The intelligence of fear
I've just returned from a few weeks of volunteering followed by total rest and relaxation. Thank you, Universe, for both of those blessings. In those weeks, my posts were brief -- fear less, love more.
A friend and careful reader picked up on something I said, that is, banish fear. She correctly pointed out the fallacy of that advice and I am grateful that she did. (Shout out and thanks to Carol E.)
Fear is a necessary emotion. As Tara Brach reminds us, "every emotion has its intelligence," and fear is no exception. We need to fear some things in order to keep ourselves alive and safe. Clearly. Crossing a freeway at rush hour on foot is something to fear. So is facing a wild bear in the woods, or an oncoming raging flood. That's when that old "fight, flight or freeze" kicks in. And there is an appropriate time for each one of those fear responses.
But fear can also hold you back.
Think of a time when fear held you back. Was there a time you were afraid to try something new like speaking in front of a crowd? Or have you quietly allowed others to speak for you when you disagreed with them? Maybe you want to change jobs but fear of failure holds you back. Could you be worried that fear of declaring your passion might make you might appear foolish in the eyes of others? Maybe you don't want to rock the boat, or appear ungrateful, or are not 100% certain of how you feel.
In times like those, your fear might be misplaced. It might not be serving you appropriately. But still, those feelings are big. BIG! Back to Tara Brach: The shift in how we relate to fear in us is the key to awareness and waking up.
Fear always tells us something. The trick is to "attend and befriend" your fear. It keeps you alive. Learning to obey your fear for keeping you safe versus thanking your fear for reminding you to push outside your comfort zone and become more of your true self is key to living more fearlessly.