Fear or Love?
What is the number one thing that keeps us from doing what we want in life and reaching our truest potential? Fear. What is the opposite of love, that unconditional love that is our true nature? Fear. We harbor fears of almost everything imaginable. Fear of failure. Fear of heights. Fear of intimacy. Fear of public speaking. Where did we pick up all these fears and why do we remain a prisoner to them?
At its core, fear is a legitimate human response to physical and emotional danger that protects us from threats. We all feel fear. It is when fear perpetuates as a derivative of past experiences and is no longer protecting us from harm, rather preventing us from living life to our truest potential, that we must have the courage to recognize them for what they are and let them go. When internal fears like fear of rejection or disappointment keep us so rooted in our little corners, afraid to venture out lest we fail, then we must faithfully reclaim our power. And the only way to do that is to face your fears head on.
Try this amazing quote by Marianne Williamson on for size, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Wow!
We are strong and we are powerful. We can choose to let go of the fear that tethers us to a life not fully lived. We can choose love. We can choose to believe in ourselves and our abilities. We can choose to have faith in God and the universe that everything, fail or succeed, happens as it should.
Every time you feel that old nagging voice ‘don’t do it, what if,’ push it away and have faith. Let go and let god. Everything is going to be just fine. Even if it is not, believe that you will be able to deal with whatever the consequences. That’s not permission to do stupid things. But if life presents you with an opportunity, go for it, even if you are afraid. By the time you have one or two tries under your belt, pride and confidence will replace any fear. It is a choice. The lyrics in the song by Leeann Womack resonate so well, she sings, if you get the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance. Why not? What is the worst that can happen?
There is a song my dad used to play for me when I was very young. I was fascinated by the hauntingly beautiful sound of whales in the background of the song by Judy Collins called Farewell to Tarwathie. When I had the opportunity to take a solo journey to Maui, I jumped at it knowing that it was whale season. Seeing whales was definitely on my bucket list. One day, I found myself on a beautiful beach called Black Rock Beach named for (you guessed it) a very large black rock. This massive volcanic rock ledge sits above and below the water and at the very tip, the water is about 25’ deep. I sat on the beach watching the people snorkeling around the rock. I was conflicted, fighting an inner battle with myself. I love the beach and I love to snorkel. But, when I was a preteen, I was in a very bad storm on a sailboat and the memories of other boats capsizing and my brother falling overboard left me terrified to be in deep water by myself. My choices were, stay safe in the parameters I had set for myself long ago by staying in the shallow water or go for it, knowing this opportunity might never come again. I really, really wanted to snorkel out deep, but I was afraid. Somehow, I did muster the courage to venture out beyond my fears and what happened next was so magical it changed my life in a big way! Close to the rock, there was a loud chirping that sounded liked crickets. As I swam around the bend and distanced myself from the rock, the sound of humpbacks singing in the distance literally moved me to tears (yes, it is possible to cry under water). It was amazing – not something you get to hear every day and something I would have missed out on completely if I would have stayed within the confines of my trepidations. I made a promise to myself that day: that I would never, ever let fear stop me from doing anything that I wanted to in life.
Even though we have might have endless reasons why not to stored in our psyches, it is key to remember, we are not our thoughts, our emotions, our fears or our experiences. We are no more any of these things than the world we experience with our five senses. We are the consciousness inside that is observing these things. We are a soul having a human experience. When we become the quiet observers of our lives, we learn to recognize when things are not OK. In my example, I recognized that my fear had probably stopped me many times from doing what I wanted. I was programmed and conditioned by it and not in a good way. I recognized that my fear no longer served me and was able to rise above it. This one small act of courage on my part not only allowed me to have a magical experience I will always treasure but it was a catharsis for allowing me to realize just how powerful I am and emboldened me to face each new challenge in my life head on – with courage and with love.
What fears do you harbor that stop you from living life completely? Are there fears you have overcome? I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments. Who knows maybe your story will inspire someone else.