The Gift of Fear: Returning to our Spiritual Roots

Image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons via Dave Reichart
Image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons via Dave Reichart

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve talked about fear. I talked about becoming friendly with our fears, and how I overcame my intense fear of death. Today I want to talk about how fear can be a reminder to us that we are not living the lives we were meant to live.

Though my fear of death is now behind me, I still grapple with fear, mostly surrounding my health.  In a previous post, I joked about being a hypochondriac (see Hypochondriac’s Unite), but this past summer I was faced with a serious health condition.

On July 30th I had a bilateral mastectomy. The surgery was painful (obviously) and the recovery was fraught with complications, some more serious than others. For weeks on end, it was literally one thing after another. I began to wonder if I would ever feel like myself again.

Before the surgery I worked full time, worked out regularly, and practiced meditation. I tried my best to focus on the present moment, stepping outside my thoughts as often as I remembered to do so. I was calm. Peaceful. Centered.

But during the two months I was home, I was alone much of the time and I became focused on my pain. Even when I had a good day, I wondered what was going to happen next. And by the time I returned to work, I was I was fraught with apprehension.

Was I ready? Would something else go wrong? I’d lived in a quiet little bubble for so long that even the slightest stimulation caused me extreme anxiety. And, when I tried to return to work two years ago after a long bout with pneumonia, I ended up in the emergency room. Twice. The first time via ambulance.

Would the same thing happen again?

Luckily, it didn’t. The first day back to work was good. So was the second. But then, about a month after returning to work—when the pain was pretty much gone (with tissue expanders there is always some level of pain)—I realized that I was still worrying, certain that something else would happen.

Over the past few years, since I discovered Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth and began applying it’s spiritual principles in my life, I’ve come to learn that when I feel out of sorts, when I start to live inside my head, letting my thoughts control me, I know it’s time to reconnect with my spiritual roots. To get reconnected with the world around me.

The Gift of Fear A New Earth

And so, I dusted off the audio version of A New Earth, popped it in the CD player, and an instant calm came over me. I once again began noticing the outside world, in all its’ autumnal splendor, and I stopped worry about what might go wrong.

It still amazes me what a powerful force fear can be in our lives. It can keep us from living the life we should be living. Lives that are filled with joy and a sense of calm despite the hectic, fast-paced world in which we live.

Let fear be a reminder to all of us that we are more than our thoughts and that, when our thoughts begin to control our lives and we lose our sense of balance, it’s time for a walk in nature, or a yoga class, or whatever it is that brings you peace.

What about you? How do you keep a sense of calm and well-being in this crazy, hectic world? I want to know! I love hearing from you. And to prove it, for every comment you leave, you’ll be entered into a drawing. At the end of the month, I will draw a lucky winner who will receive a $10 gift card (your choice, Amazon, Starbucks or iTunes). Winners will be announced in the first post of the following month.

8 comments on… “The Gift of Fear: Returning to our Spiritual Roots”

  1. What a great blog! You are always so inspiring! How do I get past fear? I’m not sure. Exercising helps and so does writing. I give my characters ten times more trouble than I have, and then let them muddle their way through. I guess in the end I remind myself, that “thoughts are chosen.”

    • I love the last part, “thoughts are chosen.” It reminds me of a line in A New Earth that says something like, “nothing in life is either good or bad . . . thinking makes it so.” If you really think about it, it’s so true. Thanks for being such a loyal reader, Marianna!

  2. Another great post, Suzanne. I find over the years I fear less as I accept that I’m not really in control of my life (ultimately). Then again, I’ve never had a crisis that’s knocked me to my knees. I may have mentioned this before, but my goal this year was to go to bed every night stating 5 things that went well or were special to the day, and 5 people to pray for. It’s been a wonderful thing to add to my life. As I focus on gratitude and prayer, while life is pretty status quo, I can only hope I can do the same when I’m knocked to my knees. The strongest people I know are the ones who’ve gotten back up again and again.

    • I love that, Nancy. I learned about practicing gratitude from Oprah, but I love the idea of adding on a prayer for 5 people. It’s tough getting up when you’re knocked to your knees. And I’ve learned that it’s okay to stay down on them for a while before picking yourself back up.

  3. I usually find the peace and beauty of nature to be a balm to my anxious soul. Certain things especially; trees, the ocean, sunshine. It’s good to be reminded to be aware of your surroundings every day. Reminds us that we are but a mere speck in the grand scheme of things.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  4. Suzanne, i love how you are giving us, your readers, such great subjects to think about. Thanks for your insightful and soul-baring writing! I’ve also found that fear finds me when I’m focused too much on “me”! So I find 3 things help straighten me out- sharing time and feelings with a friend (or sister), singing out loud, saying a simple 2 word prayer- “thank you”!
    Hugs to you and keep up the great work Suz!

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