My Devil Called “Fear”

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Unobtrusive music is usually playing when I write and a style of electronic music called ‘chill’ is my favorite to have in the background. Traveling in Europe I developed a taste for this ‘chillout’ music that is characterized by a mellow style and mid to very slow tempo. Today a song called “Hayling” by FC Kahuna (Jon and Dan Kahuna) caught my attention. The song contains only two lines of lyrics that are repeated several times:
Don’t think about all those things you fear
Just be glad to be here.
Those words got me thinking about my “Fear” and the battles I have fought with it (lots of successful ones I might add). Four thoughts that surfaced this morning were:

1) There has been nothing, and I repeat NOTHING, that has had a more negative impact on my life than FEAR. The underpinning of almost every one of my failures, mistakes or fiascos has been one of the family of fearful feelings: dread, worry, anxiety and shame. The realization alone that these are the greatest blocks to joy and happiness diminished their power over me.

Men go to far greater lengths to avoid what they fear than to obtain what they desire. Dan Brown

2) The essence of life boils down into two forces: Love and Fear. Those two emotions are like the ends of a see-saw. The quality of my life is determined by which end is currently tipped. Life is hell when “Fear” is the heaviest. Living is good when I can keep the see-saw balanced. “Joy” fills me when Love has the greater weight.

There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance.   John Lennon

3) Far too many of my fears, for FAR too long, were long based on what others thought of me. A “feeling of not being good enough” is fertile ground for fear to grow in and a sense of flaw and defect is water and fertilizer to enhance its growth and power.

The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us… the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls. Elizbeth Cady Stanton

4) My fears thrived in part because I long believed somehow, someway I could figure out ‘why’ things happen or are the way they are. The eventual realization that some things don’t make sense and never will was a giant step. It’s not the answering of ‘why’ that matters most. It’s in the search wisdom is found.

It’s the questions we can’t answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question and he’ll look for his own answers. Patrick Rothfuss

Bringing up the subject of “Fear” and writing about it is a bit like dancing with the Devil but hoping to not be burned. The good news for me is seeing/thinking/writing about “Fear” is now figuratively like blowing on coals that usually aren’t hot enough to burst back into flame.  I’m grateful for that. Fear is no longer the silent, hidden and disguised illness within it used to be. Exposure to the light of day makes my Devil called “Fear” smaller and the coals of fearfulness too cold to restart a fire.

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
Frank Herbert

My History of Anger


Every destructive emotion bears its own harvest, but anger’s fruit is the most bitter of all. Uncontrolled anger is a devastating sin, and no one is exempt from its havoc. It shatters friendships and destroys marriages; it causes abuse in families and discord in business; it breeds violence in the community and war between nations. Its recoil, like that of a high-powered rifle, often hurts the one who wields it as well as its target. Anger makes us lash out at others, destroying relationships and revealing our true nature. The history of the human race is largely the history of its anger. Billy Graham

Years ago my anger was a crutch; a habit and a bad one. My temper would get loose the easiest when slighted or left out by people I cared about. In hindsight, most of the time I simply needed to be understanding toward an unintentional act. But letting indignation give flame to anger, I volleyed back with spiked words hurled with intention to hurt another. Being sorry later did little to calm the hurts I often caused. The end result was usually ending up mad at myself.

Finding out some people were afraid of me, or at least reluctant to be in my company, was humbling. It’s wasn’t that I was an intentionally hurtful person, but rather I was a powder keg that did not need much agitation to go “boom”. I know now that my anger was only fear turned inside out.

A Hindu saint who was visiting river Ganges to take bath found a group of family members on the banks, shouting in anger at each other. He turned to his disciples smiled and asked, “Why do people shout in anger shout at each other?”

Disciples thought for a while, one of them said, “Because we lose our calm, we shout”.

“But, why should you shout when the other person is just next to you? You can as well tell him what you have to say in a soft manner?” asked the saint.

Disciples gave some other answers but none satisfied the other disciples.

