Facing your fears is not an easy feat, as I’m sure you well know. Fears are always based in the past and future. Even if a tiger is chasing you, fear kicks in at the future possibility of death.
Speaking of death, is this not the greatest fear? This is why the ego seeks to control, well, just about everything. This is also why many spiritual traditions have used confronting your own death as a spiritual initiation.
Death is inevitable, in all ways. This is because we live in a reality of cycles of change. We “hang on for dear life” to whatever tangible thing we can, be it material possessions, our beliefs, our daily habits, or our relationships.
Unfortunately, fear makes us vulnerable. It has us willing to give our power away to an outside source that promises life, or even everlasting life after death (such as Heaven). We don’t think too clearly or trust ourselves and the universe when enveloped by fear.
It’s easiest to just not confront those demons, and that little kid inside that is hiding to protect itself.
As the changes on this planet accelerate, we are awakening to the truth of the Void, the space that from the lens of fear seems to be an empty black abyss. This Void, sometimes called “Zero Point” contains ALL possibility. This includes fear, which is asking to be confronted when we go toward creating new possibilities. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been feeling an increased intensity of this “Void” energy. As November approaches, we have an opportunity to uplevel, meaning come into even greater harmony and alignment with the highest and best good and outcomes for all. This is NEW, meaning unknown and being created from the Void. So be compassionate with yourself as you may be experiencing some fear around the new and unknown, and also as you release the comfort of the old.
We start slowly and gently facing our fears. There’s nothing to rush toward or force, and more to be gentle and loving with. The loss, the grief, the trauma is not something to judge but also not something to ignore.
There is freedom available when we simply allow space to notice our fears. We hold the loving space to be honest about any fear that may arise. This comes from a detached perspective, you as the divine witness of it all, even as you notice the palpable experience of the fear. You notice yourself swimming in fear, yet also as the witness of that swimming.
One step at a time, our loving attention opens us to more freedom to go in the direction of our greatest dreams, not without fear, but despite the fear. We are aware of the fear, yet choose love and trust more powerfully than the fear. This means going in the direction of what we want MORE of, not less.
Recently, I had the gift of facing one of my own fears. I have been historically quite afraid of heights. About a month ago, I was in Moab, Utah with our off-road club. We were heading up a trail to a spot known as “Top of the World”. The picture on this post is one of the brave souls at this spot, not me of course. As the four-wheel drive vehicles made their way to the top, I decided to walk the last part up with our dog. I arrived about 10 minutes before everyone else. There I was, just Bailey the dog and me, as I stood about 10 feet from the edge of a cliff. I don’t remember ever being so high up on a cliff before. From cliff to ground is about 3000 feet. My body shook with fear, and I imagined the dog getting off the leash and running straight off the cliff. I breathed and noticed more. I noticed images of me falling off the cliff, and the pull to jump. I flashed on many dreams I’ve had of falling off a cliff. I breathed and noticed more.
I noticed this thought:
This is all an illusion. It is temporary. If I fell off this cliff, I would wake, just as from a dream, to a new place. This was no ordinary thought, but a knowing inside me without doubt, of my eternal nature.
Since this experience, I have been at some places I would normally experience fear of heights. In Arches National Park, I walked along a narrow path aside a drop off that might have normally illicited my fear of heights but did not. My husband began to notice that I wasn’t as afraid of heights. Just last week, we were at Horseshoe Bend in Page, Arizona. From cliff to the Colorado River is a mere 1100 feet. There I was, easily (and mindfully) walking up to the edge, just a couple feet from it. Wow! Right?? Next thing you know I’ll be able to sit and dangle my feet over the edge, as a friend did when we were on that 3000 foot high overhanging cliff in Moab!
So what happened that had me have such a shift, after a lifetime of fear? I actually confronted my fear. I didn’t try to make it go away, I just breathed and noticed. Most often, we will do anything to avoid experiencing our fears. Sometimes that is the most appropriate thing to do. Other times, you have the safe space, be it by yourself or with a loving witness, to actually go there.
