Fear will follow each and every decision to make changes in our life. It will be there because it’s our guide. It helps us know when to turn left to avoid repeating what we’ve done a hundred times before in trying to make everyone happy. This guide encourages us to stop, so we can give ourselves time to remember forgotten talents or skills hidden in daily routines. At the crossroads of life, fear reveals dead-end destinations, so we can recognize the paths that lead to something absolutely new. Old fears remind us of our past and give us the opportunity to go in the opposite direction, into our future.
For me, fear is a mass of energy crackling and tumbling off the corner of my right shoulder, at least most of the time. I have also found it scurrying out in every direction to find reasons and proof to help me stay with what is familiar. I used to turn my shoulder against my fears, thinking that ignoring them was the same as them not existing. I was wrong. They just got louder and more persistent because, after all, they are there to protect me, even from myself.
Then I had my first memory of the sexual abuse I’d experienced as a child. At forty-two, my world was turned upside down and inside out. That’s when I first “saw” my fear and invited it into my awareness. I suggested that we work together and face the past, so I could embrace the future. My fear responded by changing from a gray and black vibrating mass to twinkling, dancing, purple energy. It occurred to me my fear had taken the form of courage.
Fear can do that, you know… when you embrace it and share your challenge… when you invite it to participate… when you sit with it and remember your strength and personal power… when you make plans with it, deciding just how, together, you are going to face the situation or changes before you.
By creating a physical image of our fears, talking to them, seeing them sitting next to us, letting them take a shape or color that feels solid, we can begin transforming their effect on our choices. They will no longer feel like mosquitoes biting our ankles, leaving evidence of their presence, but not giving us a chance to protect our best intentions. In the act of making our fears concrete and visual, we tap into our courage. Then we can say, “I’m afraid and I can do this.”
Whether our fears hover like ghosts, sit like rocks in the bottom of our stomach, or swirl through our minds like tornadoes, we can learn to recognize their empowering presence in the changes we want for lives.