Finally the saint explained, “When two people are angry at each other, their hearts distance a lot. To cover that distance they must shout to be able to hear each other. The angrier they are, the stronger they will have to shout to hear each other to cover that great distance. What happens when two people fall in love? They don’t shout at each other but talk softly, Because their hearts are very close. The distance between them is either nonexistent or very small…”

The saint continued, “When they love each other even more, what happens? They do not speak, only whisper and they get even closer to each other in their love. Finally they even need not whisper, they only look at each other and that’s all. That is how close two people are when they love each other”.

He looked at his disciples and said, “‘So when you argue do not let your hearts get distant, Do not say words that distance each other more, Or else there will come a day when the distance is so great that you will not find the path to return”.

In recent years I am a calm person who rarely gets agitated and when I do it’s a fairly rare occurrence for me to express it externally. Those who have known me ten years or less say they can’t imagine me being a person with hair-trigger anger. I am grateful that’s true and for the guidance and intention that has put anger mostly behind me.

Anybody can become angry —
that is easy,
but to be angry with the right person
and to the right degree and at the right time
and for the right purpose, and in the right way;
that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.

Dams In Our River of Life

leatherback-sea-turtle-babyThe greatest emotional war I have ever witnessed as been the one with myself. For years there was a storm of thoughts and feelings moving round inside ranging in intensity from thunder on the horizon to a full-fledged hurricane. When I look back now it’s clear that fear was what stormed in me, so strong I could not face it. Instead I distracted myself with anything and everybody external and in being inordinately busy, I hid out.

Age grants wisdom if one is open to receiving it. I learned I had to get still sometimes, shake off everything outside me and stand square with my feelings and thoughts. It was in such moments that I began to discover what peace was. It was not about more of anything. Rather peace for me is about slowing, even stopping, the storm inside.

Dalai Lama XIV said “We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” Buddha spoke a shorter version; “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without”. For me to sincerely begin the inner work toward peace, I had to face my greatest fears.

Fear is one of the biggest single factors that deprives one of being able to achieve your full potential. We experience fear more as a result of our internal communication of mind rather than because of actual external factors.

Fear is an unseen enemy that whispers negative thoughts into your mind, body and soul. It tries to convince you that you will not prosper and that you cannot achieve your full potential.

Our lives can be compared to beautiful streams, which are destined to flow, grow in majesty to create wonderful features such as cascading waterfalls, and give nourishment and life to those in its path.

Sometimes we let fear put up a small dam in our rivers of life and it causes us to have stunted growth. We need to be able to rise above it, rise above the fear, break the dam and let our potential flow.

When we allow fear to create dams in our rivers of life, then our streams become like the Dead Sea, which is stagnant and void of life and movement. When we confront fear, we break the dams and free our potential to flow forward.

We are beings of immense potential, ability and skills. In order to realize our God-given talents we need to break through the fear barrier, which through its invisible walls traps us better than any physical prison can be constructed by the hands of man. Our human will and faith can break any barriers that fear can construct. Inshan Meahjohn

Are my fears gone? Some are, some aren’t. The subtotal is considerably less now days. Sometimes I find big fears based on small things. Realizing that, the fears became small too. Some fears bother me less simply because I have grown accustomed to them. The known is always less scary than the unknown.

A summed up realization just hit me: I have more peace within that ever before because I am willing to face my fears. That’s an ah-hah moment to be grateful for.

Spirituality is not to be learned
by flight from the world,
or by running away from things,
or by turning solitary
and going apart from the world.
Rather, we must learn an inner solitude
wherever or with whomsoever we may be.
We must learn to penetrate things
and find God there.
Meister Eckhart

Reasons Why I Cannot Love You

beautiful leaf wallpaperThe following was written by Kat George a year and a half ago for It’s well crafted and hit me hard, right between the eyes!

Don’t get me wrong—I think you’re great. I like to eat dinner across from you, quickly glancing down at the fork idly fondling my food when you catch my eye. I like the coy smiles that pass between us, and the way that once we’re both drunk you become brave enough to hold my hand, and I become excited enough to hold it back. I like it when my phone vibrates in the night and it’s you saying something completely irrelevant, just so you could text me. I like that you like me; I like what we have.