I brought up fear of death because it is the most powerful universal fear we all have. You don’t need to go straight to that one. You go where you feel safest to begin. Fear of death has many layers, beyond this lifetime, to the universal experience of feeling separate from Source as we are sent out as Light for the Divine to experience itself, to have something to love. That’s the ultimate one, that we are separate. What did we do so wrong to be so rejected? Forward that to this lifetime, to those core wounds that say we are not enough, we don’t belong, or that we are broken. Hey, I’m just laying it out for you straight up, no pussy-footing around on this one.
Because when is enough enough? We are so comfortable in our illusion of protection, in living the lie that we ARE separate, and that we live on a dead planet to be used to fill ourselves up with material comforts that give us the illusion of stability and permanence when we know deep inside that we can’t take that with us when we die. Death takes on a different meaning when we face our fears and be honest with ourselves that we ARE eternal beings, that we ARE all Divine, each unique yet totally a part of a unified reality where EVERYTHING is GOD in its unending possibilities of expression.
There’s so much fear, I promise you you’ll never be in lack of getting to face it. Your loving attention heals. It is why you are here. All the fear, all the challenges, are here to have you evolve and grow! It’s okay to be honest with yourself and take a look, and also honor where you are ready to do so. You could start by looking at your negative judgments and anger, as they are quite a good indication of fear. Sometimes that’s an easier place to start than fear of death, of losing loved ones, of aging and disease, of grief and sorrow.
Being open to change can be scary! And boy is the world changing fast. Yippee! Who would have thought we’d be so AFRAID of the possibility that life can be fun, joyful, abundant, that we actually CAN create a planet where all beings thrive and are loved, respected and cared for? We are so accustomed to living in fear and looking for what’s bad and wrong that surely this kind of viewpoint is Pollyanna thinking. I think not. This post is about facing fears, not avoiding them and focusing only on positive thinking. Our loving attention, our trust in ourselves and the Divine, gives us the courage to be honest with ourselves and our fears. This attention heals, opening the space for our ability to create from an abundance of possibility instead of from the limits of our fears. It takes commitment and bravery to step outside the fear-based socially agreed upon limitations and go into a knowingness, a Field of possibility, that is beyond the mind, beyond show-me-the-proof, and beyond the scientific method and logic.
Be gentle on yourself, and on the people in your life that you see are in fear. We all cycle through fears. The choice is to notice more when those fears and reactions come up, and to lovingly be there for whatever we are experiencing. Then we are free to choose to trust even more, to open to the new, to go in the direction of seeing all there is to be grateful for and enjoy in this now moment. Maybe the Star Trek phrase, “…to boldly go where no man has gone before” is really about boldly loving and trusting more than anyone has loved and trusted before. All is healed, harmonized, unified and transformed with our loving compassion and attention.
We all want to be our best and brightest selves, to have a joyful abundant life and be of service to the world in a way that is fun and fulfilling.
Those on the conscious path of awakening, who lean into living a spiritual life, read books, take classes, and take on practices like meditation or yoga. We want guidelines, rules and practices that show us the way.
However, no amount of following the rules or seeking knowledge will fulfill the desire inside us that burns brightly, and at other times may feel stomped out completely. This is because no outside source can fulfill our calling to be connected to, in union with, our true divine nature.
Others can support us, guide us, remind us and inspire us, but can’t do it for us.
While immersing in different meditation practices, I remember reading the book, “A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life” by Jack Cornfield. One line struck me that I still remember today:
“Much of spiritual life is self-acceptance, maybe all of it.”
It can be easier to focus our attention outward, to aim toward being a good and right person by practicing being kind, compassionate and loving to others. This is important, powerful and transformative. We are all connected and mirrors for each other.
Human nature is such that it is easy to seek approval from others, and to think that someone knows better than us about how we should live our lives. The path of awakening involves becoming independent and self-empowered, learning the ropes from our parents and teachers, and then diving in on our own.
There are two aspects that lift us up, that truly heal on all levels, that I’d like to share today.
