Janine's Articles From the Soul From the Outside Poetry Corner Prisoner Letters

SIGHT UNSEEN
Issue 88

As another year comes to a close, I feel ready for another growth spurt.  Life has always seemed to go this way for me.  Once in a while, I feel the need for change, I find something that excites me, I jump into it, then I coast for a while until the next time comes when I feel the need for change.

It’s made for a very lovely life, with ups and downs that I wouldn’t change for anything in the world.  Yes, even the worst times brought with them so many gifts that I cannot imagine my life today if I had not gone through them. I cannot imagine my life if I had allowed my fears to keep me from the choices I made along the way.

Although, come to think of it, there are quite a few times I have let my fears stop me.  I don’t think I could remember them all even if I tried and I know for a fact I do NOT want to try.  It’s not easy to see myself as too much of a coward to live my life as fully as I would have done had I not let my fears control me.

I don’t know if it’s just me but I’m seeing a lot of people going through particularly difficult times right now.  And the worst times seem to be when we fear the future for whatever reason.

Fear, such a paralyzing feeling.  I love these two acronyms for FEAR:

F##k Everything And Run

Feeling Excited And Ready

Think about it for a second.  Don’t you agree that the physical feeling in our gut is the same with fear is as it is with excitement?  Do you find this as amazing as I did when I first had this realization?

So the difference between fear and excitement is not the the feeling itself but what is happening in our heads, the story we’re telling ourselves about what is happening.

Well, I can hear you say, “There’s nothing new in that thought, Janine.  We’ve always known fear is about what we understand of any situation.  Give us something more than just that!!!”.

And you would be absolutely correct. There is nothing new in that thought of mine.  But it just made me start to think what I get scared about.  And, it surprised me to realize, my fears were never about what was happening now, but what I feared would happen in the future.

I’ll give you an example.  I have a fear of heights.  When I went to the Grand Canyon, I was asked to sit close to the edge for a picture to be taken.  I could not walk there.  I had to sit down and then scoot a bit closer, than a bit closer, until I could not make myself go any closer.  I certainly wasn’t going to sit at the edge and let my legs dangle there.  Gosh no!!!

But my fear of height is not a fear of height.  It’s really a fear of falling, isn’t it?  And I realized I fear falling all the time.  Living in snow country, I’ve slipped on ice many, many times and the fear of falling gets quite overpowering.

I fell a few times, of course, and lo and behold when I had my butt on the ground, I realized falling wasn’t so bad....even when I hurt myself doing it.

I feel the same thing would apply to other situations as well.  If someone pulled a gun on me, I would fear getting hurt.  If I were shot, then I would fear being shot again, or dying from my wound but I would not fear being hurt as I would already be hurt.  I would fear being hurt again or being killed.  But the reason for my initial fear would have changed although the change may not be noticeable, especially considering the adrenaline that would be pumping through me.

I cannot think of one fear that only involves the NOW and not something that could happen in the future, even the immediate future.

So I have to conclude that fear is about expecting something terrible to happen.  It is not about what is happening now, regardless of whether we see a roaring lion running towards us or getting close to the edge of a cliff.

What if we believed that things would always work out for our best?  What if we believed that we can handle anything life has to offer?

What if we could accept our future sight unseen?

That would take a great deal of trust, wouldn’t it?  Not worrying about it.  Not feeling we had to plan for it, prepare for it, protect ourselves from the dangers that could be hiding around every corner.

We would, once again, eternally it seems, have to grab hold of our EGO and put it aside, not allowing it to dictate our actions.  Ego is all about the first acronym for FEAR I spoke about before.  It wants us to react in fear but running from it.  It wants us to accept that whatever we fear is stronger than we are, has to be avoided at all cost, and if it cannot be avoided, then at least we must fight against it with everything in us.

When we live like that, ego is in control.  Ego loves fear.  It feeds off of it and feeds it constantly. When ego rules, fear controls.

 

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So what can we do about that?

This time of year is a wonderful opportunity for us to face what our fears have done to us in the last year.

What did I fail to do because I was afraid of something like ....

-not being good enough

-not deserving the best life can offer

-what people will think if I fail

-who I will be if I drastically change what I do

-losing the friends I have now if they don’t accept the changes I want to make.

-getting hurt

-feeling unsure of myself in a new venture

and so on....and so forth.  I’m sure you can think of many more fears you have allowed to stop you from making a change you felt in your gut would be exciting.

I believe that one very powerful way to deal with our fears is to live in the present moment.  See what is in front of us and not dwell on what the future will bring.  When the future comes, it will be in another present moment and will be dealt with then.  But the future rarely looks like what we fear it will.

Has this ever happened to you?  Did you ever fear something terrible would happen and it didn’t?   I’m remembering the almost panic-like feeling that spread like wild fire in late 1999 when we thought the computers world-wide would not be able to deal with the change from 1999 to 2000.  That terrifying event was called Y2K and many people thought the world would lose their computers/internet and all corresponding way of life.  It was terrifying.


But nothing happened.

Does this mean I think we should stop planning for the future?  No, it doesn’t.  I simply believe that our plans should be very, very flexible.  Planning is great fun but as John Lennon put it in a song to his son, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”  I’m sure you’ve all felt the truth of that more than once.

So, my advice?  Be honest with yourself about your fears.  Face them with the intent of walking right through them to the other side.  That is where you will find the peace that comes from accepting what is. That is the perspective from which you know you will accept your future...Sight Unseen.

Happy and Blessed Holidays

and a wonderful and peaceful 2016