“Every man, through fear, mugs his aspirations a dozen times a day.” –Brendan Francis
She told me her pledge for 2015 is to be fearless.
“I envisioned what my life would look like if I were fearless,” she said, “and was astonished to see how I’m holding myself back.”
“If you state your goal with a positive spin,” I offered, “and strive to be courageous and brave, your mind won’t take you to the negative: fear.”
Swept up by her enthusiasm and the power of the notion, I thought, I’ll act courageously in 2015!
As soon as the thought occurred my abdomen tightened and the clutch in my heart locked up. To me courageous means opening a vein to write with unadulterated honesty. Scares the hell out of me—so much so I often can’t write.
Common wisdom says face your fear. Challenge it. Jump off the cliff with a hang glider attached to your back. Crawl into a small, dark space without light. Query the editor of a magazine you want your piece published in.
Another approach is to relax into the fear or take it in small doses until you build up your tolerance and courage. Like, you don’t have to jump in, just put your toes in the pool.
I enjoy a challenge, am not intimated to try new things, and have usually found a storehouse of confidence backed by an iron will. All of which proved that persistence is a powerful mover into action and fear-shaker.
I’ve flung myself into business start ups without guarantee of income flowing for many months. I stared horror in the face, calm and collected, when I picked up my screaming two-year-old brother the moment a German Sheppard bit off his nose. I spoke out and published writings about oppression of the women in an international religious organization (read: lots of “big” people around the world were against me) and, even after receiving a death threat and public name-bashings, continued strong.
My persnickety problem: A fear of being abandoned lingers to this day. The fear that I’m not good enough haunts me.
I’m good at giving myself pep talks, and write and say affirmations that grow powerful by being grounded in spiritual truths I hold dear. In fact, I’m quite convincing when speaking to others about what constitutes a healthy view of the self.
Yet at times a core unworthiness surfaces and won’t depart even after I pull out my full repertoire. My love-mantra soothes most fears, even the big fear of death, because I have regular experience of a welcoming location and company beyond this world. But even my sincerest mantra petitioning has not always appeased these fears about my worth and failure.
At that time, I drop my beads and helplessly yell in my mother tongue with a crackling voice, O Lord please take my fears!
Helplessly dependent is actually a good place to be. When I go there wholly much of what is amiss gets sorted out.
Still the fear of failure (which, evidently, my subconscious loosely defines variously by some vague conception that changes at different times, and which I only become aware of after I’m paralyzed) and the fear of being unworthy can shove competent, confident me to the ground in a pile real quick.
Fear is not an easy foe to do battle with.
This morning I didn’t bother trying: my work with it the past week wasn’t shifting things. For a half an hour, as I laid in bed after a restless night, I began thanking Radha for everything in my life: the cotton sheets, the quiet house, the line of oak trees, healthy food, air, the computer, my ability to think, ten working fingers, and a long list of physical and spiritual experiences and relationships. Getting up from bed I thanked God for warm water in the shower, my magnesium roll-on supplement, socks, no pain in my body. . .
Surprisingly, after forty-five minutes it became evident my thank-you mantras had no end.
Then I noticed the fear was gone.