This month, I want to talk about fear. As in previous months, I will share a book, podcast, connection, shift, and food or drink that are inspiring me right now on this topic.
I had an interesting conversation with a client earlier this month. This person said that we live in a place that is stuck in fear based thinking.
Honestly, I felt relieved to hear someone say this. Especially on a business call.
I responded that my desire to shift this culture is partly why I want to start the business I am planning (more on this later). I spoke about my practise of visualization, cultivating authenticity and focusing on positive results.
There is no way a conversation with a client would have taken this turn a year ago.
A business relationship that is grounded in authenticity and positivity – this is the only kind of relationship I have space for now.
What has changed for me in a year? I still experience anxiety and I still feel fear. I still face the same challenges I always have, but the way I handle them is different.
I have spent several years cultivating mindfulness and now have far more awareness about the nature of my anxiety, how my brain works, and what my triggers are. I have learned to separate myself from my anxieties and fears – I can acknowledge them for what they are.
I don’t have to identify with them. I have a choice over how I react. And I would be wise to practise this if I want to live my best life.
Not that I always make the best choices. But, I have come a long way.
The hard work I have done in the last five years has truly changed my mind. And I am only now starting to share it
I know it helped to encounter books and podcasts that expressed these ideas, but it took being receptive and willing to practise for them to truly impact my life. I guess it was the right time.
And maybe it could be the right time for you, too, to connect with some of these ideas and resources. Or they just might help you shake out the cobwebs. Or maybe you think I’m a little, as they say, woohoo. (Though I doubt you would still be reading this if you feel that way.)
Releasing yourself from fear takes a willingness to be vulnerable. It means taking emotional risks.
It means choosing faith over doubt.
Totally scary? Oh yeah. Incredibly rewarding and self-affirming? Hell, yes!
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown
I have heard that many therapists love to give this book to their patients on the regular.
If you haven’t yet encountered Brené Brown, her popular TED talk on the power of vulnerability is a good place to begin.
In this book, Brown reveals, through her research and personal anecdotes, how and why fear holds us back from all kinds of incredible, powerful feelings and positive experiences – and ultimately from well-being, or what she calls wholeheartedness.
To follow a path through fear, she suggests, is to engage with the world in ways that cultivate courage, compassion and connection. On the other side of the deep, dark, haunted forest of fear is an open meadow of authenticity, self-acceptance, and a sense of belonging.
Sounds pretty good, right? 😉
I chose to listen to the audiobook version of this to prepare for this post. I had read a third of it in the past, but I needed to re-read to absorb the information again. I couldn’t get it from the library in time, so I bought the audiobook with one of my Audible credits.
That way I was able to listen to it while gardening – bonus!
The second season of this wonderful podcast was recently released and I can’t wait to listen. I have listened to most of season one and I loved it.
If you do work (or play) that is creative in any way, I think you will find value in this podcast.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Yes, author of Eat, Pray, Love – if you didn’t like that book, I still think you will like this podcast!) published a book in 2015 called Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. In this book, she talks about how we can break through fear to live more fulfilling creative lives.
In Magic Lessons, Gilbert speaks one on one with aspiring artists and creatives to explore how fear holds them back from discovering the potential power of their creativity. One that resonated with me, was an interview with a stay at home mother who feels guilt over a strong pull towards her creative dreams.
Like Brené Brown, Gilbert talks about how perfectionism and fear are close companions. They both hold us back from manifesting wonderful things in our lives.
While researching for this post, I discovered that in Season One, Episode 12 of Magic Lessons, Gilbert interviews Brené Brown. I completely forgot about this episode! How perfect.
This is a gentle reminder to take the time to connect with yourself this month. It seems that many people have felt overwhelmed by this last seasonal transition.
To cope with fear and overwhelm, I check in with myself often, meditate when I find five minutes, and breath when I remember.
I try every day to choose gentleness and compassion over judgement.
I ask myself questions and try to stay open and curious about the answers.
What are you afraid of? What do you need? Is this a priority? Does this matter?
Ask your strongest friend how they are doing. Their calm or seemingly perfect demeanor could just be an attempt to suffocate a wild storm within.
Faith over Doubt
I did something that scares me this month. It was work related and involved doing something I had never done before. I did it. It went well. And then I did it again six more times.
And I didn’t lose one bit of sleep over it
Have you ever lay awake at night feeling guilt, shame, fear, and so much anxiety that you have to get up and check to make sure the door is locked (or get someone else to)?
In the past, I have let my fears, doubts and anxieties become so real that I was sure they would come right through my front door.
Now, when I feel it creeping in – worry about my children, doubt over my career, guilt over my parenting, fear and anxiety about work, money, health, family, the environment, war, migrants, the children of the world…
…I flip a switch, have some sleepy tea, diffuse calming essential oil blends, put on a sleep induction meditation – whatever it takes to direct my mind away from anxiety and towards rest.
I choose faith over doubt and fear. I have faith that my mind will feel calm and sure in the morning and better able to handle whatever it is. And the more it is true, the more I teach my mind to know it is so.
Eat & Drink
It is so amazing to have unlimited access to my favourite beverage now that we make our own kombucha. I love experimenting with flavours. Some favourites so far are lemon rosemary, strawberry lime, and peach ginger.
It is gives me a boost throughout the day, improves my gut health and immune system, supports my sobriety, and cuts down my caffeine intake – all good things that decrease anxiety and help me feel more grounded and resilient.
How has your June been? Are you feeling fear and anxiety over something? Is it taking up your precious time? What would it take for you to let it go?