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Sitting With Fear

Posted by on May 7, 2012

Contemplating Fear

I Sit Under This Tree With its Big Branches . . .

like a canopy to shelter me, not from inclement weather, because it is beautiful outside. It’s the perfect time of day, and the lake in front of me glistens with secrets only I can hear. It calls to me, to look out, further, when I open my eyes from a few moments of contemplation. I’ve been sitting with my fear. It is much quieter ‘out there’ than in my own head lately. I’ve concocted so many scenarios of what might happen or what I am afraid will happen, that I haven’t left much room for the glorious anticipation of what could happen, or what, more importantly is happening right now.

Removing the ego is torture sometimes. It’s like having your teeth pulled without any nitrous oxide, or having to listen to a really bad opera singer wail high Cs that are just slightly off key for hours while sitting on a pointy stick. It just plain sucks. The ego is so persistent, and even though you realize, in brief moments, that it isn’t the ego that is in charge here – at least, not unless you let it be, you give it the floor – like that awful soprano. Won’t someone just throw her off the stage? Can someone please remove this stick and give me a comfortable chaise lounge instead, preferably overlooking a verdant mountain range and the infinitely azure sea in some cozy mansion off a serene coast, instead?

What is So Glorious About Sitting With Fear?

It shows you exactly what is being radically eliminated from your life. It shows you how hard and strong you are holding on to a sinking ship, a melting iceberg, a humorless one-liner. Fear, seen through clear eyes, is cold, stark and naked, like a super model before airbrushing and makeup or a work of art stripped down to pixels and paint. All the magic is taken away so you can see ‘it’ (whatever you are fearing) for what it is – smoke and mirrors, distraction and slight-of-hand. The big, scary dragon looming over you has no fire in its belly, only a really good fog machine somewhere off stage right.

Looking Fear in the Face is Like Disarming Genghis Khan with a Wet Kiss or Stopping an Earthquake with a Butterfly’s Wing.

It helps you admit to yourself, that you don’t have the full picture. You can only see portions of the great masterpiece still being drawn with an unseen hand. Looking fear in the eye is like saying, “I have no idea what comes next, but I trust that all this seeming chaos is for some greater purpose.” Not the religious, faith-inspired trust that has you on your knees to a bearded man in the sky, calling out to Jesus or Allah, or Buddha, but to the mystery of all that is. It is a bowing down to the smallness of your current view, and giving permission to the same power that can make an infinite number of snowflakes different from the next, or somehow coordinate a fire-fly’s mating call to reach out to just one other blinking yellow light at dusk as if Morse code was the determinate speed-dating cipher for flying insects.  There is something bigger. Something wiser. Something Infinite, and it seems, somehow, benevolentLao Tzu wisely said, “Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.”

Loosen The Grip

After a deep sigh, and a loosening of my white-knuckle grip on this definition of reality, I can see that I know so very little. And that is just fine. I can just breathe in this moment. This is all I know. This breath, that ripple of water on the lake in front of me, the breeze in the trees and in my hair.

After tear stained pillows and frustrated screams in my car while driving, and desperate calls to friends who don’t know what comes next for me either, I can just sit still with this new friend, fear, and see that it is a heralding of the new. What great explorer didn’t feel nervous and scared stepping into new territory? What scientist or inventor didn’t fear that sharing their totally unprecedented ideas with the world would make them a laughing stock? What spiritual seeker didn’t face every flavor of anger, jealousy, hatred, frustration, love, lust, covetousness, and every other conceivable emotion to get through to her stillness? Fear is a powerful room-maker. It is a tool of the ego to keep us stuck, but with a different costume, fear is a motivator, a smoke-signal in the desert, the Goddess Kali making room for something better and new, the cycle of rot turning to food for flowers and the making of a new-fangled me. The next time I feel afraid, I will look fear in the eye, and say, “Hey, I know you.” I won’t be so afraid of fear. It will be a welcome sign that something glorious is about to begin.  

(c) 2012 Christina Sarich, creative common license Republish only with all links in tact and reference to author.
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