When I tell people about my solo time in the Arizona wilderness last March, they ask, “Weren’t you afraid?”
Yes. During the days that preceded my going out, I was afraid. The first night out, I was also afraid. And I sat with myself that night, observing the fear, asking myself what, exactly, I was afraid of.
For some reason I was not afraid of rattlesnakes, scorpions, or gila monsters, the only really dangerous things I might run into. We had learned to deal with them, learned to read their body language, learned how to take precautions. I was prepared for them.
The answer was quite simple. I was afraid of all the things I imagined could go wrong. Maybe a skunk would wander in and spray all over me. Maybe some crazed man would cross the river, find and assault me.
My imagination had run away with me and the things that I feared were highly improbable. Realizing this calmed me and, for the rest of my 3 day solo, I no longer felt afraid.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with fear. It is a very important emotion, it has saved people’s lives over and over again. However, it can also take over and rule our lives. Fear that we will lose our income, lose our source of security. Fear that we will lose love, that we will lose those we love. Fear that our emotions will send us into a bottomless pit.
And we let the fear cramp us up, make us rigid, and keep us from living wholeheartedly.
When we step out of our cramp and examine these fears for what they are, we find out that they are all in our imagination. There isn’t anything to be afraid of. When we let go of our fears, we find ourselves capable of love, joy, and truth. Capable of movement and growth.
Have you learned to let go of fear and find movement in your life?