But I can’t love you. I can’t love you because I couldn’t love the one before you, and I wont be able to love the one after you. It’s not because you’re not wonderful, or because you don’t deserve to be loved. It’s because you’ve melted into those other ones—you’re all the same. None of the dinners, the lazy days spent in bed cradling each other’s naked bodies, the little things you whisper to me, none of it is new. I’ve heard and done these things before, the motions are repetitive, and my responses are habitual. I can’t love you because we don’t have that special… thing… that makes every one of these practiced encounters seem brand new.

I can’t love you because I’m measuring you against a yard-stick from long ago, and you keep falling short. Every movement you make, every tiny word you utter, I pick up and hold towards the sun to see if you’ll turn transparent and I’ll see him inside your skin. When he’s not there—and he never is—I know I’ll never be able to love you. I haven’t and I can’t move on; it’s not your fault. I know I’m being entirely ridiculous, but when he haunts my sleep and I awaken in the morning only to see your resting eyes and your mouth agape on the pillow next to me, I feel disappointed, and I hate that I feel that way. I can’t love you because I’m entangled in the past, and I’m still not ready for the future.

I can’t love you because you adore me too much. Every time I wish for you to stop flattering me, to stop agreeing with me on every little thing, to stop f#cking doing every completely nonsensical thing I ask of you, it makes me feel sick, ungrateful and mean. You’re wonderful for thinking I’m wonderful, but I can’t love you because you don’t love me for my flaws—you love me in spite of them. You don’t see me, you don’t even want to see me, for what I am—the ugly, pungent parts of my guts. You can’t and don’t want to tear these parts out of me while I scream. I can’t love you because you won’t defy me, because you won’t fight me when I’m wrong. I can’t love you because you don’t stand eye to eye with me and challenge me, demand of me, to be a better person.

I can’t love you because it’s too hard and I’m too busy. I’m so busy all the time; I barely have time to see my friends, the people I know I’ll be 80 with, if we all (God/ universe/ Mother Nature willing) make it that far. I keep trying to convince myself that you’re just not right for me but half the problem is I simply don’t have the time for you, and I didn’t realize my mental process was making these ludicrous deductions until a friend casually pointed out that I was a New Yorker now, and that New York was what was ‘happening’ to me. And here I was thinking I was just holding out for Mr. Right. I can’t love you because logically or illogically, my brain doesn’t compute having you any higher on my list of priorities.

I can’t love you because I’m happy on my own. It’s been almost a year now, and I’ve healed from the destructive force of a previous relationship. I’ve learned how to enjoy my own company and laugh at my own jokes. I can’t love you because if I do you’ll be in my bed with me at night, or worse, I’ll be at yours without my things around me. I wont be able to sleep spread-eagled, to eat crispy fried bacon in my underpants, to make plans to go out whenever I want, or to make plans to stay in whenever I want. I can’t love you because, right now, I’m enjoying my ‘me’ time far too much—I’m like a pig in sh!t. I can’t love you because for the first time in my life, I’m being selfish.

I can’t love you because I’m scared. Because I’ve been broken-hearted and I know the pain of losing something I love all too well. I don’t have another heartbreak in me, and sometimes when I look at you I imagine myself as a younger girl and I know I would have ridden into the sunset with you, had you asked, even if you were entirely wrong for me. I can’t love you because I’m so tired of love; its commitments and risks. I can’t love you because I don’t know if you’re worth the commitment or the risk and I’m not willing to find out the hard way, although I sincerely hope that one day I will be. I can’t love you because I don’t want to, and sometimes I’m afraid that makes me a bad person. By Kat George

Change the reference points from “him” to “her” and just about every word here rings true for me personally, so much so it is unnerving. Such occurrences of unexpected introspection almost always bring me lasting insight. Thank you Kat!

