“Courage is not the absence of fear. It’s choosing to act with love in spite of the fear”. – Courage to Change
I’ve also heard it said that “courage is fear that’s said it’s prayers”. Both of these statement identify my personal Higher Power, love, as the solution to fear. Simple concept, but not always so easy to practice.
In all these years of recovery I’ve still yet to overcome fear. Even when I’m in a super wonderful life-loving place, and everything appears to be going just swell, my fear seems to be on stand-by, rather than having completely disappeared. And when I question why, fear speaks to me and says “it’s only prudent that I hang close by, something – anything – could go wrong at any moment. Best if I’m here for you”.
Money. Relationships. Work. Health. Depression. Resentment. Lack of control. Unmet expectations. So many things to fear. So much misery on that side of the mind.
Although I haven’t figured out how to eradicate fear, nor do I necessarily think that would be a good thing (car swerving towards me, dog barking off a leash, etc), I have figured out how best to handle it when it comes up. Here’s my solution.
First, I’ve become VERY good at recognizing fear. Regardless of the disguise – anger, frustration, sadness – I learned that most, if not all, of my uncomfortable feelings have their roots entwined in some sort of fear. Therefore, my rule is simple: if I’m uncomfortable I’ll ask myself “what could I possibly be afraid of now?” If it’s not an immediate threat that I can resolve this instant, I continue on to the next step.
After I’ve identified that I’m in fear, I remind myself that the opposite of fear is faith, and that fear is the darkroom where negatives get developed. There is one sure way out of the darkroom, through the door of faith. This is my first glimmer of hope to get away from fear.
Since my Higher Power is love, and I know the feeling of love, the final step is closing my eyes and getting on that magic carpet. As I imagine all the love I’ve experienced in life – my children’s smiles, laughter and hugs; my wife’s embraces and gentle kisses; my Mom squeezing me fresh orange juice and making me buttered, rye toast; my dad singing with me while I play guitar – I begin to feel myself being swept away, literally transported, away from fear and into the sunlight of life.
This may sound sappy, but once you’ve experienced this feeling, you’ll realize how fantastic it is to be able to conquer your fear with just your imagination. No need to try and fix bad things today that may never even happen in the future.
And when I want to take it to the next level, and completely shut the door on fear, I put my earbuds in and start listening to the BrickHouse Station on Pandora (hard to stay in fear while listening, dancing and singing out loud to ‘Play That Funky Music WhiteBoy’).
I’ve been asked before what happens to the THING I’m fearing. Perhaps I’m just burying my head in the sand, or whistling in the dark?
If I was the type of person that didn’t consistently take action towards improving my life, I might acknowledge that they have a point. But, I’m all about action. So I tell them that it’s true, there is the possibility that the THING I’m fearing may be looming, lurking, and waiting. It may actually even happen. But since I can’t predict the future, and since there’s the chance that the THING may never come to fruition, I would rather assume that some wonderful, amazing, great THING may happen instead.
As its been said many times, we manifest our lives. What we think is what we become. What we concentrate on gets magnified. If that’s true, I hope we all banish the concept of bad, scary, unhappy THINGS in our future. Instead, just for today, let’s visualize the most wonderful future anyone could ever experience. Come with me on my magic carpet ride! ILML – James