Who asks you to face your fears? Fear is something you run away from right? What are your fears? You may not like like heights, so you avoid heights at all costs. You may not like spiders, so you run and scream each time you come across one. We rarely say I’m fearful of heights but today I am going stand on a bridge and face the fear head on, instead we continue to avoid it, putting the fear first and the the thoughts of overcoming this fear to the back of our mind.
What happens when we have no choice to face the fear the head on? What does the body do? Well it will usually go into a state of panic, shock, sweaty palms, heart races, your tense, it is not a nice place to be.
Ok so here’s my random theme park story but it will all make sense;
I once was at a theme park, I wanted to go on a ride but as I stood in the queue fear cropped up out of nowhere. By the time I reached the ride I had become so tense I could hardly speak, in fact I actually felt like I was going to cry. I was seated and belted in, I honestly ‘thought’ and felt as though I was going to pass out. I shouted ‘get me off’ they had to stop the ride and, well, get me off, feeling fearful, scared, stupid, pathetic, embarrassed and a little confused to why I felt so worked up, I walk off the ride to wait for my fiancé to get off as he stayed on. The fear escalated so rapidly I had no time to think about why I actually felt scared. It all started with one sneaky little negative thought, a memory from Years ago that creeped in, that time I was scared as a child, it took me right back, and before I knew it I was that scared kid again. One negative thought led to another and that 20 minute waiting time in the queue got the better of me.
I had a choice you see, there was no matter of life or death, this was some theme park ride that I could go on or not go on, I had a choice to walk away. I didn’t need to confront that fear. We all experience fear through our lives, but it is to what point we allow it to define our choices and what we accept of that fear.
When approached with fear we just want to make it go away. We don’t tend to want to sit with it, the quicker we get rid of the fear the Better.
What happens when you must face fear?
What happens when you must face fear because you no longer have an option, there is no escape route? In that moment you don’t turn to embarrassment, or failure, but courage appears, the same courage that you were looking for that time you felt fearful but you had an easy route out so you chose that instead, you ignored the courage shouting PICK ME, PICK ME and that courage decided to go and hide away within you again, un noticed,
One thing that many say to others who deal with ‘extreme’ circumstances is that they are brave. As ‘Pema Chodron’ challenged, these people are ‘intimate with fear.’ I now have great understanding for this, I have learnt to be intimate with my fears, I can’t scream and say get me off this ride this time. This ride is my life, my right now. Unlike the ride at the theme park however I don’t know the ‘route,’ here’s the thing, the theme park ride has a little map, you can see the turns, the twists, the heights, it’s all there in front of you, the only unknown is how ‘you’ will allow yourself to feel whilst on it. If you, unlike myself, make it onto the ride and you feel worry and scared, you probably won’t enjoy a moment of it, if you sit there with the feeling, ‘this is going to be so much fun,’ you’ll have fun, if you go on there with the thoughts of, ‘this isn’t going to be as good as the last ride I went on’, it’s probably not going to be as much fun as the last ride that you went on.
It all starts in that seat, right at the start, before the ride even moves, you know that there is going to be twists and turns but in that moment you can choose to be in the moment, or choose to make a decision on how the future you is going to feel.
Here is where lies your test, to stay in this moment, to not conclude how the ‘you’ In 2 minutes from now is going to feel, it’s being just right there, right now.
That ride ahead with all of the ups and downs can be carefully felt by choices you make before you start.
“To be fully alive, fully human and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest ” Pema Chodron.
To be ‘positive’ or ‘mindful’ through an experience can seem too much. Why? This is a horrible experience and why would you almost want to honour it as some kind of life changing experience?
Compassionate guided meditation
Today I did a compassionate guided meditation. Compassionate mediation is a loving-kindness meditation. I was guided through 4 ages of myself, a new born, A 5 year old, A 16 year old and the now. Taking time to focus on how you felt at those ages, and at each point to send love to yourself. The 16 year old me was a hard one to address, 16 was a hard age for me, ridden with no self love or care to that matter. It’s scary facing such truths when for years you avoid confronting them. This time however I allowed myself to focus in on my hard truths and I allowed myself to visit them, with kindness. When I got to the now an overwhelming feeling of self love and care came over me, it actually brought tears to my eyes. I told this version of myself, the me now,
May I be happy
May I be full of love
May I experience peace
May I be free from suffering
May I live with ease
May I live life to the fullest extent
In this moment I believed in each and every one of those more than ever. Under the worse circumstances I have been dealt, I feel stronger and have more confidence in my own self than before my cancer diagnosis. I understand that maybe this can be hard to understand but for me I have learnt to ‘honour’ my obstacles as Barbara de Angelis advises in “Secrets About Life Every Woman Should Know.”
I am not sugesting that I am in any way having a wonderful time with this thing called cancer, it’s shit, but I’m ok with this, I am ok with this because It has been the biggest wake up call to me, a wake up call that I wish in so many ways I wasn’t having to experience but, a wake up call which has taught me so very much not just about myself but life too. I am trying to be my best friend through all of this, for once I am actually trying to be kind to myself and put more energy in to that than ever before as part of my recovery, if cancer is going to be in my life, well, it’s going to be on my terms, cancer being used as the mediator, the ‘mediator’ that makes me face my own truths, my own fears. In doing so I take less focus on the negatives that cancer is attempting to bring into my life and more focus on these truths that ultimately are the honest me, it’s actually beautifully liberating.
I am making my courage bigger than my fears.
Know that your fears, too, will come and go. Let them pass over you and through you. Then, turn your vision within and you will see the truth: only you will remain…’ Barbara De Angelis
How do you handle your fear?
Be your own act of kindness, Love Sarah