Care for the Soul
Theme: Witness your fear
Affirmation: I am willing to witness my fear
Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt. (“Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, p 62)
I go about my morning routine. Make the coffee, feed the cats, kiss my husband, meditate, journal, take a shower. Agonize over an outfit appropriate for the weather, for the office, for whatever image I want to project. Worry, fret, obsess.
Thus fortified, I exit my door to see a shiny black limousine waiting at the curb, rear door ajar, waiting for a passenger. Seems like a nice ride and it’s a crappy day. I get in, get settled. Mad Men dapper, the driver turns to look at me. Raises his sunglasses and says,
“Good morning, Gorgeous. I’m Fear and I’m going to be driving your ass around today.*”
Sometimes it seems just this way. I begin with the greatest of intentions, but then BAM! as soon as I’m out the door, I’m being driven around by some guy named Fear, comepletely at his whim, without knowing where I’m going next, or what I may do. Fear calls the shots when I’m not paying attention. It’s so damn easy to blame others, to play the victim, to hide inside my head.
In the end, though, it’s not easy. Because what happens is that I lose my sense of agency, of being connected to others. I forget that we’re really all in this together and there’s nothing to fear. I end up hurting other people and then get hurt in return. And then I get pissed off and resentful. I forget that I cannot love and fear in the same moment. I forget that I have a choice. In the moment of fear, I can choose love instead. I forget, as Tara Brach says, “the pure awareness, the radiant wakefulness that is our Buddha nature.” We all have Buddha nature – happiness and freedom are our birthright. May you awaken to yours with heart and palms wide open.
Try this: put an alarm on your phone to remind you in the middle of the day to “BREATHE” or “CHOOSE LOVE” or today’s affirmation, “I AM WILLING TO WITNESS MY FEAR.” When your alarm goes off, you’ll be jolted back from whatever fear abyss you’re currently staring down into. This really works! I promise!
*Limitless gratitude to Mark H. for this little story, which I took the liberty of editing to suit my purposes.
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