I woke up this morning thinking about fear. Just before waking up, I was having a dream. I don’t remember the details… all I remember is the feeling of fear in the pit of my stomach. I was momentarily confused, thinking “what is this familiar feeling?” I said to whomever was in my dream, “Oh yeah… this is fear. I know what to do. We stand up and face it. We look it straight in the eye and move forward… then it goes away. We’ve got this… we can get through this… follow me.”
That’s a weird way to wake up – LOL. I have no idea what fear I was facing in the dream. I rarely have “fear” anymore. Many people live their whole lives controlled by one fear or another… or many. I know you can make choices from two places – love or fear. You might think there are more choices… but there aren’t. If you boil it down, get past all the stuff you tell yourself about a thing or situation, the base of the choice is either love or fear.
If you aren’t making choices consciously, most of the time you will find they are made from some level of fear. When I was a child, most of my daily choices were made from fear. I had to keep myself safe from harm as much as possible. When I took care of my animals or interacted with them, my choices were made from love. Animals feel fear in people… I realized that very early. Probably that is an instinct built into animals, because another animal acting out of fear, could hurt or kill them.
My first full sized horse was a gift when I was 8, from someone my parents knew. This horse, (her name was Red) had been abused by the owner. He was a mean man… he hit his wife, hit his children, and hit his horse. I’m not sure why he had a moment of kindness and compassion and gave her to me… maybe he saw the relationship I had with all the animals on the farm and knew how much I wanted a horse… or maybe there was some other motive I am still unaware of. Being sensitive to energy, I treated this horse differently than she had ever known. I spent weeks, months, caring for her… building our relationship and actually, as I recall I had a broken arm – I wasn’t allowed to ride until the cast came off… so we had an opportunity to build trust with each other. At one point during this time, her previous owner brought me a saddle (I always rode bareback – saddles were expensive). He went to show me how to put it on her – although I knew how to saddle a horse – because he indicated she was “stubborn” and would bloat out her belly when you go to cinch it. She reacted to him with fear, I saw it clearly. When he went to tighten the cinch, he punched her in the belly – she reacted to him by rearing up – she wanted to smash him with her hooves. I thanked him for the saddle and assured him I would fine getting it cinched in the future, all the while in my head I was swearing he would never get close enough to her again to ever punch her and I would never make her have a saddle again. That horse and I formed a bond. I kept her safe and she kept me safe. She could hear, see or sense a rattlesnake before I could and if we were out walking in the woods together would sometimes block me and then I would see why. That horse was my best friend. We spent whole days together and a few times I slept in the barn during thunderstorms because they scared her.
I digress… As adults, we should be more conscious of the basis of decisions. I know there were times as an adult (many times) I still made choices out of fear… fear of not being “liked”, fear of being “abandoned”, fear of being seen as imperfect, fear of failing at something, fear of consequences… so many fears… Once I had children, all the fears were multiplied because now I feared for them as well. I had read enough books about child development and parenting that I knew I did not want them to feel fearful – I wanted them to feel empowered – so I had to somehow model that for them. To model that for them, I had to look clearly at my choices every day and be conscious. It was my job to keep them safe, think steps ahead, intuit danger and give them tools to make empowered choices. That’s a lot of fucking work by the way…
Anyway, back to fear. People also use your fear to control you. Early in life I faced fear with anger. As I got older, I realized you could face it with logic sometimes and talk yourself out of being fearful. Now I know you can also face it with love. The “anger defense” kicked in when I was a teenager… an attitude of “Fuck you – you can’t scare me – I will stare you down and outlast you” defiance – even if it kills me because I have nothing left to lose. I admit, I still face it with anger once in a blue moon… the anger is always at myself though for feeling weak. I have to just say “Fuck fear – fuck it right in the face… I’m going to do it anyway”. People who know me have heard me say it… “I refuse to walk in fear”.