RELEASING SELF-DOUBT: TRUSTING YOURSELF
I’m sure you have been inspired by those who are confident and passionate about what they are up to. What you see in them, even if superficial, is the possibility of trusting yourself and going for your greatest dreams. This means, regardless of anyones’ opinion, that you make YOUR truth, your choices, your unique perspective, the priority.
No one has the answer to life’s biggest questions, and everyone has their opinion, be it backed by science, society, teachers, churches, personal experience, or anything else.
No one can force you to agree with them, even if you walk in a society that agrees with a limited reality that you, yourself, are awakening from.
Ultimately, releasing self-doubt is one of the most powerful aspects of awakening. It is freedom. It is Love.
What would your life look like, feel like, from moment to moment if you trusted yourself? If even in every “mistake”, you chose to trust that you are learning and growing? If you couldn’t get it wrong? If you didn’t compare yourself to anyone else, nor look for approval from anyone?
On the table is trusting yourself. And who is this YOU that you are trusting? It is Divine You, your soul, the YOU that is a spark of the Divine, as we all are. It is the You that can be the loving parent to that parts of you that are afraid and hurt.
Try on for one day putting your hand on your heart and declaring, “In this moment, I trust myself. I trust the Universe.”
No matter what you think, what you say, what you do, for that day you declare, “I trust myself.”
Oh, yes, doubt will come up, and by trusting yourself, you have the opportunity to lovingly notice the doubt, the fears, and address them directly. You give yourself space to love all of you, exactly as you are. It’s not one day, once you have the perfect body, job, relationship, knowledge, spiritual practices, or health. It’s right now, exactly as you are, trusting that all you are experiencing is a catalyst, a big push by yourself and the universe, to claim your power, your beauty, that you are a great gift to this world, exactly as you are right now. Trust yourself, and choices become easier and faster. Trust yourself, and rules soften to acts of loving kindness toward yourself and others, because, after all, we are here to expand Love into all the darkness.
Judgment, like doubt, doesn’t just disappear. Others may say you’ll get to a point where it does, but don’t be fooled. We are judging machines! Just the fact that we live in a physical world, in these amazing physical bodies, puts us in a situation where we judge. In this world, there IS right and wrong. There are plants that are nutritious, and ones that are poisonous. Those directions on Google Maps are, well, usually right. Of course, this mechanistic view of reality is only a piece of who we are, as beings of Light in a physical body. But we must use judgment to function in and understand this world.
Judgment can be charged with emotions when we declare, “This is right,” or, “This is wrong.”
Well, this is where we get ourselves in a bit (or a lot) of trouble. As judging machines, combined with looking for approval and belonging from others, we mistakingly use our ability to understand how to function in a physical world to then judge the shit out of ourselves and others. We can be SO dramatic!
This spirals back to self-trust.
If you trusted yourself and your choices, and owned your mistakes and painful experiences as learning opportunities, judgment would soften its grip. This includes when you notice yourself judging and then judge yourself for it!
I have noticed that my judgment directed towards others actually begins with my own self-judgment. These strict rules of conduct within myself are then projected onto others like a knee-jerk reaction, or I get defensive of their judgment toward me, even if they haven’t said a word. Their judgment is really none of my business, because the truth is that if that person loved themselves without judgment, they wouldn’t project any judgment outward.
I like the word, “discernment”.
It gives a sense of detachment in any situation.
Throughout our day, we are emotionally drained by our judgments. We are constantly judging ourselves and others, and a gift of living a spiritual life is that we begin to notice and interrupt the habit of judgment.
Here’s an example of judgment, and how draining it can be:
Your alarm goes off, and you hit snooze. The judgments, not in your conscious awareness: “I don’t feel like going to work today… I don’t like my job… My boss is an asshole... I hate that I HAVE to work… I said I’d get up early to meditate or exercise and here I am yet again not doing that, I’m so tired and it’s because I’m fat and I can’t believe I ate that last night… Why do I have to be the one to get up early and take care of my partner/children/the dog?... I’m not good enough... I’m not doing it right...”
