Fear is...False Evidence Appearing Real. This acronym does a nice job of zeroing in on what most of our fears are really about. We often tell ourselves stories that simply are not true, and these "stories" get in our way. We can become intoxicated by our stories and our fears.
On a basic level fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger...if we didn't feel it, we couldn't protect ourselves from legitimate threats. But, all too often we fear situations that are far from life-or-death, and thus hang back for no good reason. Traumas or bad experiences can trigger a fear response within us that is hard to squelch. These experiences start early on when we are young children and continue throughout our lives...layer, by layer, by layer we build up stories and fear. We take fear from the past and reorganize and recreate it in the present and project it onto the future.
Fear is unbelief, fear is rooted in self. When you are fearful you are not in alignment with God, with the Universe, with Spirit. Gabrielle Bernstein states, "The presence of fear is a sure sign that you're relying on your own strength. A sure sign that we have disconnected from the presence of our power, it is a sure sign that we have disconnected from the connection that we have to spirit. When you realize that you are operating in fear and relying on your own strength, you feel scared, lost, anxious, controlling, isolated, trapped, stuck, weak...leaking your power." She goes on to say that, "When you witness that you are in fear, you can open up to a strength far greater than yours through very simple words. Even by just saying 'I surrender'. That's enough to open the invisible door. We surrender what we think we know."
Fear is the opposite of love. Marianne Williamson in her book A Return to Love says, " Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we have learned here. The spiritual journey is the relinquishment, or unlearning, of fear and the acceptance of love back into our hearts. Love casts out sin or fear the way light casts out darkness."
Another amazing quote from Marianne Williamson's book A Return to Love, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are POWERFUL beyond measure. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually who are you not to be? You are a child of God. It is our LIGHT, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that others won't feel insecure around you. We are ALL made to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in EVERYONE. And as we let our lights shine, we unconsciously give permission to others to do the same. As we are LIBERATED from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
Another way to put it is fear is synonymous with ego. Ego is that fear-based voice that shows up and keeps us small and keeps us stuck. We can think our way out of the fear and see the insanity of it and detach from it. One way to do this is to name the fear and then identify all of the reasons why the fear is insane/untrue/outrageous and laugh at it. A Course in Miracles calls this laughing at the ego's tiny mad ideas. This way you can reframe the script, so you can tell a new story.
Another powerful tool to help us brave the hot mess and not succumb to fear is to pray. Prayer opens us up to creative solutions and possibilities through surrendering. Surrender what we think we know and we will open up to the flow of the Universe and all things will be possible.
I like to think of Braving the Hot Mess as facing and walking through the challenges of life, the uncertainty, by focusing on love, gratitude, forgiveness, grace, acceptance and surrender. Remembering to get out of our own way, to have faith and trust and to step into our power, so that others around us will be inspired to do the same.