Thoughts on Fear

Fear can be paralyzing – fear can also be a catalyst. If we are not willing to surrender what we are – in each moment, we will never allow ourselves to open to what we are capable of becoming. Fear is not something to be ashamed of, rather, it is something to embrace fully, recognize for what it is and use that energy to become fearless. This doesn’t mean being brave – quite the opposite in fact. Being brave is just dressing ourselves in armor to protect us from fear. Rather, the state of fearlessness encourages us to embrace love. Love in all forms. Because the opposite of love is not hate – it is fear.

A few years ago, my world changed in an instant. I was one of many laid off at my company without any warning and suddenly was without a job, and without a financial safety net. I was afraid of what might happen to me, how quickly I could find a new job, how well I could manage this earthquake that had separated me from the world I knew. I had suddenly found myself in a pit of fear and it stirred up so many questions inside of me. 

What makes us worthy of being, of taking up space on this glorious planet?

When we are stripped away of the thing we spend the majority of our time and energy on each day, perhaps even work that gives our lives meaning, we are challenged to face our raw selves in the mirror.

Who are we, really? What habits and activities do we engage in to challenge our minds, bodies and souls? How do we justify our taking up space? Do we curl up in fear and deception of reality or do we charge full speed ahead in spite of fear with courage and determination? It’s a grand reminder that we are not our work, whether we love it or whether it is just a means to an end… we are so much more; we are dynamic beings full of creative energy. It is a lesson in fear – to recognize that inside ourselves lives either a hurricane or an oasis. We have the choice to use our energy to access one over the other. What do we decide to give our power to? To fear? Or to courage? Can we meet ourselves where we are without judgement, no matter how messy and painful it may be?

It is easy to be brave and hide behind strong and beautiful armor, but it will keep us from growing, it will keep us from flying and surrendering to what might lie beyond the horizon.

Osho says it best in his book Courage: The Joy of Living Dangerously, “The way of the heart is the way of courage. It is to live in insecurity; it is to live in love, and trust; it is to move in the unknown. It is leaving the past and allowing the future to be. Courage is to move on dangerous paths. Life is dangerous, and only cowards can avoid the danger – but then, they are already dead. A person who is alive, really alive, vitally alive, will always move into the unknown. There is danger there, but he will take the risk. The heart is always ready to take the risk, the heart is a gambler. The head is a businessman. The head always calculates – it is cunning. The heart is non-calculating.”

So no matter what happens to you, or has happened to you, allow yourself to embrace each changing moment with an open heart and with courage. Know that each experience is allowing you to become what you are capable of. And each time you can move into the unknown with courage you are giving yourself the greatest gift – the gift of love.