That’s exhausting, and I’d go back to sleep too!
Starting to notice those habitual judgments gives you freedom to shift out of them in the moment. It’s not about telling yourself you shouldn’t judge, because that’s another judgment, and one you’re not going to win at.
In wanting to be a good person, we often put a band-aid on our judgments. A good person wouldn’t judge others, feel resentment, anger, fear or hurt. I’ll just ignore those things and be positive today. I’ll focus on work and being productive. Ignoring ourselves, we might notice we shop, eat, watch tv, scroll social media, or talk shit about others’ behavior…and judge ourselves for doing so.
Think of judgment as a call to compassion and loving attention.
I like the word "discernment". It gives a sense of detachment from any situation. Choosing to discern vs. judge means that you look at yourself, others, or any situation from the view of the observer. What you're detaching from is that your thoughts, others' thoughts, your body and this physical world, or any of your experiences - past, present or future - define you. When we think these things define us, we are greatly attached and emotionally reactive! Your intention to discern vs. judge uplifts you to a larger part of yourself, the YOU, your soul, that knows you are an eternal being having this temporary experience whose greatest illusion is that you are separate from everything. Discernment makes choices easier, as you are aligned with your heart, your soul, and Divine Guidance. In this space, there is more ease, less attachment, and more flow. The frontal cortex of your brain works better because in that detachment, you are relaxed, so you can see more clearly in any situation, connected to divine intelligence and wisdom.
Self-awareness is a spiritual practice, and one of loving compassionate discernment. This awareness comes from a commitment to creating a safe space TO BE SEEN. We all want to be seen and loved exactly as we are. Filled with judgments, it’s not so safe for YOU to SEE YOU, is it?
With a willingness to release judgment, all those aspects inside us that run away, fight, or hide frozen in a cave, can come nakedly into the light of our loving attention. We’re here to create a world where all are seen, loved, respected, included, thriving and cared for.
This starts with YOU and YOU.
Remember, spiritual practices are exactly that: PRACTICE. There’s no need to judge your practice!
Here is a practice around judgments:
Decide that today you are going to notice your judgments. You might notice one, or you might notice 1000.
When you notice a judgment, you might notice the story that goes along with it that justifies why it is correct, why you should continue to make that thing wrong or bad. This story might include physical proof, based on your experience, science, religion, the news, or well-documented data.
Nonetheless, just think of it as a story.
Let yourself notice the feeling that comes with the judgment. Place a hand to your heart and say, “I love you. Tell me about it. I’m here for you.” Trust whatever you notice. This could be emotions, thoughts, or physical sensations. Imagine you are viewing yourself from outside you, like you would a movie or if you were a bird high in the sky.
This noticing is freeing your energy! No running, no fighting, no hiding!
Next, bring in even more loving compassion and kindness. Imagine that the part of you with that judgment is a hurt child, or an innocent baby. How would you treat them? Would you yell at them, tell them to shut up, console them with toys or food, or hold them in your arms and let them know how much you love them?
This gives you an opportunity to uplift out of judgment, and be honest about your needs in the moment. Judgment is not bad, it just is part of the human deal. Once you let yourself actually notice a judgment, you can lift to seeing it as an opportunity. What is the opportunity? That’s for you to see. It could be love, compassion, forgiveness, tears of release, gratitude, setting boundaries, having more fun, being honest about what you want or need, or admitting a great dream or vision you have.
These opportunities are discernments, not judgments. And they come by releasing the judgment of the judgment, a willingness to be with YOU, exactly as you and are not in this moment.
Phew, what a relief! Let peace, gratitude, love or joy wash over you, because YOU are here to awaken to the FACT that you ARE perfect exactly as you are, perfectly unfolding, perfectly on your path, even those times it’s filled with pain, fear, doubt, or judgments!
It's not just you, my beloved. The world is transforming and we're all in this together. You are a master and expert in your unique experiences and contribution to the world. Together we'll navigate through these challenging yet oh so juicy and magical times.