“When we’re not aware of our fear,
it takes residence in every area of our lives.”
~ Gabrielle Bernstein
While feeding Lilianna in the middle of the night, an article on Twitter caught my eye. I clicked on it, eager to find out “How to Reduce Fear and Anxiety about Disease and Death.”
With all that’s gone on over the last 20 weeks — the terrifying complications after her birth, multiple ER visits, a blood clot in my leg — along with past health-related traumas and the gastroparesis, I readily admit that I have a little anxiety about my well-being.
Of the ten tips presented in the article, it was this one that struck me:
10. Trust the Universe. As A Course In Miracles teaches, fear is the opposite of love, and the two can’t coexist. Essentially, by letting fear and anxiety run the show, you’re telling the Universe you don’t trust that whatever happens is in the highest good for all beings. Letting go of fear and anxiety is the ultimate show of faith… Let go of the handle. Surrender. Trust.
I kept thinking about these words as I drifted back to sleep. In that space between being awake and being asleep, the space where our filters relax and the thoughts we don’t want to think seep through, it occurred to me that I have more than “a little anxiety.” Fear is indeed running the show and it has taken up residence in every area of my life.
Fear of not being a good mom, a good wife, a good daughter, a good coach. Fear of judgement. Fear of never being totally “well.” Fear of dying.
Having Lily has shown me how quickly time goes by and I’ve already given so much of that precious time over to fear. That realization didn’t feel good.
So I thought about the flip side. What if I did let it go? Surrender. Trust. Knowing that I’m perfectly capable of handling whatever comes my way. What would that feel like?
The words that came to mind were peace, lightness, relief. Physically, I found myself taking a deep breath. A really deep cleansing breath. It felt good.
And right then I got a pain in my calf where the blood clot had been. As if the fear was digging in, saying “you can’t get rid of me that easily!” I know, of course, that it’s not going to be that easy. It’s going to take time, attention, and effort, but the glimpse I had of the flip side — that one deep breath — made me realize it’s worth it.
Now I’m not talking about not making good choices or doing everything I can to improve my situation, of course. Just about recognizing that what happens in life is, in many ways, beyond my control and living in constant fear of what might happen doesn’t change that.
Unlike matters of diet or nutrition, or even coming to terms with the hand we’ve been dealt, it’s hard for me to talk about this. To put it out there for you and everyone else to see. But I’m doing it because I know I’m not alone.
For you it might not be the same fears. Maybe you’re afraid of being sick forever. Afraid of pain or discomfort. Of feeling lonely or different. Maybe you’re afraid of what others will think or say. Afraid of letting people down. Maybe you’re afraid to admit that things aren’t going so well. Or that if you admit things are going well, they’ll go worse.
Here’s the real question: is fear keeping you stuck somewhere you don’t want to be?
If you suspect the answer is yes, the first step is to recognize it. Name it. Know that it’s there and that you do have a choice in the matter. You can choose to address what’s in your control, and let the rest go. Surrender. Trust.
It’s not easy, but I’m right there with you and this is another journey we can navigate together. If you want to talk more about this, head over to my Facebook page.