Lately I’ve been looking at the face of fear quite a bit. Starting with its purpose to make us aware of any dangers that can be experienced from nanoseconds to infinity. Awareness that often creates caution, and only too often the caution turns into full blown phobias. Before you know it, you’re wearing a cloak of fear so subtle that it’s easy not to notice that it has enveloped your being and curbed your joy. It becomes hard to see where it begins and ends, but there is no mistaking that it shortens our breath.
I went for a walk along the western shore in Nova Scotia. I was looking for an entrance to a trail I had seen and walked along the old highway for a km or so. It was a little nerve wrecking as there was little walking space on the side of the road and the fast cars didn’t seem too bothered to move around me. The tall grass on the side of road made me think it would be tick heaven. After walking for quite awhile with trepidation, I turned around and went to get my car to drive to where I knew there was an entrance. Once I arrived there and started walking, it wasn’t long before I was chased out by mosquitoes.
The whole experience made me realize three things that trigger fear in me. Mosquitoes, ticks and rednecks and I was feeling the presence of all of them. Well, mosquitoes are just annoying, unless you are in India with dengue fever and malaria. Nova Scotia has a lot of ticks and more cases than ever of Lyme disease. As for red necks, I have no idea what the root of this fear is, but it was in my body. Perhaps from a previous life. When I was a teenager walking along a country road, if I heard a loud motorcycle, I would sense danger and jump in the ditch, fearing for my life. Obviously I didn’t have a tick phobia then. Lol
The irritating outcome of the afternoon was clearly my perception and inspired me to lean in and sit with it awhile. Why would we give our power and joy away to fear so easily? Fear might be designed to keep us safe, but at what cost when it smears a film over fully experiencing anything. While walking I was unaware of the magnificent paths and trees, the sound of birds and the smell of the forest floor. Instead I had a sharpened awareness for sounds of trail bikes, mosquitos buzzing in my ears and care for where I walked.
That afternoon inspired me to dissect my fears as they arose and realize they are always an invitation to open doors rather than ensure the doors are locked. Whatever they are.. fear of failure, fear of water, heights, darkness, bacteria, crowds, being alone or intimate relationships. There are so many opportunities to be triggered into a subtle cloak of fear that we don’t even notice. What if we read them as an invite to break them down until we understood them and their threat dissolved?
All week after this one afternoon, whenever I wasn’t residing with awe and gratitude in my near pocket, I would question what surfaced and peel it like a banana with love and curiosity. Yes, I probably worked hard to create whatever arises, so I’ll be ready to listen with an empathetic ear.
I meditated all week on how we can build a support system for our beautiful lives that can counter our fears and deepen our experiences. Affirmations, affirmations, affirmations kept coming up. When we create a tapestry of a more whole picture, we can shrink the strength of our fear with the feat of love and gratitude. In my own affirmations, the first word was ‘blessed’. The second was ‘thank you’.
When I broaden the lens on my life, from this moment to the collection of moments from birth to now, I am left in awe, against many odds, what a journey, what a struggle, what a gift. I am feeling immensely blessed, under any guise. To which nothing can follow more accurately than gratitude. Thank you. Thank you.
My friend sent me a quote tonight that fit my sentiment well. "It's the uncertainty, insecurity and unknown that provides the beauty, wonder and preciousness of life."
After the practice of breathing affirmations, I would sit with various fears that had shadowed previous days and they now seem a little silly. Although I will not disregard them, as they too show up as an opportunity to practice awakening. Question everything, but in your heart and gut. Liberation is possible, maybe even eminent when we are willing to do the work, one moment at a time. What affirmation would your heart suggest for you at this time?
A little reflective thought with much love and support to our interconnected journeys,