20 May

Make Friends With Your Fears

Dear Friends,

Here’s another thought I’d like to share

Make friends with your fears because they shape your life.

  

Judith Lasater

I don’t have any phobias.  I’m not fond of snakes, but I’m not really fearful of them.  I’m not a big risk taker, but that’s more from a place of having good sense rather than from being scared.  Even my cancer diagnosis in 2008 didn’t exactly scare me – it more woke me up than made me fearful.  So, all that being said, Judith Lasater’s quote made me think, “this isn’t so true for me – my fears don’t really shape my life.”  However, I am smart enough to realize that I may not be a scaredy-cat, but I am pretty slick when it comes to pulling the wool over my own eyes.  So, I began to explore the deeper meaning of “fears” and I must admit, albeit sheepishly, that the course of my life has indeed been subtly shaped by my fears.           A driving force for me has been a fear of not being loved or lovable.  As a child, I was the “sweet” one and that’s how I got my validation and my love.  Later, I made sure to fly under the radar because that way I didn’t create waves.  As a young mother, I tried to never be too “busy” (a four letter word for me) for my kids or husband because I got validation through being “available.”  And although “sweet” and “available” are not bad traits at all, for me, they were both outcome based – so others (parents, kids, etc.) would perceive me a certain way and thus “love me.”  Of course, none of this was conscious on my part at the time, but because I was acting from the fear of not being what others wanted me to be, I was not in touch with my true nature.  (Note: This was my FEAR, not my reality.  But because I didn’t question or recognize the fear, it made me think it was my reality.  Fear distorts our reality, it doesn’t change it!)           Becoming conscious of my fears and how I act in ways that are based on those fears makes it much easier to see through the distortions and make choices that come from my true nature instead.  Acting from my truest and deepest self strips fears of their power to shape my decisions and thus lands the responsibility for my life aptly in my own lap.  It keeps me honest.  I can’t blame others or build resentment.   And although it takes some “digging” to really see what’s driving me (to wake up fully) it’s freeing and moves me to a more <i>alive</i> feeling place.           When Lasater says “make friends with your fears” I believe she means know your fears and don’t spend your energy trying to run from, avoid, tackle or annihilate them.  (This is kind of like letting a bucking bronco roam in the pasture rather than caging it in a tight pen.  It’s the same animal, it’s just not so reactive and scary.)  Simply acknowledge your fears, learn from them, and allow them to loosen and become diffuse.  The more we know, the more choices we have.  With the freedom of choice we can respond authentically rather than automatically.  We can grow, change, evolve – we can  live fully. What fears shape your life? Do you have the courage to look deep – to dig?

Wishing you the courage to befriend your fears.

Namaste,

Augusta
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Originally Published May 20, 2010

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01 May

Volcanic Interruption

Here’s another thought I’d like to share

There is more to life than increasing its speed.

~Mahatma Gandhi

Last week, my mother and I took off on a short, “time-squeezed” adventure to London to visit my sister.  We left on Wednesday morning, arrived on Thursday morning, and planned to leave on Monday morning.  I was going to make very efficient use of time and miss the least amount of work as possible.  I packed more lightly than I think I ever have.  I had it down to a science.  And that’s where my amazing organization of the Universe ended!          The morning we arrived in London was the day the volcano erupted in Iceland, bringing all air traffic in Europe to a screeching halt.  Monday, our planned day of departure, came and went – we stayed. The same case was true on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  It wasn’t until Saturday (five days later than planned) that we left London for home.          All this being said, what was supposed to be a fast and furious trip became a much more extended and slow exploration.  My stated intention for this trip was to spend time with my sister and her family, and to truly “see” her world.  It wasn’t a touristy visit for me.  Well, the Universe heard my intention very clearly and manifested it unquestionably – regardless of whether or not <b>I</b> was in the loop!  I was forced to slow down and accept.  I had no choice.  And it was just that lack of choice that allowed me to let go of my grand plans and just “be” with whatever unfolded before me.  On the Monday that we were supposed to leave, my sister, brother-in-law, nephew and niece had to return to their jobs and school.  Not only did I get to see her life in England, <i>I got to live it!</i>  I was able to get the kids up and walk them to school so that my sister could go to work early.  I was able to go into my sister’s work and help where I could.  [Side note…My sister is the principal at an International School.  The school was just coming off their two week Spring Holiday and teachers and students were scattered all over the world with NO access to returning to the UK.  About 30% of her teachers and students were out, leaving many gaps to fill and requiring intense cooperation and organization from everyone.  I was a warm body and two extra hands and was able to do such things as help cover recess and lunch periods and run errands where necessary.] [Side note to previous side note…my sister is amazing at her job!!]  I was able to experience driving in London. [After a short, late-night driving lesson about the left side of the road – very narrow roads mind you – and “roundabouts” verses stop signs, my sister handed me the keys to her car and a note that said “Stay left, but not too left! J”  and off I went.]  I got to climb to the tip-top of St. Paul’s Cathedral.  I got to spend some fantastic time with my mom.  I got to read bed-time stories to my niece and watch my nephew do 16 consecutive flips on his trampoline.  I got to see my brother-in-law’s office and meet his work mates.  I got to go down the river Thames on their little motor boat and see the Island where they are re-building their home that burned last year.  I got to go to a quaint little village in Wales right on the Irish Sea and spend time with Granny and Grandpa.I got to be a part of something I had only heard about. Efficiency and speed have their place for sure.  The eruption of a volcano in Iceland was quite the teacher for me when it came to learning about just what that place should be in my life. Thank you Universe! Is there something that you’re missing because you’re too invested in efficiency and speed?  What form might your teacher take?  Perhaps the eruption of a volcano in Iceland will help remind you that as fast as you might want to move, it is not you that always determines this…life will always have its say. Wishing you whatever teachers you might need.

The volcano’s name is Mount Eyjafjallajokull!!

Namaste,

Augusta
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Originally Published May 1, 2010

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