Archive

Jul 20

What I Learn From Fear

I have a confession to make – I have struggled with the fear of flying for over 12 years, since the birth of my daughter. Seems that bringing a new being into the world and being responsible for her created a deeper reverence for life… and an intensified fear of death.

For many years, I avoided flying at all costs. If I had to fly, my palms would break out into a cold sweat anytime we came upon even mild turbulence. I’d shiver and white knuckle my way through it, trying to hide any signs from my daughter if she was with me.

But after several years of being limited to the ground, the mental and physical decline of my mother on the east coast necessitated more visits – and more flights. It was time to deal with my fear of flying head-on. Continue Reading »

Sep 07

Out on a Limb

Posted in: Aliveness, Courage, Fear, Freedom, Openness, Risk | Comments Off on Out on a Limb

2016-09-04 001 003There was a book written by Shirley MacLaine by that title, back in the 80’s – you may remember it if you’re old enough. One of the first new age/spiritual books that I read, and it deeply touched me.

As the name implies, she was writing about going in a direction most people don’t go – in her case, into spiritual and psychic phenomena. I am relating to the title in a different way, though, right now. Perhaps a bit more literally. Continue Reading »

Jun 11

Steps to Santosha

Posted in: Awareness, Challenges, Choices, Contentment, Emotions, Fear, Presence | Comments Off on Steps to Santosha Tags: , , , , , , ,

Stairway at Sugar PineWe all have times when we’re faced with fears or challenges. It’s part of life.

But sometimes those challenges seem overwhelming. Our minds blow them up into crises, replaying the many terrifying, possible scenarios over and over again in our minds, until we become agitated, anxious, or immobilized.

Are any of those scenarios actually happening? Chances are pretty good that they aren’t. But our bodies do not know the difference. When the mind creates images and thoughts that are fearful, our bodies react with the same chemicals that are produced when we are faced with a true threat to our life.

Which means that we are creating unnecessary stress and trauma in our minds, with little or no basis in reality. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Continue Reading »

May 03

Anger is Unspiritual (NOT!)

Posted in: Action, anger, Authenticity, Choices, Empowerment, Energy, Fear, Judgment, Right Action | Comments Off on Anger is Unspiritual (NOT!) Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

lightningIt’s quite common in spiritual circles to put down anger. Anger is bad, they say. Or anger is unenlightened. We must transcend our anger. We must think loving, good thoughts, and put all that anger out of our mind.

Hogwash.

Saying that anger is bad, whether it’s tacit or directly stated, is just another way that we beat ourselves up and deny our truth and empowerment. It’s an easy way to judge and criticize ourselves or others for anything less than perfect behavior. Continue Reading »

Apr 07

Which Path Will You Take? What to Do When Faced With Fear

Posted in: Action, Choices, Courage, Empowerment, Fear, Illusion, Right Action, Tolerance, Transformation, Trust | Comments Off on Which Path Will You Take? What to Do When Faced With Fear

Everyone deals with difficulties in life. Sooner or later, something scares us. It may be the aging process, a snake, the fear of rejection, or a dwindling bank account.

Gone are the days when we have to worry about lions chasing us (unless, of course, you live in Kenya). Fear has become more subtle. In the words of Kristin Neff, PhD, author of Self-Compassion, now our fears arise not just from dark alleys or sounds that go bump in the night, but from “threats to our self-concept” – the idea of who we think we are. Yet, they end up causing similar levels of stress in the body as that lion chasing us. The fear that runs us, day in and day out, is the fear that we’re unlovable, of being bad, wrong, or a failure.

React or Respond

When we are faced with fear, we have two possible choices: react or respond. When we react, we allow fear to run us, to control our emotions, our actions, our words. But when we respond, we transform a moment of fear into a moment of empowerment.

What is a fear reaction? When we are exposed to a traumatic situation, there are three reactions that occur: fight, flight, and freeze (see Waking the Tiger by Peter Levine). The kind of fear I’m referring to, however, isn’t life or death situations, although learning how to respond rather than react in those is very helpful. In our day-to-day lives, it is the little fears – the perceived threats to our self-concept – that disempower us and cause us to react.

It is in these little fears that we have the opportunity to change our lives. And we see three similar reactions to those little fears: fight, flight, and freeze. Continue Reading »