September 23, 2018
What is the path from fear to love?
It’s one thing to have suggestions of abandoning fear and open to love, theoretically, but when you have the feeling of fear in your bones how do you convince it to leave and make space for a gentler emotion? Fear is a powerful presence that has extraordinary debilitating capacity. How can it be dissolved, or better still converted, to a loving space that allows you the freedom to be fully present?
What if the process could simply be a long slow journey of replacing unhealthy mental formations one by one until the subject sparks only a distant memory of any discomfort? Imagine.
I have a fear of water. For me, being here in Stromboli- a volcanic island in the Mediterranean Sea far from anything- brought up lots of interesting inner dialogues, including "hello dear fear". I always wanted to be a better swimmer, but not being around water much after childhood, it was never prioritized. The longer I went without swimming the bigger the fear grew.
I woke up the first morning on the island with a burning desire to see and grasp fully fear leaving and love arriving. In my still dreamlike state, it played itself out as a step by step. Although I don’t remember the steps, seeing the clarity of that possibility inspired me deeply.
Then, I'm sitting on the beach watching my partner swim like a graceful dolphin. I am awe inspired by so much joy, love and connection with the sea every time.
I can swim comfortably with my head above water and as long as I can put my feet on the bottom, I’m ok. Once I’m in deeper waters my chest gets tight and I panic. Submerging my head, eeeek, forget it.
Courage for sure is a primary requirement to even start the inquiry. You need courage to let go of what you think, courage to change, the courage to learn. What is the root of a fear? How long has it been there? How many avenues of circumstance and relations support that fear? Of course courage is not the only requirement. You also need to anchor that courage in self love, self respect, self forgiveness and self acceptance.
With a fascination to dissolve this fear and taste what it’s like to enjoy all the ocean has to offer, I’ve been going in once or twice a day and experimenting with my head underwater, when to breathe and when not to breathe. It’s my goal while on an island to better my skills and security. I’ve accepted that regarding water to go from fear into love may take me longer than this trip and that’s ok.
I remember listening to a motivational speaker years ago who use to say, “You only have to until you want to, then you don’t have to anymore.” It took me a long time to get that.
You only have to..
Until you want to..
Then you don’t have to anymore.
Whatever triggers fear for you, I wish you the courage to thank it for its protective presence, tell it you’ll need it no longer and start the gentle inquiry along the path of fear to love.
To you from Stromboli with respect, a bow and smile,
There is still space in the amazing Ireland retreat for 2019.
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