I was talking to a girlfriend late last night on the phone. (I realize this is only my second blog entry, but do you already sense a pattern? Some people watch TV. I talk on the phone. For me, it’s all about connecting with others; more on that to come.)
So, as Lisa and I were talking, I remembered an article I had read by Martha Beck, in which she discussed how our motivations are driven by either fear or love. This concept of fear vs. love is not a new one for me. It has actually been a repeated theme that a close circle of friends and I have discussed on several occasions.
I no longer have the article, but I did jot down a few notes from it, and here is what I either captured or can remember:
Fear Versus Love
Always feels bad Always feels good
Motivates grasping Motivates liberation
Seizes control Relaxes control
Insists on certainty Accepts uncertainty
Needs everything Needs nothing
Nice list, right? But here’s the thing, if you’re anything like me, my mind can tend to play a fine game of ‘sit and spin’ on the fear side. And when I’m actively participating on the fear side, there’s always some well meaning person there to remind me, “If you would just change your thinking….” To which, I typically respond with, “That’s easier said than done,” if it seems hopeless. Or, I respond with, “How?” if I truly want to take action and make a change. Well, the how lies in love.
Much of what we experience that feels “bad” is really what we’ve created for ourselves that is rooted in fear. But, what if we were able to flip it? What if we were able to make a shift? When I flip it and concentrate on the love side above, I can walk through almost any situation and my experience changes.
For me, the key is to catch myself during the spinning and acknowledge what’s happening. (Over years of self observation, I’ve identified that my breathing gives me away every time. Breathe from my chest = anxiety, which is fear based. Breathe from my abdomen = a state of peace, which is love based.) After I’ve identified what’s happening, I usually let out a sigh of relief. My ego can no longer play a game of mental gymnastics with me.
That is to say, the next time you find yourself in a situation that feels “bad,” or you feel as if you’re grasping, or trying to seize control, etc., let your gut be your guide over to the love side. And as you walk into the love, use the guide above to ask yourself:
Do I feel good?
Do I feel free?
Have I relaxed my feelings of control over this situation?
Do I accept the uncertainty of the outcome?
Do I need nothing?
Boil it down there. And if you still have discomfort, realize where it lies in the questions and investigate the fear further until it gives way. Pinpointing where the fear remains is a powerful liberator. Once you know where it’s trying to hide, you can shine the light on it until you feel love.
After all, isn’t that what we all desire? To feel love, not fear? Find a person who says the opposite and let me know.
“And when you’ve done all…stand.” Which is how I like to think of Trust Life Today.
Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.