Have you ever met (or been) a child that is afraid of the dark?
A child experiencing a very tangible fear of a monster, lurking in the bedroom at night, when the lights are out?
There is a shape in the corner of the room. It is watching, waiting for the child—the fear is real.
There can be no negotiation, no reasoning. The only option is to panic, and hide under the covers.
You cannot tell the child that there is nothing to fear, because they can hear the monster breathing—they have seen it move.
Now—as experienced and rational adults—we know that there is not a monster in the room hiding in the dark. We know that there is nothing more to fear in the dark, than there is to fear in the light. But, we cannot explain this to a quivering child—one whose mind created the monster—and expect them to believe us.
Still, we are not so different from the frightened child hiding under the covers. Think about a time when your fears fueled your actions. Have you ever experienced fear of failure? Fear of change or loss? Or perhaps fear of being judged by others?
I know I have, and I still do.
My fears turn into ugly insecurities—heavy, sticky, gross energy that I carry around.
Fear clouds my vision and fortifies barriers, which stifle my ability to love and live openly and freely. And what is even worse, my fear seems to be a highly attractive energy force—drawing additional heavy, dark energies toward me like a magnet. Then those fears birth other fears, and the spiral of negativity expands.
In the past, I’ve typically run away from the things that triggered my fears. I built walls and safety nets around my seemingly vulnerable self.
I closed myself off.
Fear is stagnation. Fear paralyzes action.
When I act out of fear—I manipulate, censor and protect myself by moving into self-preservation mode. The draw-bridge closes, and I am “safe” in my fortress.
But what is there to fear?
Fear sometimes means living in the past—reliving a memory, or fabricating a story, and projecting the things that once produced emotional responses onto the present and future.
If I look at this very moment—this present moment in reality—there is nothing to fear. Fear is not the present moment. It is an idea—a story.
When we pursue our fears, we are no longer fearful.
When I look my fear in the eyes, I take my strength back.
Fear is like the monster in the corner of the child’s bedroom at night. When the lights are off, the mind creates a story about the danger—the uncertainty, the potential pain—but when the lights are turned on, the eyes clearly see that “the monster” was nothing more than a chair in the corner, with clothing and clutter piled on top of it.
There was never anything to fear.
So how can I choose to move through life supported by love, rather than oppressed by fear?
When I act out of love I can be authentic—I am vulnerable and raw. It can be scary, but when I open myself up to being vulnerable, I become free.
If I can ground myself in reality and quiet the chatter of my internal fear machine, then the only thing remaining is the peace and love that are waiting to be experienced and shared.
Freedom, love, truth and peace are always present—sometimes the lights are just turned off.
Author: Sarah Cassella
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Photo: Flickr/Brit Austin