In 2012, days before we received news that Hurricane Sandy was to strike the New York Metro area, I was selected to pen a brief message to tens of thousands of people around the world for The Listserve project.

Feeling a tide of anxiety and tension rising within me for reasons I could not explain, fear was very much on my mind that week. I scribbled these reflection questions down on the subway one evening.

In these times of unprecedented global social, political, technological and ecological change, we’re called to deeply explore our relationship with fear.

I would love to hear the revelations this post sparks in you in the comments section below. How has your relationship to fear evolved since 2008? Since 2012? The last couple years?

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”—John Lennon

“Broke the calm, strain in the back / I was born driven by fear / And I don’t think I’ll ever understand / But I know I’ll be runnin’ for years”—Heartless Bastards, “Runnin'”

“I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear. to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me. Insisting on this story was a form of mind control, but for the most part, it worked. Every time I heard a sound of unknown origin or felt something horrible cohering in my imagination, I pushed it away. I simply did not let myself become afraid.

“Fear begets fear. Power begets power. I willed myself to beget power. And it wasn’t long before I actually wasn’t afraid.”—Cheryl Strayed, Wild

 

Lately I’ve been digging into some deeply rooted fears and thought patterns that were established long before I can remember. It’s been a terrifying, humbling, hilarious and enlightening process. I’d like to encourage you to notice your fears when they arise and spend some time thinking about what fears and fear mean to you.

Do your fears inspire you, challenge you or leave you feeling stuck?

Is fear something to be conquered, managed, ignored or befriended?

How does fear impact your relationships, goals and health?

Thanks for reading and feel free to share your thoughts.

 

Photo: Ayko Kehl via Unsplash

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