The first time I remember reading this new age spiritual philosophy that one must choose love over fear, I felt a tightening in the pit of my stomach.
I felt myself contracting inward, wanting to hide from the parts of me that were “less than.” I couldn’t swallow that any fear that I struggle with is less important than love and that, therefore, some of my experiences were not worthy of attention.
The more I heard the philosophy, the angrier it made me.
As a practitioner of a non-dual way of thinking, and a devotee of the Divine Mother, this way of thinking and moving through the world perplexed me.
If our ego simply “chooses love over fear,” that doesn’t make the fear go away, and it certainly doesn’t necessarily mean that we are being loving.
This kind of thinking can actually cause further separation from ourselves, each other, and ultimately love itself.
Love and fear do not live in opposition to each other. This is a duality created that leads to more separation between our suffering and Grace.
At the end of the day, love—particularly the expression of love from the Divine Mother—is non-dual in nature. She does not tell her children to go to their rooms until they are no longer scared, for she knows that this increases their fear. Rather, she embraces them in her loving arms and allows their bodies to soften as the fear moves through, allowing grief to release.
This is love. It is a healing balm. It doesn’t divide us or create more polarity. There is room for all of it. Fear, grief, joy, groundedness, trust, worry, anger, rage, death, rebirth, silliness, appreciation, and gratitude—love is large enough to hold all of it.
It is we who have decided one thing is bad and another is good, based on what we learned was lovable and unlovable.
If we are afraid of our emotions, we run the risk of polarizing within ourselves, creating internal hierarchies that create suffering and make things harder than they need to be. These structures and ideas of love against or superior to fear need to crumble.
Gentleness is a profound medicine in times that are far from gentle. Every single person I know is experiencing an internal death process. Our individual, internal structures are crumbling as much as our external, collective structures are. Fear is a natural reaction to losing our ground as we have come to know it.
And not all fear is the same. If we cast aside all fear as the same, we risk the ability to care for ourselves the way we really need to.
Love is a companion of fear. Love embraces fear, listens to it, opens to it in order to understand it. It asks:
>> Is this a thing I can address? Or, is this a thing I have no control over?
>> If I have no control over it, what is this fear triggering in my nervous system?
>> What young part of me—what old wound—is appearing for me to love?
>> How can I ease my nervous system?
Often, beneath our fear is grief. That grief is what serves as a midwife to the internal death process—a normal, healthy reaction to change and loss and crisis in the world.
Fear is not simple. It is not a one-dimensional note. It is many things we have swept under the rug that are now surfacing to help us to learn to stand our own ground and take refuge in love.
Love can guide the ship through the seas of fear, and help us to navigate scary times. Love can help us love what needs to be loved and have compassion—to relate with more gentleness and sensitivity. Love can help us see that we are all human in our vulnerability, facing the same things with different histories, but still tender hearts.
Love knows that we are doing the best we can and opens our hearts with grief; it releases the tension of fears and traumas and old childhood patterns from our systems.
Love liberates us. And so, we must learn to love our fears—not choose love over them.
The most loving thing we can do is allow ourselves to feel our fear, open to it, and allow the energy to move through our system and inform us—to allow the fear to shift to grief, the grief to then crack us open, transform us, and give us the courage we need to realize that we are unbreakable; all that has crumbled was not ours to begin with.