Open Source Sofware

The Truth About Fear

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I believe it’s impossible to be fearful and be present at the same time.

Presence, as I define it, is living fully in this moment. Smelling the air here, right now. Feeling the temperature on my skin, here, right now. Seeing the people around me here, right now. Standing on the earth, right now. Hearing. Swallowing. Blinking. Feeling my body.

The moment I start thinking about some event, like that meeting on Tuesday, or that meal I’m going to cook, or that phone call I’m going to make, I stop being present.

I realize it’s incredibly difficult to always be present. We need to honor the meetings we set up. We need to do business with people at appointed times. If we have an employer, we need to show up at certain times, on certain days.

But once we set the framework for the day in our “to-do” part of the brain (i.e. shower and pack a lunch before leaving the house, drive to XYZ, phone call at 2pm, dinner with friends at 5) it’s important to be present now.

I can’t worry about that phone call if I’m examining the fruit as I cut it for lunch.

I don’t make space in my mind for that call if I’m watching the road as I drive and honoring the drivers around me.

When two o’clock comes, I pick up the phone to make the phone call. It goes so much better if I don’t have preset ideas (and projected fears) about how it will go. If I’m present, solid in this moment, and take the next step, “Hello?” and the next, “How are you?” there is nothing else there but presence.

Worrying about what might happen is not presence. “If I do that, then X might happen, and X might lead to Y, which would be terrible!” If your heart is telling you to move, move. If you feel hesitation, hesitate. Take care not to project fears- it’s a waste of valuable creative time.

Instead, I use fear and worry as a trigger. “Aha! I’m not here, now. What is here, now? This chair. This cup. This decision. Okay, decision, I still need to make up my mind about you. What is my heart telling me?”

Not: what are the pros and cons?

Not: what is the worst that can happen?

Instead: what do I feel good about doing?

What choice makes me feel happy and satisfied?

Pay attention, the next time you’re feeling fear. You’ll notice it’s tied to something that “might happen.” We can’t fear in the past. We can’t say, “when that softball hit me, it makes me afraid now!” The softball happened. We dealt with it. There was no fear in the moment. But we may now fear that the softball might hit us again. How silly! We survived it already. What is there to fear in it happening again?

Our minds constantly want to jump ahead, or remember the past. There is nothing there. Nothing in the past is happening now, and nothing in the future has happened yet. All we have is this moment, and this moment is never fearful.

Comments

  1. Estelle M Goodnight says:

    WOW! I love what you had to say about fear and living in the “NOW”. Really makes me stop and think about it. Thank you.

  2. Damn, Belle. This is absolutely beautifully said & just bursts with truth.

    Thank you for reminding me to get the hell out of my fearful head & back in to what’s here NOW; the clicking of keys, the bird rolling around in the birdseed right in front of me, the gray sky, the big oak trees outside of the window. There is nothing else.

    Thank you for the gift of your words. Of you.

    With love,

    Julia

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