Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Making Friends With Fear

I find that as I navigate my days, working diligently on my healing, maintaining a positive attitude and positive thoughts, that it is impossible to keep fearful thoughts away. No matter how hard I try, they creep in. And no matter how many times I push them away, they come back.

So I have begun to make friends with fear. My neighbor is a very wise woman and an accomplished healer. She reminded me recently that to feel fear means that I am human. After all, we all need to be afraid of the oncoming train to motivate us to get out of the way. And there is the familiar statement that courage is not the absence of fear, it is the ability to act in spite of fear.

One thing I have learned about fear around a health situation or diagnosed condition is this -- if I am fearful of what will happen in the future, "what if this?" or "what if that?", then I am not living in the present. Instead, I am trying to project onto an uncertain future. And NO ONE knows what the future holds, not the people with cancer diagnoses, not the people with AIDS, and not the people with the diagnosis that they will die someday (i.e. everybody). Anyone can play the 'what if' game -- what if I get hit by a car? what if she leaves me? what if I lose my job?

And when I go to fear, when I play the 'what if?' game, I feel it in my solar plexus.

So for me, now, when I find myself going to fear, I say to myself, "Thank you, self, for the reminder that I am human." I turn the fear into gratitude. I smile inside, and then I relax into the gratitude I feel in the present moment. And another lesson of fear for me is to remind me to bring my attention back to the present moment. And then to I ask myself, "How do I feel in THIS moment?" Because this is the moment that matters, the one that I live my life in, the one that I love in, the one that I am cured in.

One of the tricky things about a diagnosis is that is it easy to 'buy into' what the doctors tell you a diagnosis means. It means this or that will happen. It is easy to worry, to be fearful about the future. To believe that something is wrong inside, and to become attached to that way of thinking about what is going on in your body. That this or that is happening and always will be. But doctors only know about the physical body. They know the mind has power (such as in how well the placebo effect can work), but they do not know how much power there is in the human mind. Doctors do not and cannot know how much magic the human spirit can work, or what miracles the Divine can manifest.

So now I let fear teach me to be present in the moment. And I let fear teach me to be grateful for being human. And for being alive. I allow fear to be present in my life, not as something to be afraid of, but as something to learn from. I am making friends with fear.

For me, healing is about the acceptance and embracing of what is. And having faith in magic and miracles. And believing that in every moment anything is possible. It is about trust and patience, and about being willing to wait. Even if I feel afraid. For this, too, shall pass.

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