the way for what is to come. If we prepare in fear, we live in fear. If we prepare in faith, we live in faith. When we accept that the future is unpredictable, we can move forward without any fear because we will have prepared ourselves wisely through our personal and spiritual practices. 
As we live in the present, in the here and now, the future will take care of itself. 
Blessings.

Downgrade Fear By Upgrading Your Thinking

I knew an agoraphobic who lived her life as a recluse. Everything worried her. She lived in a continual state of fear. She kept her shades drawn, never letting in any light. Her home was very dark, the air stale, the energy heavy.

Cancer finally cured her.

She said it was the best thing that ever happened to her because it forced her out of her comfort zone to get the help and treatment she needed, and as a result, she began living her life again once she was cancer-free.

We don’t need something drastic like cancer to happen to us to move us past our fear.

We can move past fear by taking responsibility for it.

Much of our fear comes from downgraded thinking. Rather than focus on our possibilities, we play out the worst-case scenarios in our minds, and as we play them over and over, we get addicted to this kind of thinking. Sooner or later, we end up tumbling down the staircase into a dark pit of despair.

We hit bottom.

Ouch. And then we are faced with a serious choice.

Do we stay there? Or, do we find a way out?

Finding our way out requires us to upgrade our thinking.

Our brains are designed to seek solutions.

When I was a kid, we didn’t have video games. We had to make up our own games. One fun (and scary) game was flashlight tag…in the graveyard.

Well, I was “it” and had to search for someone to tag. As I was creeping around, I didn’t see a newly dug grave and in I went. I screamed for help, but no one came. They were too busy running away from me!

The grave was just deep enough where I couldn’t climb out.  I. Was. Petrified.

It was dark. It was cold. My heart knocked at my ribs. I kept imagining zombies coming to kill me. My mind became a circus of fear. I screamed again, and then I got angry. So I started kicking the wall of dirt in front of me. Each time I kicked I left an indentation.

And then it hit me. If I made a few more indents in the wall, I could climb out! I went to work with my flashlight, using it to carve out spaces for my feet so I could step up and get the leverage I needed to lift myself out. My fear left me. I was out in no time. Bruised and battered, but out.

When the solution came to me, my thinking immediately shifted from one of panic to one of freedom. An opportunity presented itself, and I took action.

Otherwise, the zombies would have gotten me.

Moving past fear means moving through it. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where there seems to be no solution whatsoever. That’s because we are focused on the fear of no solution. As soon as we upgrade our thinking from an outdated version, by telling ourselves that there is a solution, that fear downgrades and we find ourselves pushing through with a renewed vitality.

The first step is the biggest step, and that is the step we take within when we change our thinking from one of defeat to one of victory.

You take the first step. Source takes the second step. By the time you get to the third step, you realize that it was Source that took the first step. Source was with you the whole time.

And all those zombies that you invented can now rest in peace.

Spiritwork:

Masterminds Emerson and Twain both said, “Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.” When you confront the T-Rex of fear, it turns into a tiny gekko. If you run from it, it will continue to chase you and consume you.

Think of something you’ve always feared doing. Maybe it’s an activity like ballroom dancing or parasailing, or it’s something that directly addresses a phobia.

Divide a piece of paper into two columns. On the left hand side, list that fear.  Carefully express and define exactly what it is you are afraid of. On the right hand side, write the steps that need to be taken in order to overcome this fear that you created. These steps may be personal or practical. As you write your solutions, your brain will store them, mull them over, and eventually generate some creative and useful responses.

Looking at your list of steps to take, choose one to work on and begin today. Start with the easiest one. When you accomplish it, celebrate yourself, and then move on to the next step.

Blessings.

Related Posts:

Read the introduction to 31 Days of Spiritual Growth here, and find links to all posts in this series.

Fear’s Worst Enemy

Yesterday I shared an experience that illustrated how fear can get the best of us (see “Things That Go Grunt In The Night”). While it turned out to be a funny (and wet!) situation, the fear seemed very real as my imagination ran wild.

Fear, or as my friend and Life Coach Kathy Hadley reminds people, is nothing more than False Evidence Appearing Real. And she’s right. Fear is nothing more than an illusion.

And it can be one of the biggest challenges we experience.

How many times have you been afraid to try something new?  Or afraid to change something, even though your current methods weren’t working?

If you are like most, when fear strikes, you may experience physical symptoms, such as rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, paralysis or immobilization, elevated blood pressure, increased perspiration, tense and energized muscles, hives or skin rashes, just to name a few. This stresses the body, so to combat it, the body releases stress hormones, like cortisol, into your bloodstream. If the body is stressed over a period of time, severe conditions may occur, if not treated.

So, why do we let it get the best of us?

Fear is often based in a lack of knowledge or understanding. Not knowing the outcome of a situation leaves us to our imaginations. When we don’t know or understand something, we assume. Many times those assumptions trick us into thinking the worst. The survival part of us wants to know exactly what is going to happen; it wants guarantees and safety. This lack of knowledge fans the flames of our fears, and suddenly we have a fiery monster breathing in our direction.

But fear has an enemy. The kryptonite of knowledge.

Rather than react to your fear, you can take a proactive approach by arming yourself with knowledge. Just becoming informed about that which scares you can shift everything. The “unknown” now becomes the known.

True, some fears may be deeper rooted and much more complex than anticipated; these may take more time to address and may require the help of a life coach/professional.  But oftentimes, our fears will vanish simply by learning more about the things we are avoiding.

Knowledge is our ally against fear. The next time you find yourself feeling great resistance toward something, take a deep breath, get out the kryptonite and inform yourself, and then poof! That monster of fear dissipates into a puff of smoke, and you become your own superhero.

