Monday, December 8, 2014

The Gift of Fear

christmas decorations

What? Fear is a gift? I'm sure you're wondering what's happened to my sanity, but I can assure you that I am quite serious about that statement. Fear can be a gift. Now don't get me wrong. I'm not talking about danger - that's an entirely different thing. If your house is on fire, get out. If the sirens are telling you a twister is coming, head to the basement. If you're being chased by a bull ... well, you get my drift. Danger is that warning you get to take yourself out of its path. Fear, on the other hand, is a choice.

Fear, by definition, is "a very unpleasant or disturbing feeling caused by the presence or imminence of danger; a feeling of disquiet or apprehension." I italicized those words to point out the fact that what we fear is, more often than not, in our minds rather than in our presence. Mark Twain had a great saying ( I am paraphrasing here): "I've experienced many terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened." So if fear is about what might happen, how is that a gift?

When we are afraid of something that may happen, we are acknowledging that something is missing in our lives, as in: "What if I'm not good enough? What if I never meet the right man? What if I lose my job? What if I get sick? What if there is an accident?" When we feel fear, it is a signal to us that we are not living in the present moment.  The moment that the feeling of fear creeps up on us, it is a signal to sit with the feeling and ask ourselves if what you fear is really real or the result of something that happened in the past. That's when you can open the gift and realize that there is nothing inside! Right there, in that moment, you can know that you are okay. How? Because you're still here. You managed to survive and, in some cases, even flourish, and you did it all on your own. So what do you have to be afraid of? We let the experiences of our past put us in a cage of fear, but here is the kicker ... the door was never locked. All it takes to walk out of that cage is a thought, and the beautiful thing about thoughts is that they were made to be changed!

So today I am offering you the Gift of Fear, wrapped in my best intentions, and tied up with all of my love. May you always find it empty!

And so it is.