Fearlessness. We begin to find fearlessness when we can stop in the face of our own rising fear, pause, and breathe into the discomfort.
In that moment of breath and that moment of pause, when we can look within and say yes, I am afraid – that’s where we discover fearlessness. Acknowledging the fear, this begins to give us our personal power back.
I grew up with the idea in my head that to be afraid was to be weak. Now, I have no real idea where that belief came from, but that is not the point here. This isn’t about all the crap I had inside myself from growing up in dysfunction vs. growing up in function. I stopped caring where the beliefs I was carrying came from, and I instead focused my energies on letting go of the ones that no longer served me.
The beliefs that had subconsciously driven me throughout my life into places of extreme misery, failure, depression, anxiety, hate and anger. Those beliefs. I was tired of living in a constant state of negativity and pain, so I decided to change. It was pretty life and death for me, so there was no real decision, per say, but yes for communicative purposes I will say, “decided to change.” Through deep self-observation I realized my driving belief factor was that to be afraid was to be weak, and I believed weak to be pathetic.
I spent a whole life running and denying that I was afraid of anything, because I was so afraid of looking weak. Because if everyone else saw weakness the way that I did, who would ever love me? See the paradox I created for myself? I finally admitted I was afraid.
And guess what? Nothing happened. No one ran screaming away from me, no one pointed at me and laughed, the world didn’t end. In fact, I actually felt more connected with my fellow humans than I had ever felt in my whole life. Admitting I had fears knocked down a barrier between myself and others, that I had built up really high.
I hadn’t even begun working on any of the fears, and I already felt more human and connected than ever before.
So you see, Dear Ones, in just admitting we are afraid, and pausing to breathe into it before shutting down or reacting gives us great power. It begins to open us up to seeing our fear from a non-attached view. It starts us on a path of having a choice before we react. Each time that breath gets a little longer we have more time to observe ourselves and what we are doing. We get more time to see the reality as it is instead of the picture our ego is painting in our head. With each breath, we get more time to assess if the threat to our being is real or perceived.
Sometimes I still shut down and have to walk away out of fear. But now it is a choice to do so. Once I have observed where I am and assessed the situation I than decide if I am capable of pushing more or if for this moment I have gone as far as I can. (I have been using spiders for this practice. Moving closer and closer.)
I practice facing fears – this is true fearlessness.
Where once I used to just shut down and say “fuck it, I can’t” I now pause and breathe. I consider. It’s no longer a matter of I can’t, it is now either I will or I won’t.
When we find fearlessness, we find we have no limits.
Image: Flickr/Eric Ward