“The spiritual journey is the relinquishment—or unlearning—of fear, and the acceptance of love back into our hearts.” ~Marianne Williamson
Today has been a day full of messages about fear. The quote above was one that was in my morning reading from Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga (affiliate link), which was the way I started my day. The idea that fear is something that can be unlearned—and that this is the spiritual journey we are on—caught my attention in a way that would not let me go.
From there, I started the water boiling for a pot of tea and settled in to read my RSS feed for the day, only to find the following quote from Tama J. Kieves in her recent post When You’re Freaking Out: Ways to Handle Fear You Need to Know About:
“You can’t be thinking about your fears– and thinking about what moves you, touches you, emboldens you, and tickles you at the same time.” ~Tama J. Kieves
She goes on a few lines later to add:
“One thing I can tell you about fear is that it is not real in the present moment. Whenever you’re in fear you are focusing on an imagined future or imagined past. You are not right here.” ~Tama J. Kieves
Ironically (or perhaps I should say synchronistically), I’ve been leading my recent yoga teacher training classmates in a weekly discussion that focuses each week on one of the 50 Things You Need to Give Up Today article that I shared recently in my Letting Go post. This week, we are discussing the following item, which has had the idea of letting go of the past and the future very much on my mind this week:
“Give up dwelling on the past or worrying too much about the future. Right now is the only moment guaranteed to you. Right now is life. Don’t miss it.”
I’ve spent my day deep in thought about some shadow work and relationship work I am trying to sort through, but I kept finding my mind coming back to fear. There is so much that I fear right now in the work I’m trying to do, the person I’m trying to become, the relationships I’m trying to mend, and the changes I am trying to make in my life. There are moments that I feel strong and courageous and moments when I just want to crawl back in bed and hide from the world.
The more I am able, through my yoga practice, to be present in this moment and let go of the future and the past, the more likely I am to move through the fear and still accomplish what needs to be done. It’s always those moments when the past failures and hurts loom up in my vision and the possibility of future pains and challenges seem large on the horizon that I am overcome.
It helped today that I as I paced and pondered and wrote, I was surrounded at every turn by hummingbirds dancing in the air outside my windows. In the shamanic tradition that I have studied, the hummingbird is associated with the solar plexus chakra, which has much to do with claiming of one’s personal power. It seemed fitting today to be so constantly reminded of the fact that I can exercise my personal power in situations even when I am afraid.
Even as I sit here now at the end of the day trying to make sense of all these messages, I find that I still have no answers. The only thing I do know is that I have learned that I can’t wait for the fear to go away before I move. It will always be there. Rather, it is about recognizing the fear for the illusion it is and moving through it to do what needs to be done.
When I arrived at the computer this evening to begin writing this post, I found the following waiting for me at the top of my Facebook news feed:
“Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here.” ~Marianne Williamson
This brings me back full-circle to where I started my morning. If fear is something I learned, then it is something I can unlearn as I continue to move through this spiritual journey. Maybe it is more about learning (or relearning) about love than focusing on fear that is the key.
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