As a very young adult, I recall the realization I had about my relationship with fear. I didn’t actually have a relationship with it; I was bullied by it – trapped in its carnivorous teeth while my own identity was voided by its dark presence in my daily, nervous walk of life. I breathed fear in and swallowed it like a shot of poison. I walked fear, talked fear and navigated my life in fear. I had so many questions about God and the universe, yet I feared stepping out of the bounds of my religion. When I did step out of bounds, I condemned myself for not being complacent like most people I knew. Why was I always dissatisfied? Why couldn’t I just play along in the structured game of life? I observed my family and friends so content in their daily routine while I writhed in my relentless boredom. I feared both being bored for the remainder of my life, and following my curiosity. Like many people, I was trapped.
Had I known back then that my fear was merely a phantom of my own thoughts (which also weren’t real), I may have told the church to fuck off while I gallivanted away on the back of a motorcycle smoking a fat joint with the first guy that came along. Because I was scared to step out of lines, I actually did this in a very subtle way, but there was no motorcycle (unfortunately). I could have followed my intuition and peacefully found the answers to my questions, rather than being rebellious and destructive in my attempts to find out the truth, but I was motivated by fear. Instead of doing what I wanted to do in confidence, I slithered around in secret, which caused even more shame along with the fear of getting caught. All of this piled up on me eventually and I did get caught for being a raging alcoholic, but even when I got myself sober for the first time, fear was my constant companion choking me into believing that life was a series of consequences, so I continued running from the consequences rather than facing the monster in my nightmare of a life.
Breathe. I now know that my fear is this phantom that tries to take me down so that I don’t follow my path, but this phantom is something I can walk through. Beyond the phantom fear are the thoughts escorting my fear into my experiences. I must be aware of these thoughts, which breathe life into the fear. I’m not my thoughts; nor is my fear for real. On hikes along the cliffy coast, I sometimes fear falling before I even get to the coast. If I allow my thoughts to overcome me, I fear plummeting to my death by driving off one of those cliffs, prior to even getting into my car. I’m not even on the road yet, and my palms are sweating. This is NOT being present. This is the antithesis of living in the moment. Each time I place my fear aside and get into my car, drive, and then hike along the cliffs, I laugh at myself for that ridiculous vision. Standing at the brink of California with the wind blowing through my hair while the sun is setting and the surf is thundering beneath me is so breathtaking that I can hardly stand there without bursting into flames of gratitude. If I had bought into my fear, instead of commencing about my day, I would probably be sitting on my couch cooped up in the house watching Netflix rather than taking in life on such an abundant level. I can say this about so many things in my life. If I wouldn’t have stepped through my fear of trusting my intuition last year when my fearful mind was telling me that I was crazy for not taking a corporate job, I would certainly not be sitting where I am today with a totally cool part-time job, making twice as much money with tons of time to write, and enjoying my life like never before. For once in my life, I followed my gut rather than bought into my fear – and WOW! Life without fear is living a dream come true.
I’m still practicing walking through my fear each day which begins with being aware of what I’m thinking about. I can easily get sucked into thinking about all the things that could go wrong in my life, or I can be present and realize that NOTHING is going wrong right now, so what is there to fear? And the more I give into my fears, the less I enjoy my life, which unfolds in an incredible way. I understand now that my well-being is always in consideration of the universe. If I trust in the natural flow of my life, I realize today that no matter what occurs, it is in direct correlation with my spiritual, emotional and mental growth, so I shouldn’t fear it at all. Fearing things like money not coming in, stops the flow of money coming in. I should be visualizing money flowing toward me, rather than buying into a fear that I’m short this month. Each time I stop my destructive thoughts, I’m creating an opening for life to flow toward me, rather than moving against me.
I’ve heard that fear is an arrow pointing me in the right direction. This doesn’t mean that if I get a creepy feeling about a man, that I should run toward him. This means that I listen to my intuition. If my fears are caused by my negative thoughts, then I should be aware of my thoughts and realize that my body does not have to follow their lead. I’m not my thoughts and my fears are not real. The inner me, the intuitive me, is what I listen to now. I’m not perfect at this, but I’m becoming so much more aware of what’s going on in my head and then pulling myself into the moment. I could be petting my loving cat while thinking about a bill that’s due in a week which I don’t have money for right this second, but when I stop myself from feeding into that thought, I realize how soft the fur is on my kitty, and I enjoy his presence with me right now. The money will be there because I get paid next week. What the hell am I worried about? This cat is purring, the sun is rising, and the coffee brewing smells incredible. It’s such a waste of my life to think about anything other than what’s going on right this moment, which is never a monster eating my face!
Listen, our thoughts are insane. I don’t care if you are a monk with your legs crossed on the top of the Himalayas – even you’re thoughts are nuts, my friend, but you’re learning to stop identifying with them. That’s the key. That’s what this post is about today. Your thoughts and fears will always try to sweep you away from following your dreams. They tell you that you should be thinking them, because otherwise it would be irresponsible (or fantastical) of you to think of something better, or being present when there are bigger fish to fry outside of this moment, but this is a lie. Being an observer of your thoughts and fears, is becoming the master of yourself where you will discover that your life is unfolding so magnificently before you. There is nothing to fear because no matter what you experience – when you are present, it cannot truly devour you. You are not your thoughts. Your fears are not real. Now, take that on a motorcycle toward the cliffs of California (or through the mountains of Colorado, or the desert of Nevada… or into the serene land of sobriety) and enjoy your journey while flashing the your middle finger at the fear in the side view mirror… Fuck you, phantom fear!