I love you, with no beginning, no end…
Without fear. Without expectations.
Wanting nothing in return,
except that you allow me
to keep you here in my heart…
Coco J. Ginger

Joy Is Your Sorrow Unmasked

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Be brave enough to be happy” read a stranger’s post on Pinterest. The quote plays perfectly in tune with my thoughts this morning.

Years ago skiing in Vail, I saw a sweatshirt inscribed with “No guts, no glory. No pain, no gain.” For the longest I kept those words mentally filed only under physical ability and achievement.

Time has tempered my thinking to know that courage and an openness to endure discomfort is most important with my feelings. The majority of my emotional weakness of old times is gone. Hurt goes no less deep when it comes, but I fully realize now that a willingness to openly accept the painful is what allows the full range of its mirror reflection, joy.

In the “Prophet” Kahlil Gibran wrote:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises
was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being,
the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup
that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit,
the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart
and you shall find it is only that
which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart,
and you shall see that in truth you are weeping
for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,”
and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits,
alone with you at your board,
remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
Verily you are suspended like scales
between your sorrow and your joy.

Occasions arise when I am overwhelmed with the sheer magnitude of my feelings. What a gift to be that passionately alive! Emotions long-buried awakened bring great pain paid back with interest, but also a full magnitude of joy that rides by its side.

I used to be so afraid,
Sometimes crippled;
Worry and anxiety held me back.
The fear remains, but
My courage is strong.
Good or bad,
joy or pain,
With open arms
I embrace the fullness of it all,
The best life ever lived,
Was filled with great happiness
And lots of heartache and grief;
No life has ever been better.
To know the full joy
I openly accept pain that comes.
Whatever arrives in my path,
I welcome
With gratitude and anticipation.

There is enormous benefit to being well along into middle age before emotionally getting it together and finding balance. Feeling this much, this deeply can break some people, but it can also enliven a person’s being beyond what one might dare to imagine. There is a concentration of emotion within me focused like light through a magnifying glass that allows me to gratefully know the richness from side to side and top to bottom. With sadness on one mountain and joy on the other I live in the valley of hopes and dreams between.

What would you like to do?
From the 1987 movie “Made In Heaven”

Love Versus Fear

Light_vs__Dark_by_environautLOVE IS UNCONDITIONAL (fear is conditional)

LOVE IS STRONG (fear is weak)

LOVE RELEASES (fear obligates)

LOVE SURRENDERS (fear binds)

LOVE IS HONEST (fear is deceitful)

LOVE TRUSTS (fear suspects)

LOVE ALLOWS (fear dictates)

LOVE GIVES (fear resists)

LOVE FORGIVES (fear blames)


LOVE CHOOSES (fear avoids)

LOVE IS KIND (fear is angry)

LOVE IGNITES (fear incites)

LOVE EMBRACES (fear repudiates)

LOVE CREATES (fear negates)

LOVE HEALS (fear hurts)

LOVE IS MAGIC (fear is superstitious)

LOVE ENERGIZES (fear saps)

LOVE IS AN ELIXIR (fear is a poison)

LOVE INSPIRES (fear worries)

LOVE DESIRES (fear Joneses)

LOVE IS PATIENT (fear is nervous)

LOVE IS BRAVE (fear is afraid)

LOVE IS RELAXED (fear is pressured)

LOVE IS BLIND (fear is judgmental)

LOVE RESPECTS (fear disregards)

LOVE ACCEPTS (fear rejects)

LOVE DREAMS (fear schemes)

LOVE WANTS TO PLAY (fear needs to control)

LOVE ENJOYS (fear suffers)

LOVE FREES (fear imprisons)

LOVE BELIEVES (fear deceives)

LOVE “WANTS” (fear “needs”)

LOVE versus fear: what do you feel?

“Love Versus Fear” by storyteller and filmmaker Sarah Nean Bruce

On occasion it is the simple that makes the deepest impression. Reading the statement “LOVE versus fear: what do you feel?” painted itself into my memory. The question and the statements before it will be handy to recall when I need help centering and sorting my feelings. My gratitude goes to Ms. Bruce for her uncomplicated list of what love is and what is only fear pretending to be something it’s not.

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.
Marianne Williamson