Sending Strong
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Sending Strong

What is Fear Here to Teach You?

Photo by Vikalp on Unsplash

Ever have the deja vu experience where you realize you are living the same experience only there are different actors in the play? You know, you yet again have racked up the credit card from a seemingly pure place and are sitting there contemplating how to make enough money to get back to balance. Or maybe you find yourself dating a partner with the same similar strong silence that your vision has transformed from an attractive characteristic to something insanely frustrating and distant.

There is a fear that has gotten you there again. A deep seated fear that is driving your choices in a very strong intention to get you what you long for. You see, we all live by intention for something. If I am hungry and I head to the grocery store, I intend to satiate my hunger. Simple example.

The tricky part comes when we are hungry, in the grocery store and see the less healthy, but immediately satiating food that will also taste great, but will probably not be the best consumption of caloric choice. Rather than selecting fruits or vegetables, we are being pulled by the smell of warm deep fried potatoes. Our intention to enjoy what we eat may start to overcloud our desire for nutrition and weight control.

Like the above example, this happens all the time and in a variety of ways. We look for a job in an area that we find inspiring, where we can connect with like minded individuals and support something we believe in. Then somewhere along the way the business becomes about helping us pay the bills and trim the fat of inefficiency. We no longer have as much time for connection and we are busy doing tasks that are moving us further from what gave us inspiration in the first place. We don’t leave because of the memory of starting with the right intention. And we may still have that intention, but somehow, it is no longer the primary purpose.

Somewhere along the way, fear stepped in and started pulling the strings. What does fear have to do with choosing french fries over apples? We fear missing out on pleasure. Seems like a small thing, but it is not really. Have you ever gone to a lecture or a meeting where you know you should turn OFF your phone and yet it was hard to not just put it on vibrate. Or leave home without your phone and consider how you could switch everything around to go back and get it? This is the fear of missing out.

If we use the work example, the fear is perhaps more related to safety. Having a roof over your head or the car you want, or both. Perhaps it is being able to afford the trips that will help you get through life since you find you work lacks fulfillment.

Consider what intentions are driving you right now. What is the intention in reading this article? Is it related to not wanting to do something else — in other words avoiding something? Or is it related to trying to relieve a feeling of anxiety and desire for life to be more fulfilling.

In Yoga, the great masters identified these desires, or primary intentions that drive us, as the kleshas. The kleshas are broken into five subcategories: raga (desire for pleasure also called attachment); devesha (avoidance of displeasure); avidya (ignorance); asmita (over identifying with your ego); abhinivesha (fear of death). When we are ignorant to our intentions or our desires (avidya), we act without choice, but out of habit. We may go to the grocery store when hungry and succumb one time to the french fries, but this now creates a stronger desire for the french fries the next time we go to the grocery store. If we have the french fries again, a rather harmless choice if we eat well the rest of the day we tell ourselves, we have yet again strengthened the potential for this to be the choice we make in the future. After all, we feel a pleasant experience when we eat the french fries, enjoying the taste and giving ourselves a little treat.

Perhaps for you, french fries are not the treat they may be for someone else. Just fill in the blank with your own “treat.” Or perhaps it is the choice to watch a movie rather than go for a run. Or to be that five minutes late because of one more stop on the way to work. Whatever the vice, it is a vice if it is done without real consideration of the consequence. The consequence being something that makes you feel a little bad about yourself. Or puts you in a position of defending your choice. You see, the choices that are for our higher good, need no defence. We are not at war with ourselves about them.

Continuing to work in the job that has lost some of the luster of inspiration is as a result, defended with the need for the pay check is giving you a message that you are at war with yourself. And you are at war with yourself about the job and it is time to open yourself to a change. Now, before you burn any bridges, this simply means to start to look at other opportunities. As I said, we are creatures of habit. Your current habit is the job you are in. To be open to leaving that opportunity or changing that opportunity means you need to be curious about whether there are other opportunities.

A little story of my own… I have had a few years of wondering if my job is merely a habit. And a habit I have fought for and won, but a habit none-the-less, with definite moments that are inspiring and some that are absolutely incongruent. And I too had been defending myself for a number of months. Then, these wise words came to me in a heart breaking way… step out of the shadows. I was trying to be open to this all around me. I had started a job substitute teaching, stepping back into the classroom after 20 plus years. I had applied for and gotten two teaching term positions. All because I was willing to stay curious about what other opportunities might be out there for me.

I will acknowledge my faith in this process was waning. Sure I had more opportunities, but I was driving around like a wild woman trying to meet all these commitments. And then the wild woman had a fender bender that was now going to cost her more than she was making. Sigh…

My intention is and was to feel safe. And one of the ways I was trying to feel safe was to make money. A good friend said to me, you always think you don’t have enough. You have this scarcity mindset. You are like someone else I know. And yet, this person makes more than me and should be comfortable, but he isn’t. I just trust that I will always have enough and I always find I have enough.”

I then embarked on consciously being aware of changing any scarcity thinking into abundance thinking. Sometimes this was quite a leap. But I paid attention. I intended and worked at changing my habit of trying to overcome scarcity and need to a habit of seeing abundance around me. Low and behold a more inspirational financial opportunity showed up out of the blue within a week.

As Wayne Dyer would say, that is the power of intention. It is essential that you begin to see the places where habit is winning. See the places where you want a different choice, one that will take you to a sense of inspiration. If it is about eating better, let it really be about feeling better, healthier, stronger. If your habits are about isolating yourself to avoid feelings of insecurity in large crowds, make it be about being brave and staying with yourself even in a large crowds.

The fear that is driving your choices is hear to wake you up to the underlying self destruction patterns. Fear is here to show you where you are still hiding yourself from the world. Fear is actually your teacher, nudging you to learn something new, about yourself, about the nature of the world. And fear is here to nudge you out of your comfort zone.

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A life well lived requires mindfulness, reflection, growth and connection.

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Heather D Reynolds

Heather D Reynolds

Climber, Adventurer, Yogini, Kinesiologist, Author, Teacher

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