Inviting Fear to Pull Up a Chair

Every morning, I get an email containing a personalized message, from the Universe. Started by Andy Dooley in 1998, Notes from the Universe grew from a subscriber list of 38 to more than 750,000 in 185 countries. I’ve been receiving these emails for ten years. They often make me smile or stir my heart or resonate with me as deep truth.

Such was the case today. I received this note:

“Sometimes, Cindy, instead of running from something scary in your life, it’s easier to learn not to be scared of it. Let it stay. Pull up a chair. Share some iced tea. 

Besides, Cindy, you’re bigger… and you have wings.”

I immediately identified with this note, in a very personal way.

Inviting Fear to Pull Up a Chair

Overshadowed by Fear

I grew up afraid of the dark. That’s a common fear for kids. Not being able to see in the dark or anxiety about the unknown is the psychological reason given for this childhood phobia.

However, being a child born with the gift of perceiving the spirit world, my fear was rooted in what I could see and hear and feel in the darkness. As the first born child in my family, I usually had a bedroom to myself. The most terrifying situation for me growing up was waking up in the middle of the night, alone in the darkness.

And…I did not outgrow that fear. I slept with a nightlight or stairwell light on until I was well into my 40s.

Inviting Fear to Pull Up a Chair

Facing Fear

I made a decision when I reached my late 40s. Tired of the iron grip terror had on me, I radically shifted. I had never lived alone because of the sense of dread that overcame me each evening as the sun set. To move beyond my fear of the dark, I had to face my fears head on. For the first time in my life, I chose to live on my own and take an inner journey into the very heart of darkness.

It wasn’t easy, however this battle was necessary. At stake was my creativity, my freedom and at the core, my identity. I could not accept who I was while expending huge amounts of energy doing everything I could to avoid scary situations. And trust me, I spent a lifetime attempting to control the elements that triggered fear. I was tired of avoiding, tired of being afraid.

Inviting Fear to Pull Up a Chair

Inviting Fear to Stay

These are the steps I took to move past fear:

• I allowed myself to feel it. I’d spent so many years trying to prevent being afraid. It was time to allow fear to be present. As this morning’s note suggested, I invited fear in.

• Journaling daily helped me to uncover deeper issues. My fear stemmed from being different, from seeing and hearing things other people didn’t. Embracing who I am and accepting my unique gifts allowed me to reframe my fears and gave me a fresh perspective. As fearful as I was, nothing ever hurt me. I began to express gratitude for being me.

• Meditation helped me to calm anxieties and slow my heart rate and breathing. I learned about energy and Divine protection. And I learned how to use energy practices to make myself feel safe, even when alone in the dark.

• I recognized that I was never really alone and that I had been protected my whole life. I consciously asked the Divine to surround me with protective white light and I sent that light throughout my dwelling place, cleansing the space of any low, dark or negative energy. Every night I asked for angels to stand guard at each door and window.

• For a few months, I played music every night as I slept. The sound of the group Third Day was comforting to me, and filled the darkness with praise and songs of worship.

Inviting Fear to Pull Up a Chair

Inviting Fear to Pull Up a Chair

The evening arrived, after months of intense inner work, when I felt ready to invite fear in for a long chat. I turned off all the lights in my home, lit a few white candles and sat quietly in a chair. Then I waited, taking long slow deep breaths, sending out energy, and asking for Divine protection.

When fear showed up, I allowed it to stay, figuratively getting cozy with it. I worked through many emotions that night, and again and again, I looked at fear without flinching. Eventually fear bowed and stepped aide. And beyond it doors that had long been barricaded opened wide, revealing the most amazing gifts.

My life shifted that night. Fear’s icy grip around my heart loosened and then fell away. And my inner child came out of hiding. We continue to get to know each other again, my inner playful, artistic child and I.

Does fear ever show up now? Yes. Fear is a bully. Intimidation is its favorite ploy. But I know what to do when I feel the lightest touch of disquiet. I don’t allow the uneasiness to escalate to full blown terror. Instead, I breathe. Meditate. Ask for Divine protection. Express gratitude. Examine my surroundings to see what’s going on, in this world and the spirit world. And I check in with myself, to see what deeper lessons are being offered in the experience. I prevail.

Fear and I have yet to share a glass of iced tea. However, I brew an excellent cup of hot herbal tea. So pull up a chair, Fear. Stay a while. Teach me what I need to learn. And have a cup of tea. I’ll tell you a story…

Inviting Fear to Pull Up a Chair

Day 287: National Face Your Fears Day

National Face Your Fears Day

Who knew that there was a day specifically set aside for facing ones fears? I didn’t, until this month. According to daysoftheyear.com, this holiday is always the second Tuesday in October, so the date changes each year. This year it is today, October 14. And for my first, I “celebrated” the day by being mindful of my journey and all the fears I have overcome.

Fear is a powerful emotion that can paralyze us, keeping us stuck in a supposed safe place. Many terrors begin in childhood because of an incident beyond the control of the child, such as fear of water because of a near drowning, fear of storms because of a tornado passing through, fear of the dark because of strange noises emanating from the closet. The memory or energy of that incident remains trapped within and each time a similar event occurs, that memory gets triggered, and the energy stirs, and we feel it as butterflies in the stomach or an icy grip around our hearts. We pull back. We begin to avoid those things which trigger the fear and a phobia is born.

I know all about fear. I lived most of my life in the clutches of it. Many of those fears were common fears… of the dark, of dolls, of strong storms, of loss, death and isolation, of failure, of not being enough. It took reaching middle age, and the loss of two dear people, to realize that all my fears centered around one major, deep seated fear. I was afraid of who I was, at my core, and the gifts I’d been given to share with the world. I was afraid to shine, as the person I was Divinely created to be.

Watching The Lord of the Rings, Fellowship of the Ring about 12 years ago, a scene caught my attention. I knew I was seeing a picture of myself played out on my tv screen. Gandalf the Grey, the wizard in the film, is leading the fellowship through the mines of Moria. The little band of travelers has just discovered that the occupants of the mine are all dead. There is a darkness in the mines that goes beyond a lack of light. Gandalf raises his staff and allows a very small amount of light to shine forth, lighting their way. He whispers, “Let us hope that our presence may go unnoticed.” I replayed that scene over and over and something shifted near my heart. That was me, not allowing my light to shine brightly, hoping that my presence would go unnoticed. That fear of shining as my true self kept me small and invisible. It caused me to be a people pleaser, an avoider of conflict and controversy, silent when my voice could have made a difference. It was my smallness caught in isolation that created the fear of death and loss, fear of the dark, fear of being alone.

My journey shifted as well that day. Oh, the fears didn’t disappear overnight. But as I released fear after fear, I began to draw amazing people and situations to me that gave me opportunity to shine as the person I am created to be. And finally, as I fully embraced who I am and all that I am, gifts, abilities and quirks, I could quietly, courageously face the last of my fears and watch them drop away. The dark no longer menaced me and I no longer had to fear being alone, especially at night. It is a continuing journey, walking as me, finding my voice, and I am still learning and growing into what that means and how to offer who I am to others.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” I agree. By facing my fear, I have done that which I never thought I could do, in many areas of my life. I am grateful for National Face Your Fears Day because it reminds me of how far I have journeyed, and what is possible when I shine bright. There is no place within me for fear to hide in that great light.

heart of light 2