I was listening intently to someone sharing about a deep fear they were experiencing. As I recall they actually stated that it was a deep they “were having.” While staying present to what this person was saying I also recognized that a subtle something was moving inside of me that was equal parts startling and liberating. It first presented itself as the awareness that I rarely find myself in an experience of fear anymore. I do not claim to be totally free of fear. It just isn’t something that has its hold on me very often.
As the awareness continued to unfold I could feel how after many years of persistent practice and committed emotional work what has shifted is that I no longer fear the experience of fear itself. That is really the miracle.
I was fear bound for much of my life. It is only from this current perspective that I realize that I was not only imprisoned by fear. That was its own type of hell. I was also profoundly fearful of the internal experience of fear. It left me feeling so vulnerable, out of control, anxious. Yes, anxious. That is it. My profound fear of fear resulted in the experience of anxiety.
From this anxious place I became a spider hanging in the fear-based stories I was telling myself. I was telling dread-filled stories, scary stories. They were past-fueled stories with even more dire endings. I couldn’t seem to stop the spin. And so I spun the webs in consciousness and then caught matching circumstances in the webs of my own making.
What I feared the most was actually myself. The horrid things I told myself. I was scaring myself with what I was saying but was too lost in the fear to stop the narrative. And so I lived in fear of fear.
I don’t live that way anymore. I have stopped telling myself stories that scare me. I have forgiven enough of my past that it doesn’t fuel my present or get projected into my future. I have enough internal space to watch and not get caught in believing my narrative.
But mostly my freedom comes from having moved beyond the fear of fear. I have become friendly with it. I do not see it as an enemy. In fact, I welcome it as a guiding friend. When I simply lean into it there is always gold to be gleaned. When I move with the energy there is guidance to be had. Embracing the fear I no longer find myself anxious or in knots. I may still have an experience of fear but it no longer has me.
As with any uncomfortable emotion as soon as I release the resistance the energy is free to move in and through me. It is indeed possible to make fear a friend. I know. I have done just that. And though it is a friend that only pays an occasional visit I have learned to welcome it when it shows up. And with every visit if always leaves a gift.