In what ways do you use your superpowers to conquer fear? Please share below.

Things That Go Grunt In The Night

Sometimes we let our fears get the best of us. Our imaginations get carried away, and we find ourselves blowing things out of proportion.

We had been slogging up a steep, winding trail in the Himalayas, en route to Mt. Everest.

Adjusting to high altitude took its toll on all of us. Headaches. Nausea. Hallucinations. I swear I saw a pink elephant laughing at me. At nearly 18,000 feet, where there’s less oxygen, the mind begins to play tricks.

I popped another diamox (medication used to accelerate acclimatization to high altitude) to get me through.

We made camp, convened in the dining tent for a dinner of yak cheese, kala chia (black tea), pasta with veggies, and some kind of mystery meat. Lhakpa, our sherpa, told stories about the Yeti. He said he came face-to-face with one, and described it as a human ape about eight feet tall. Yeah sure. “The only yeti I’ve seen was the one in my mirror this morning,” someone joked.

After dinner and storytelling, we each retired to our own tents to rest up for tomorrow’s acclimatization hike. A sleet storm had moved in; I could hear it dancing off of my tent. I fell asleep to the sound, sleeping quite comfortably despite the bitter cold temperature.

And then the urge to pee awakened me.  Darn it. I drank too much tea at dinner.

I looked at my watch. 3:37 a.m.  Not now, I whined.

I really did not want to go out into the freezing air.

I fumbled around for my headlamp and Charmin and unzipped my tent to face the night.  The toilet tent that our sherpa’s assistant pitched was two tenths of a mile outside of camp. I took a deep breath and made my way down the path, my body shivering, just to squat over a hole, and as I did, the cold air rushed to violate me in the process. Jesus! I miss the feel of porcelain!

Suddenly there came a grunt.

I stopped midstream.

Then another grunt. And another. What the hell?

My heartbeat quickened. Adrenaline raced through my veins. What should I do?

Images of Lhakpa’s Yeti filled my mind.  I. Was. Scared.

The grunting moved closer. And closer.

I could hear it breathing just outside the privy. Holy crap!

Finally, I decided to make a run for it. I pulled up my pants, armed myself with my roll of Charmin, and bolted, only to run straight into the source of grunting. It knocked me flat on my butt.

When I came to, I saw it.

A yak.

Thank God! I sighed, as warmth trickled down my leg.

I didn’t know whether to kiss that yak, or kick it, but I never felt so relieved (in more ways than one!).

The Need To Control

Ah, the need to control…

A person who feels the need to control often feels s/he must micromanage the actions and behaviors of others. This kind of person must have control of situations at all times because s/he believes that no one can do things better. “I don’t want to look bad” is a common retort when such a person operates.

It runs much deeper than just “looking bad” in front of others. The need to control is a reaction to fear. “Looking bad” translates to a fear of failing. Other fears that contribute to control issues include losing one’s self-esteem, losing a loved one, being blamed, suffering emotional break-ups and other painful feelings caused by traumatic experiences. Such fears cause a person to crave control in an unhealthy manner.

Control issues can lead to a host of health problems. Physically, worry and anxiety deteriorate the body’s ability to function properly. Continued worry/anxiety can lead to stress and depression.  Since people with control issues are riddled with fears and insecurities, they demand perfection and are never satisfied. Worrying seems to be a constant state of mind. It snowballs from there because they fear being at the mercy of others.

So…how do you deal with someone who has control issues?

First, understand that the person with the issue is terrified of failure. This is a disorder that stems from childhood and it can cause misery in the workplace and at home. This person is unhappy and insecure and does not understand that his or her words and actions affect others. This understanding will help you to cope.

Second, remain calm in your dealings with the person with control issues. Getting angry will not work. In fact, it may inflame the situation, especially if the person is prone to violence. If this is the case, you may need to protect yourself by leaving the relationship. Sometimes it seems there is no pleasing a person with control issues. This person will criticize everything you do, trying to make you feel inadequate and insecure. Taking it personally allows the person to control you. Avoid this. The worst thing you can do is to fight that person. It’s a waste of time and energy because the person is not going to change without help. Realize it is their deep-seated problem, not yours. When you remember this, you gain back your control.

Third, become aware of the person’s moods. This kind of person has no coping skills when stressed. This is when s/he will lash out.  The controlling individual feels no one can do a better job than him/her and takes on too much too fast; s/he gets bogged down and then strikes. Rather than finding ways to cope, this person unleashes his or her wrath on unsuspecting people. Be alert. And be ready.

Fourth, remain in control of you. Be kind to yourself. If you are under the thumb of a controlling individual, s/he may try to convince you that you are worthless and try to stop you from realizing your goals and living your dreams to prevent you from moving on in your life. Ugly things will be said. Again, don’t buy into these ideas. Everything is said and done out of fear rather than love. Remaining consistently calm within yourself will help you to weather the storm.

Fifth, realize you may need to make changes. If you work for someone with control issues, you may consider looking for a new job. If you are in a controlling relationship, you may need to say goodbye if that person doesn’t agree to go for help. If a family member is controlling, you may need to interact with that person on a less frequent basis.

It is not easy to deal with an individual suffering from such a personality disorder. The important thing is to recognize the underlying factors of his or her behavior. Having this understanding helps you to avoid falling into the trap of abuse often imposed by such individuals. You may need to make some changes in order to protect yourself, but at least you will know that their suffering is self-inflicted and not because of you. Choose to forgive such individuals because they truly do not know what they do.