Like the face of a newborn child
Promises of a long lost friend
Speaks to me of comfort
But I fear
I have nothing to give
I have so much to lose
Here in this lonely place
Tangled up in our embrace
There's nothing I'd like
Better than to fall
But I fear I have nothing to give ...
~ Sarah McLachlan ~ Fear ~
FEAR ... it can be controlling, it can be paralyzing and it can keep you from living the life of your dreams. It has only been with my practice of mindfulness I have come to recognize the fear within me and the process of facing it.
I have been sitting in meditation, watching my fears arise and learning to allow them to become part of the stories that make up my life ... I observe them instead of reacting to them. I have felt how they manifest in my body and move into physical discomfort. I have have not allowed myself that before and it takes getting use to be in a that space.
Upon reflection, there were certain activities, compulsive and addictive in nature, that kept me in a place of fear. I would overeat. I would search the fridge to fill my stomach up and create a fullness in the exact place that fear was beginning to dig a deeper and deeper hole inside of me. And if that didn’t satisfy, I would sit in the comfiest chair and mindlessly watch re-runs of my favorite shows to vanish into TV land. Yet probably the most addictive activity is surfing the net. Hours upon hours of faceless interaction, hiding behind my keyboard and keystrokes ... a few pokes, comments and incessantly checking of my homepage, I would continually stare at a glowing screen as the minutes tick by, unable to disconnect myself from the cyber world and face the fear of being alone with my self-pity and self-hatred.
Consciously taking the role of the observer, I realize most of my fear-based suffering begins by creating stories in my head. Therefore taking the time to sit, reflect and watch what comes up allows me to choose if I want to be an active participant. Accept that in order to become more mindful, we must recognize that we are solely responsible for the thoughts our minds produce. While we can’t stop our minds completely, we can take control over them and create moments of peace for ourselves.
The following technique has helped me when thoughts or fear arise:
- Take a long, deep breath in and out
- Next, use all your senses ... feel, smell, touch, see, taste the present moment
- Keep coming back to recognize the breath as it will give you the control you need to stay in the now
- Continue until you feel that the thought or story has moved on or has dissipated
The idea is to take back control of you mind. And the more you practice, the better you will get in stopping the stories in your head and the pull to distract yourself from all the pain they cause you.
The more I explore fear the more I realize to overcome it I have to be prepared and willing to redefine myself ... and keep practicing. No one can do it of me and the more I get use to it, the more naturally it becomes. With the discomfort and vulnerability comes peace and miraculous solutions as I surrender to the fear and release what no longer serves me ...