The Challenge of Making Friends with Fear – Part I

Much of my commitment here is to document what I’m going through on the journey. There are times when I feel on top of the world and have incredible faith that I’m on the right path. Then there are times when I am scared and feel lost. I’ve been writing about the difference of pushing through and listening to our fears.

If it’s not obvious from these writings, my fear of not being able to support myself has been up a lot lately. This means I’m trying to figure out the practical considerations of paying my bills while moving forward to creating a life I love. As I look at finding employment to carry me through until I can build enough momentum as a writer and get some speaking gigs, I feel incredibly discouraged.

I’ve been having a hard time seeing any jobs that feel like they allow me to stay in integrity with living my dream. There’s also my suspicion that if I didn’t have needing to support myself as a motivation, I’d give this up completely and go unconscious again. Quite simply getting a “day job” feels like giving up.

The undercurrent that runs so strong in this process is my fear. This isn’t the kind of “feel the fear and do it anyway” stuff but the root survival anxiety. You see, I am doing it anyway, insofar as continuing to develop my website, building a Facebook community, writing and submitting articles. Yet there is this pesky discomfort keeping me awake at night and making it hard to take a deep breath some days.

Funny thing is, I am so good at giving other people advice but I often forget to follow it myself. Twice in the last week or so I’ve had friends who were struggling with difficult feelings. Both times I recommend they take some time to put their hand on their heart and talk to the part of them that feels that way.

We spend so much of our energy pushing away “bad” feelings that we forget: what we resist persists. The simple practice of stopping and making friends with our feelings doesn’t occur to us, especially when what we’re feeling is so uncomfortable. If I don’t want to feel it then I certainly don’t want to put any attention there.

Although I deeply believe that what we focus and put our attention on is what we create in our lives, I’m also convinced it’s necessary to acknowledge and listen to our feelings. This doesn’t mean getting stuck in them, but it does mean honoring them. They are here to give us a message and will usually stick around until we hear it.

I remember a time in my life where I had heartbreak over a relationship that didn’t work out. Whenever I would start to feel sad, I’d stop myself and mentally tell myself “choose a better feeling thought”. After a week or two of trying to do this (mostly unsuccessfully), I realized that I wasn’t honoring my grief. Yes, choosing a better feeling thought is a very important practice, but so is sitting with what we are feeling.

Since I’m aware of how sometimes I just skim writings because I’m too busy to read the entire article, I’ll write more about this later. The conclusion of this conversation touches on an interesting paradox between honoring parts of ourselves and having a non-dualistic philosophy. I look forward to continuing the dialogue …