Friday, February 26, 2016

Replacing Fear*

I love yoga. Not only for the sweating, quiet determination, sore muscles and peace I gain from it, but because it is where I hear that strong, inner voice most clearly. Without fail, as soon as I let my guard down and begin my physical practice, words come to my head. Simple words that don't necessarily strike me as being important at the time, but they resonate for days afterward. Last week's epiphany was no exception. It didn't knock me over with a shout inside my head or jolt me into instant clarity. It fell like a raindrop in a deep pool. It was quiet, melted into my brain without a trace, and rippled. And rippled. And rippled.

What would this look like if it didn't come from a place of fear?

Throughout the week I continued to examine that thought. Throughout the week I found myself amazed at how often my reactions originate in fear and how fear is responsible for outlining the space in which I act. When I recognize the source for what it is and consciously move from fear to acceptance or love, everything changes. I can feel a shift in my body as I relax into groundedness and space. My mind becomes open and possibilities expand forward. The walls around begin to dissolve.

When I operate from a place of fear, my options are restricted and I begin to make connections that aren't necessarily related. If this happens, next comes this and then it swells into that and...Oh, No! Spiraling anxiety as the fear feeds on the tightly coiled energy inside my body and brain and I'm locked inside with it.

When my responses originate from love or acceptance or groundedness there are no boundaries. In fact, once I make that subtle course change, I no longer feel the need to drive any agenda. Whereas with fear, I'm compelled to either stick to the course my anxiety has laid out or fight to alter it in some way, when I let go of fear, I am more likely to sit back and see where things go next. I don't need to act within any particular moment to make something happen or prevent it from happening. I am able to temper my responses and, very often, the next step reveals itself or negates any action on my part at all.

In the last several days I have been able to watch myself and come to realize just how often angry or frustrated or anxious feelings arise from my fears. When Eve and Lola begin bickering, it is my fear that leads me to snap at them to "knock it off!" When I send out yet another email to a prospective agent or publisher, it is fear that drives me to downplay my own writing abilities or the importance of this book project to me. When I get annoyed at being interrupted while I'm mentally planning my day, it is because I am afraid that I'll lose the thread of thought and somehow "fail" to do all of the things I've convinced myself I ought to do in order to be the best mother/writer/wife/friend.


When I sit back and ask myself the question, "What would this look like if it weren't coming from a place of fear?" I am astonished at the possibilities. What if I trust my own abilities as a mother/writer/wife/friend and simply act out of love and the understanding that I have enough. I am good enough. There is an abundance of love/compassion/intelligence/patience/money/whatever I need. When I source my feelings and thoughts and actions from that well, life looks pretty damned amazing.

*This essay is one of several that originally appeared in BuddhaChick Life Magazine. As the magazine is no longer available, I have reposted it here so that readers can find it. 

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