When I was a newlywed and pregnant with my first child, my husband hit me one day. We were arguing about something… I don’t remember what it was… he got mad and slapped me hard. I was 5’3” (still am – LOL) and he was 6’3”. I picked myself up, looked him square in the face, and told him if he ever did anything like that ever again I would be gone before he knew what happened and he would never see me again – this is not what I signed up for. He never hit me again – although I knew there were times he wanted to… he would make a fist and pull back like he was going to hit me and stop himself because I refused to be scared – I just defiantly stared at him…do it and I’m gone… your choice. (He found other ways to control, bully and intimidate. )
After you have children, you really have to switch into “logic mode”. Most fears are kind of irrational and have to do with things from your past. I still go into “logic mode” sometimes if I feel fear creeping into some aspect of my life. Does it really matter if this person “likes” me or sees me as a “good person”? – no, it doesn’t. Whatever someone else’s opinion of me is has no bearing on who I really am. Besides they are viewing me and my actions from their own unique paradigm anyway and that is beyond my control. That is how I taught my kids to process fear… logically whenever possible.
The one fear I still contend with is escalators. (Don’t laugh at me – that’s not nice) Everyone in my life knows about this fear… I can’t seem to completely release it, but I do face it. Sometimes, I will just find an elevator – especially at an airport with lots of people and luggage. Other times I will stand in front of the escalator, take a few deep breaths… and step on (usually after several attempts – my foot just pulls itself back before fully committing). I ride holding on securely… then get off like a normal(ish) person.
I first became conscious of facing fear with love at a bank repo. I later realized I had used it before with animals, but it hadn’t been a conscious choice. I had been assigned a property by a bank and the first thing I had to do was go there and determine occupancy, and if vacant photo and change the locks. I took my husband and nephew with me because we worked as a team. I had a side business doing rubbish removal and yard work and my guys needed to see what the property would need. We got to this property and it appeared to be vacant. No answer at the door and from the windows I was able to peer into, most of the furnishings were gone. I broke in and took a look around. I took photos of all the rooms, made note of items needing attention, and progressed through the back door to assess the yard and the multiple sheds… husband and nephew trailing behind talking about sports or something stupid guys fill the air with instead of silence (sorry – no offense intended). All of a sudden, a huge, close to 7-foot-tall, tattooed, native American man came charging at us with an axe… on the attack. I put my hands out in front of me and said, “I am not here to hurt you” and I sent this man love energy (I didn’t stop and think “send him love”, it just happened because I knew he was coming from a place of fear and self-preservation – he needed love and reassurance). He stopped. He put down the axe and we talked… meanwhile it dawned on me both my husband and nephew – both of whom were bigger and stronger than me – had run away… leaving me to deal with the danger all on my own (Made mental note of that – both of them should have wanted to protect me and they didn’t). This man had recently gotten out of prison and had rented a shed from a man he met at a restaurant – complete with a little lease written on a napkin he pulled from his pocket. The man didn’t bother to tell him his house had been foreclosed on. He showed me how he had set up the shed with a bed, a light with an extension cord to the house, a wash basin…made a “closet” by stringing some wire across a corner and had a few shirts hanging from the wire. I explained what my job was and how I had to secure the property and he couldn’t stay. I treated him with kindness and compassion. Together we strategized what his next steps could be and how I could still do my job. I ended up giving him a ride to work while my husband and nephew changed the locks on the house and sheds. Later when we were all back in the car headed back to the office, I told my husband and nephew I couldn’t believe they were willing to let me get chopped up. They indicated I was just lucky, and that situation was crazy. It wasn’t luck – just like dealing with a scared horse, love can interrupt the fear and bring calm. It even works on your own fear… you can send yourself love and calm it down. When I left my husband years later, I had to face the fear of it with love for myself.
One of the biggest fears we all have I think, is fear of the unknown. To face that one, you have to trust. Trust in yourself – that you are capable – and trust the universe – it will always take care of you. What if you make the wrong decision? Not the end of the world… make another one. What if what I tried to do doesn’t work out? Again, not the end of the world… choose something else. Every day we make a million little choices. Sometimes all those “little” choices end up putting us somewhere we didn’t intend to be or want to be… that’s okay. Make a different choice. Learn and move on. There is nothing to be afraid of… make your choices from love for yourself and the people you care about.