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4 Tips for Dealing With Fear

Photo by EDUARDO IZQUIERDO
Fear: False Evidence Appearing Real. ~Unknown

From the minute I woke up yesterday, I was consumed by fear. The fear had no clear face, and I couldn’t tell what had sparked it or how it might be tamed from a blazing fire to a small flame.

It left me with a gnawing pit in my stomach, which I recognized as guilt and anxiety. Everything from that point forward felt off and out of place.

I couldn’t see that nothing in the present moment was wrong, only that the immediate future was unsure, and I had lost my firm grip on the control I believed I had.

So I attacked.

The Art of Detachment & Surrender

Photo by EDUARDO IZQUIERDO
When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. ~Buddhist Proverb

I wasn’t in the best of spirits when I walked into my local yoga studio for class on that blustery Monday evening. A slew of perceived problems, large and small, were spinning through my mind. I felt frustrated, helpless, and most of all, lost.

I wanted direction and guidance; I longed for the smallest bit of certainty that the decisions I’d had to make earlier would be the right ones. And when I considered relaxing and surrendering, I was unable to do either.

I was trying to run away from myself and my troubled mind, but I wasn’t getting anywhere.

Ironically enough, I’d published a post earlier that day about the fact that we all struggle with runaway minds and hearts. I’d written about the ways in which we are tempted to disconnect — to rebel against the love that surrounds us always.

The post emphasized compassion, forgiveness and celebration — all the things I wasn’t offering myself as I began my yoga practice.

A Lesson on Being Vulnerable

Photo by Hannes Caspar
We want to know that we matter. We want to know that we were heard and that what we had to say meant something. ~Oprah Winfrey

I knew I should say something but the thought of opening my mouth to speak terrified me. I sat suffering silently to myself.

The longer I waited for him to pay attention to me, the more agitated I became. Anger, indignity and feelings of rejection spread through my body, heating every inch of me from within.

How dare he ignore me after I had come all this way to spend time with him? Did he expect me to sit here alone all night? How could he possibly not know I was angry?

When I finally mustered up enough courage to share my feelings with him he laughed, told me I was “pouting” and that he didn’t have the energy to help me deal with my “stuff.”

3 Ways to Stop Negative Thinking

Photo by Hannes Caspar
Judgments prevent us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearances. ~Wayne Dyer

I’ve spent the last week brooding over unexpected events that have transpired in my work and personal life, holing myself up in a darkened room contemplating all of the dire consequences said events will have on my present and future.

The same thoughts have been turning somersaults in my mind for hours on end, disrupting my sleep and pushing me to lash out when it’s entirely unnecessary and, sometimes, inappropriate.

In truth, I took situations that were completely neutral and transformed them in my mind to represent all kinds of gloom and doom. I’m beginning to see that jumping to conclusions is something I’m ridiculously good at — something I know needs to change.

The Art of Letting Go

Photo by Rosie Hardy
When the mind discovers that you are no longer afraid of its content, it will leave you alone.

There I was again — lying in bed paralyzed by emotion. Constant noise clamored for the attention of my awareness like an uninvited circus.

Calliope music screeched a cacophony of self-criticism as lions roared and circled below me, eagerly awaiting my plunge from the high wire after losing my delicate balance between safety and self-destruction.

What could I have done to deserve this?

I lay there, unable to move physically, but tortured by a violent mental fight that raged within me. My mind wrestled with intricate contortions in an attempt to keep its balance when what it really needed was stillness.

My consciousness kept trying to put out fire with fire, to silence thought with more thought. But these were only flames of a different color.

How to Stop Feeling Like a Victim

Photo by Eduardo Izquierdo
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. ~Dr. Seuss

I’m outing myself.

For many years I chose to live seeing mostly the fear and scarcity that I believed was controlling me.

I couldn’t make enough money. I couldn’t sustain a loving, healthy relationship for any length of time.  And my business wasn’t successful, even though I was running myself ragged, working nights, struggling to get my business operational during the day, and taking care of my daughter 24/7.

How to Ask for What You Want

Photo by Winona Grey
Excellence can be obtained if you care more than others think is wise, risk more than others think is safe, dream more than others think is practical, expect more than others think is possible. ~Unknown

In my quest to actively create a personal and professional life that offers me all the things and experiences I desire, I’ve begun to notice the discrepancy between what I believe I deserve and what I actually ask for.

My conscious mind is in tune with my greatest attributes and I feel as if I’ve always had some degree of appreciation for what I am capable of contributing to a relationship or a job. I believe that I am monetarily worth a significant amount.

Yet, when it comes to asking for what I believe I deserve, I state my bare minimum and offer it up for negotiation. Then, I brood over being completely unappreciated.

Confessions of a Perfectionist

Photo by Oleg Ti
When there are no enemies within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you. ~African proverb

Treating myself kindly is not something that comes naturally to me.

From a young age, I believed I needed to be perfect to be any good. It was probably a combination of my natural type A tendencies and my family environment. My younger brother had a lot of problems when he was a kid, struggled in school, and often acted out. He was always in trouble.

My parents were probably happy to have one child who made things easy for them. I always did well in school, always behaved, and always followed the rules.

Everything seemed great up through high school. I got straight A’s without studying too hard, excelled on my school’s water polo team, and was a respected leader in my class. I was accepted to go to college at Harvard, and thought I was pretty special.

Being a perfectionist caught up with me, though. When I got to Harvard, I was immediately knocked off my high horse by people much smarter and more talented than I was.

How to Set Goals with No Guilt

Photo by Shannon
When we’re in the grip of inspiration, an idea has taken hold of us from the invisible reality of Spirit. Something that seems to come from afar, where we allow ourselves to be moved by a force that’s more powerful than our ego and all of it’s illusions, is inspiration. ~Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Goal setting can be a great tool for achieving and improving different areas of your life. It can also be a source of frustration, disappointment and anxiety.

We’ve all heard of the traditional S.MA.R.T. guidelines for setting goals (making your goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely). It seems to be widely touted by personal development gurus and business professionals, however it may not be for every goal seeker.

A few years ago, I worked with a business coach to help me grow my business. I learned a lot, but I also experienced many negative feelings like the ones mentioned above.

When I didn’t meet my goals, I would get very down on myself. I felt like something was wrong with me. My self-esteem went completely down the tubes.

A Reason to Be Alive

Photo by Alex Stoddard
100 years from now - all new people. ~Anne Lamott

Think about that for a minute. Everyone in the world right now will be gone. Will they have left their mark — had an impact — made a difference? Maybe.

How much can one person matter when there are almost 7 billion people on the planet? At any rate, the people who remember them — were impressed by them, disgusted by them, helped by them, hurt by them, loved by them, hated by them — will all be gone, too.

What matters most to each of us is what happens to us today … here … now. The “long run” is of very little consequence. As Ms. Lamott points out — and as John Maynard Keynes is often quoted (out of context) as saying — in the long run, we’ll all be dead.

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