“Fear does not prevent death. It prevents Life.” Buddha
The famous scripture the Bhagavad Gita opens with a strong and mighty warrior about to head into the battle of his life. Normally composed and confident, this time he is filled with a fear so incredible he completely loses his focus. What comes to him in this time of fear, is the loss of lives that he knows will come and the people he loves, that are fighting on the other side. He can barely think, and drops his bow.
And so it begins.
Too often we feel crippled by our fear. While in our day-to- day lives, it’s not as gut wrenching as the thought of losing our friends and loved ones as it was for our warrior friend in the beginning paragraph, sometimes it almost feels this way.
About a year ago, when the pandemic became a thing, many of us were having to pivot. Careers were moving home, kids were coming home to learn, our houses were full to the brim with people needing space and time and attention. Businesses were struggling and there was so much unknown. Within all the chaos this time in our history brought, many were having to figure things out on the fly. Not because they wanted to, but because they had to. You see while many were under the impression that everyone had tons of money because of a stimulus or extra unemployment dollars, there were numerous folks who fell through the cracks. One of those crack fallers in particular found a way to soar.
A dear client of mine ran a small business that was initially shut down during COVID-19. It was hard to send her employees home, and even more hard to figure out how she was going to pay a mortgage from behind closed doors. In addition to the pandemic and its effects, her landlord was less than wonderful and seemed bent on looming over everything she did and how she did it, while ignoring her needs to have her space contain appropriate safety and comfort qualities. This included things like air conditioning that wouldn’t let her confections melt on the shelf and a ceiling that didn’t leak every time it rained. It was a bit of a show, and not the good kind. She felt like he had all the power, and she was stuck. In the midst of her fear, she felt hopeless and without any of her usual creativity. In the time of fear, she lost her wits about her. Totally fair.
After a few conversations we started to peel back the layers and recognize some things: she was incredibly talented and had always made a way to prosper. Part of her was relieved to get away from her landlord for awhile and be at home even though she missed her customers, and the fact that her business was a tireless pursuit, it was taking a toll on her family life and her own personal life quality as she was working 14-hour days to run her business.
Just like our warrior friend, she needed to connect to her inner deepest self and find her center. By finding the calm within herself, she was able to recognize what she wanted, and what she was going to do about it. A year later, she is running a comfortable business from home selling the products that had been melting on her shelf in her previous business. She shut the doors on her cafe and her cruddy landlord and created a sustainable business she runs from her house, and has time for herself and her family again.
So often when we feel incredible fear we lose our sense of ourselves and our resources. We step into a fight, flight or freeze response. We forget what is most important to us and how to best use our energy to focus on the results that we desire. We fail to see ourselves as the source of our stability and our security.
In order to get back on track, we have to get back in our body. We need to calm, breathe and connect to our innermost selves for security and stability.
Reconnecting inside is about recognizing that indeed we do have resources, we are our own solution to our problems, and when we recognize we are the answer, then we can begin to problem solve in the immediate. What needs to happen first? What is the most important thing right now? From there, we can work out into spaces like, “what is my most desirable outcome?” and “what fills my Spirit?” This takes practice, focus, and intention to teach yourself to step out of fear and into possibility.
When my client was able to step out of her fear, she recognized there were many things wrong in her current situation that she had wanted out of but thought she was stuck with. When things actually got worse, it forced a situation where she had to think about what she could do to make money immediately. As her fear subsided and she found safety within herself, she was able to recognize where she had been compromising herself and how she was being presented an opportunity to step out of her discomfort and pursue what fit her purpose and her desire.
Today, a few of her former employees are working for her so she gets to enjoy the scene of camaraderie they had at the cafe but without the angst. She gets her social fill by making deliveries of products and having more time with friends and family. Her kids and grandkids even occasionally get in on the production part of things when she needs extra help. All total, she is living a life that lets her enjoy the home that she barely ever got to spend time in before, and be surrounded by the kind of people that feed her spirit and connect with her through the best of who she is. Will there be more to come? Absolutely. But for now, this works perfectly and allows her to be creative about her future.
Fear really can prevent us from feeling like we’re truly living. But by practicing mindfulness, connecting inside of our deepest self, we regain our power to recognize our truth and begin the process of really living.
Forever the journey, Anne