Tuesday, June 7, 2011

#2 Fear Defined

Fears. What do they look like? How do they show up? Are they the same for everyone?

Apparently not, but that doesn't mean we don't all have them.

I researched our worst fears and found everything from a to z...
  • snakes
  • being alone for the rest of my life
  • ants
  • not being able to raise my family in this financial climate
  • death
  • cancer
  • clowns
  • big dogs
  • being on a plane and getting sick (if you can relate, see the My Fearless Flyer Audio Program.  I created this one just for you...)
  • being in a house on fire
  • getting lost
  • heights
  • getting old
  • spiders
  • deep water
  • the dark
  • being without emotion for anything in life 
  • losing my children 
  • getting a disease 
  • losing respect for myself
  • mice

Read more here
for a full selection from some folks who submitted their top five.

Lest you think any of this is marginal compared to your own fears, or that fears get more - or less - "real" with age, I came across this study on a website called Building Church Leaders that cited 10 of the worst fears of today's youth:

Fear # 1: "Something bad may happen to my family."
Fear # 2: "I can't get a good education."
Fear # 3: "I will not be able to make it financially."
Fear # 4: "I (or someone I know) will be a victim of violence or crime."
Fear # 5: "Peer pressure scares me."
Fear # 6: "I can't tell right from wrong."
Fear # 7: "I cannot find time to do everything."
Fear # 8: "I feel like I have to have sex to be accepted."
Fear # 9: "Someone I know or love will die of AIDS (maybe me!)."
Fear # 10: "I will never have a happy marriage and family."  
It's heartbreaking.  And that's the point. These fears tap into the deepest well of human experience. When looking for solutions, I know we are most able when we see the mind-body-spirit connection in everything we experience.  No fear is trite. None are meaningless.  Each has a deep message in the journey of self discovery and in our search for authenticity.

As with any journey, we must know where to begin - how to take the first step. We can start by identifying fear even - especially - when we have no solution. Our own particular fears are the gateway to our experience of faith, and that is a matter of the heart.

Just for today - spend a moment with your journal...what do your fears look like?     

Once you have your list, consider this insight from the wise teacher Pema Chodron:

“Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.”

More from me on that idea as we continue this series.  Meanwhile, what does facing fear look like to you?

In service,

photo credit: Bob Alba

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