Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Looking Fear in the Eye

At any given time all of us are faced with situations that make us cringe in fear. We often lose any sense of grounding simply by thinking about that which we fear most. When we come unglued due to fear, we can lose all sense of who we really are and react from ego, rather than respond from spirit. If we look fear in the eye, we can learn what's really going on.

I heard a story related today that was a refreshing change from running away from whatever it is causing a fearful reaction. This person took a deep breath and stepped into a potential confrontation with authenticity after looking her fear in the eye. Rather than pretending to be unaffected in this potential struggle for power, she admitted to her discomfort. Her authentic expression of vulnerability invited her adversary to do the same. What could have been a screaming match of two people in fear, turned out to be a peaceful conversation and collaboration to a solution that was acceptable to both parties.

Imagine how your personal level of peace could be heightened if you took stock of your own fears at any given moment. I speak of fear as being the foundation for any emotion that is not of the peaceful emotional category.

If we are angry, there is a fear we will lose something or might not get our way. We can be fearful of how we'll look or what people may say about us. If we're jealous, we may be afraid of losing someone from our life, or not having enough stuff compared to others. If we're resentful, our fears may be about being taken advantage of or mistreated. The bottom line is if we react in any way other than with love, kindness or peace, we're scared. If we're scared, we will not be showing up at our best.

So, if you'd like to experiment with this concept, notice every time you feel the inclination to raise your voice, blame someone or voice a complaint. Check in with yourself to see what you may be afraid of losing. I also suggest you notice how that emotional fear based state feels. If you don't like the feeling, take a deep breath and respond rather than react.

Awareness of your fear does not mean you allow the world to walk all over you. On the contrary, what I am suggesting will occur, is that you will no longer be giving away your peace to anyone that crosses you, but will stay grounded, authentic and even more powerful to voice your needs and desires.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sidewalk Inspiration

Early this morning in the last mile of my walk, I came across some sidewalk inspiration in the form of chalk drawings and captions. I assume the artist(s) were children and I was able to easily imagine the fun they must have had creating their murals.

The impact of this art display was very powerful. They caused me to stop and linger a bit, taking in their messages. There were several drawings and sayings, and they all were about LOVE. I can only imagine the artist(s) not only felt loved, but were also loving. Some of the quotes were "I love my CAT", "I love God", "Jesus loves me", "I love my home".

It seems it often takes the innocence of a child to express love so freely. Adults often have more fear about being so transparent. The artwork was creative, there was no apparent blueprint that they followed. I imagine that doing it wrong, was not a concern. I felt joyful as I walked across the love sidewalk, which I can only imagine matched the feelings of the artist(s) as they created their series of murals.

I am generally open to be inspired and can find inspiration in just about anything. This morning's example was hard to miss. It made me wonder what life would be like if we all expressed our desire to be loved and if we shared our love as freely as the artist(s) of the sidewalk I walked across today. I imagine we would all be much kinder to one another.

There is much to learn from children and the lessons of love are no exception.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Shift Happens

I am constantly reminded how quickly things can change. Shift happens, or at least can happen, in an instant....that is when we allow our thoughts to create a shift.

Yesterday morning while I was out for my daily trek, I ran into a former JOY workshop participant. I hadn't seen her in awhile and stopped to say hello. When I asked how things were going in her life, she gave me the condensed version of three years of financial fears, frustrations and dis empowerment. This gal gave up a well paying job due to concerns for her overall health. Her home, which is in need of repair, has been on the market unsuccessfully for three years and is at risk of foreclosure. She is barely supporting herself at the present time, living day to day.

Obviously, in listing her various problems, she was feeling scared, desperate and confused. After listening to her feelings for awhile, it struck me that she was identifying herself with the issues that are currently present in her life. She lost track of who she was. I'm not talking about her titles, degrees or work experience, but about the truth of her.

As I reminded her of that which is the truth, I saw her face shift from fear to peace. I witnessed her reconnection and shift to a place of knowing she can handle anything that comes along, regardless of the situations.

Shortly after her shift of perspective, we bid our good-byes and continued walking in opposite directions. A half hour later at another point in town, we came upon each other again. This meeting was a joyful one. I could see her smile in the distance as she approached. This time she related to me how wonderful she felt. There was now hope and optimism that all will be well and that all is well even now.

This was an amazing transformation to witness. In the second meeting, I witnessed a woman that was connected to the spirit of her. Her financial challenges still existed. Her home still needed repairs and was not yet sold. She was still unsure of what the outcomes would be, yet looking at the issues of her life, from a place of peace, created an opening for unconditional joy to be present. What a joy and inspiration it was for me to witness this shift. There is nothing special about my friend that created this transformation in her perspective, other than her being open to it.

I believe without question, when we allow ourselves to look within, beyond our perceived limits and fears, we can all find peace, joy, and freedom. It also seems more likely that we can better deal with the challenges that are present in our lives when we are in a state of peace, rather than fear.