BY SHAWNA FORTIN
Fear is a mysterious force, often cleverly disguised as anxiety, distress, anger, impatience, etc. It can be tricky to get to the bottom of it as it’s so slippery and manipulative. I know, for I’ve spent most of my life in a constant state of agonizing dread, a perpetual, nagging hum used to accompany my every waking moment. I didn’t know what “it” was, I just knew that it was always there, holding me back from doing the things I longed to do.
As I consciously advanced in my quest to know myself, it became painfully clear just how much of me was shrouded in this uncomfortable, cumbersome cloak of darkness. This, in itself, terrified me, for I knew that in order to release myself from it, I would have to face it.
I would have to develop the courage to engage in those considerations and actions that would lift this perpetual veil from my malnourished heart. This knowing scared me beyond words, yet I was willing to do whatever was required to banish it from my life. I understood intrinsically that it was the only way out.
In order to change, we can first notice what it is that we believe no longer serves our higher purpose.
We can accept that if we wish to move forward, to release ourselves from suffering, we will need to acknowledge the source of our pain.
This is often the most challenging step on the journey to freedom. You see, we can become so attached to our story of who we believe we are, that we are afraid to let it go, lest we find ourselves lost without our falsely perceived inner compass. We may determine that without our affliction, we are empty, vacuous, blank.
Begin by engaging with life. For me, I was certain that everyone disliked me simply because I disliked myself. When I got down to it and really investigated this belief with my heart, I realised that I didn’t like myself simply because I did not have the courage to honour my soul. I didn’t realise that this malady affects most people on our planet. I didn’t know that most of us hide our innermost, precious depths behind a flimsy, public facade that we have cultivated to protect ourselves. But what are we attempting to safeguard ourselves from?
Love is all that matters. This Herculean force can literally move mountains of doubt from our minds, clearing a safe passage for our hearts to emerge into our world. This is how we engage with life. We open our hearts to everyone and everything. We learn to become curious rather than fearful. We allow ourselves to try new experiences. We encourage positive change, especially in the ways in which we think about ourselves. This one shift in perception will nourish an entirely new and beautiful life for you.
Once I decided to just be “me”, I had to dig really deep to figure out who I was. Without all my stuff, what was left? I found that I was much lighter. I cultivated the ability to really listen to others. When I felt safe with who I was, it didn’t matter what others thought of me. It was my opinion of myself that became my solid foundation.
By living this way, I learned to hear and honour the voice of my soul. In so doing, I was able to perceive the truth in others. Life began to be much more transparent and a lot less frightening.
When we engage with life from our heart, everything desires to open up to us for it, too, feels safe.
There is a sense of confidence that develops within which is then reflected without. I went from someone who had very few friends to one who has many. Instead of hiding from the world, I found that I am quite social and engaging. I love connecting with others on a soul level.
In order for any of us to achieve this, we need to do so first with ourselves. To engage with our heart and soul. To trust that in this space, all answers to diminish fear can be located and employed.
If we really want to be free, we can realise that this is a sentiment that requires an open heart. When we make our deepest self accessible to life, life offers its most exquisite treasures to us. For free.
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends Tears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment.
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