April 13, 2012

In the Midst of Our Darkest Fears Emerge Our Wildest Dreams.

Photo credit: Tanya Lee Markul

I have always felt that fear needed me somehow.

That in some way it was responsible for my gravitational pull and if I let it go, I’d be carried slowly off into deep space. Lost, isolated and set to drift out there forever.

I internalized fear even before I had a language to describe it. It crept namelessly into my life at such a tender young age that I don’t remember the exact moment it became parasitic. Aside from my parental governing or lack thereof, I was, like most of us, raised within a culture of fear mongering—politics, education, the media, the economy, religion and war—there’s not enough to go around, you will be punished for actions outside of the rules, suppress your expression, you need to be controlled and don’t you dare color outside of the lines!

Throughout my life, fear’s intimidation tactics taught me shame and its incessant nagging made me capable of summoning superior amounts of guilt. It also demanded that I constantly re-live the past—turning unhappy bygone experiences into new anxiety over and over again. It has influenced me, shaped me and controlled me probably even more than I realize up to this very moment.

Fear is a universal emotion. It’s life’s greatest manipulator and it is the basic ingredient for all of mankind’s dilemmas.

The gist of experiences that translated into poisonous layers during the early years of my life were abandonment, rejection and death—all three throughout my life have led me to believe it was my destiny to live in the dark shadows of emotional fear forever. Every downward spiral, every emotional black hole, every bad habit, every bout of anger, sadness, anxiety and every ounce of resistance has led me right back into the arms of fear. It’s stealth and intricate—it grew roots in my childhood and has branched out into nearly every aspect of my life.

For many of us, fear is how we gauge our next step forward or how we justify the decisions we make. Fear can be viewed with a deep understanding of life! 

Look around. Why don’t human beings get along with one another, with nature? Look within. Why aren’t you living the life you want to live? Working a job you really love? Why aren’t you expressing, sharing, being who you really are? Who this life needs you to be?

Fear influences us into thinking we are powerless, worthless and incapable of our wildest dreams. Fear can make us believe that we need to be controlled, that we must limit how much we feel and that we shouldn’t trust our intuition. It can influence us to see the worst in ourselves and in other people—a habit that is deadly, paranoid, the opposite of living.

My intuition has been telling me for years to let go of the past, to let go of my fear.

In return, I’d argue back that this fear and all its sorts made me who I was. So how could I ever let go of it? And it was true. I was who I was, because I made it so.

I also used the excuse that I needed to dissect it more, analyze it and incessantly search the bottom of a bottomless well. And, most of us live in fear anyway. Why should I make the effort to creep outside of my little cave when most of the people around me were wallowing in it? Why let the neighborhood know I’d become vulnerable, open to change, myself, when I could end up the object of ridicule?

Because fear doesn’t dare walk alone, it brings with it other minions—aside from the usual, guilt, shame and anxiety it also invites sadness and anger, a lot of anger. And anger associates with all sorts of poisons: jealousy, greed, resentment, frustration, irritability, the feeling of insignificance and rage. Although some fears protect us from imminent and real danger, much of our fear is out of touch with reality, but still the same primitive impulse takes hold. When we live in a constant state of fight or flight, our organs suffer, our energy dissipates and according to Brian J. Zahn, we allow False Evidence to Appear Real.

A few years ago, Bill Tancer analyzed the most frequent online search queries that involved the words “fear of”. His results showed a top ten list of fears: flying, intimacy, the dark, death, spiders, driving, love, god, success and being alone.

In a 2005 Gallup poll in the U.S. a national sample of teens age 13 to 15 were asked what they feared the most. Here’s what they said: terrorist attacks, spiders, death, being a failure, war, heights, criminal or gang violence, being alone, the future and nuclear war.

Other common fears include in other various study results were a fear of ghosts, the existence of evil powers, snakes, tunnels, bridges, needles, public speaking, enclosed spaces, failure, social rejection, pain and damaging another person. And, a few more: fear of the pink slip, fear of unemployment benefits expiring, fear of balancing the checkbook, fear of a doctor’s examination results, fear of hearing about another senseless act of violence, fear of getting out of bed in the morning, fear of germs, fear of aging, fear of saying yes and ultimately, the fear of the utmost truth—that you are more capable of change, of creativity, of healing compassion, of connecting with nature more than you have ever thought possible—beyond your wildest dreams.

You just have to take one step beyond fear. Believe it. You can change. You can help others. You can make a difference. You are more powerful than suppression, destruction and fear. Aggression, punishment and war will never set you free. Neither will denial or false justifications. You already know this. You just have to believe it.

Life then transforms an oppressed hell into a beautiful and worthwhile adventure.

You are not your parents, you are not your childhood, you are not the abandonment, rejection or ridicule you may have experienced, you are not your shitty job or your education, you are not war—unless you deem it so. No my friend, you are so much more.

“There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy.”

~ Friedrich Nietzsche

According to various sources, there are 27, 59, 84 or perhaps 40 world wars taking place right now. There are over one billion hungry people. The Homeland of Security Advisory System in the United States has been set at ‘orange’ also known as ‘high risk of terrorist attacks’ since 2001. The past 2000 years more humans have been violently hurt, abused and killed by the hands of other humans more than any other force on this planet.

What would make anyone do such things other than fear?

Fear of unemployment. Fear of foreign cultures. Fear of being killed. Fear of retribution. Fear of being homeless. Fear of being friendless. Fear of being the first one to speak against the common opinion. Fear of the power of one’s self. Fear of effort. Fear of change.

Fear is a basic instinct, and without it we couldn’t judge real danger. It took me years to really understand that nearly all of us are deeply afraid of who we might really be. It can take a lifetime to learn how to distinguish between fear of real danger and the unsubstantiated fear. Most of us probably never fully learn it. We are taught unsubstantiated fear from childhood and as we grow up we nurture it with greed and neglect and feed it with anger and what ifs and what should have been.

Haven’t we learned enough from this type of fear? It doesn’t work for us. It never has and it never will.

Perhaps it is worth striving for a deeper understanding of the obstacles that hold us back—the obstacles of unsubstantiated fear. Once we lose the death-grip fear has on our lives, we are able to breathe, even see a bit more clearly. We can then investigate deeper into our consciousness, our abilities and find our unique self that is literally dying to come out.

The more we live without fear and the more we invite each other to live without fear, the more likely we will be able to come up with our own unique solutions to solve problems with compassion, creativity, confidence and with love. We can make our own revelations without having to be controlled by our own or other people’s fears.

The world needs you and the uniqueness you carry in your heart, in your being, in your soul. It doesn’t need another humanoid fear-clone.

Photo credit: Tanya Lee Markul

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

-Marianne Williamson

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