What would you be if you weren’t afraid? Would you open the most brilliant cake shop? Build the house of your dreams? Say ‘yes’ to your boyfriend’s marriage proposal? Stop fighting with strangers on public transport? Or give up an addiction? What?
According to this book I’m reading and to its author Gabrielle Bernstein, all our limitations, negative emotions and blocks come from fear. And our job is to get rid of fear and replace it with love. I translate the word ‘love’ to mean the sense of peace and calm that comes from believing that only the best can happen to you (obviously not possible if you’re scaring yourself stiff day in day out). Gabrielle talks about connecting to your inner guide, spirit and God but if that’s a little too much for you to chew on, just call it peace of mind. Can you imagine? Peace of mind everyday. I’ll have some of that!
Fear, it seems, is behind all the bad stuff that happens to us. We react negatively to a situation out of fear and create more blocks and limitations as a result. And we’re not just talking about the fear that stops you from leaving a dead end job but also the fear that makes you lash out at your partner through insecurity or at a complete stranger for pushing in front of you. Basic concept but when you take the time to think about it properly, as I have, I hope you’ll make some interesting discoveries.
Think about the example of the stranger that pushes in front of you. Why do you get angry and irritated? Probably because you are frightened that they will get something that belongs to you (e.g. a seat on the train or your pride). I’m not saying that you should let people push you around but you can deal with them without getting angry (note to all the commuters who get on my train in the morning).
I, for one, realized that a lot of my life is driven by fear. Oh don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t stopped everything. I’ve achieved a lot. I’m happily married, I have lovely children, a great house and I’m about to publish a book. Yet, I’m often (and I mean often) anxious about stuff. Lately it has been ‘Will the book succeed?’, ‘What if the book doesn’t succeed?’, ‘Oh God, the book better succeed’ or ‘Even, what will happen if I sell millions of copies?’ and on and on and on. The fact that I’ve got a book deal and how grateful I am about that is completely lost in this sea of anxiety.
So I’m enjoying Gabrielle’s book May Cause Miracles a lot. The exercise in the first lesson is to note my fears. So, since this morning, I’ve been observing the fears that arise in a typical day. And observing somehow has already reduced the impact of these fears. Some are just laughable others I’d never noticed before. The amount of anxiety I carry around is impressive and much more worrying than the fact that I drink a coffee every day (yes, I worry about that). I think if you consider the stakes, anxiety is more likely to kill me than that coffee.
You may be thinking: ‘What, this is so simple!’ Well, if it was, I would have dealt with my fears years ago but the fact, that I’m only now linking fear of this that and the other to my experiences is radical for me. Actually the thought that fear is behind everything is the revelation. For you, this little exercise may bring up something else. Try it. Just say : ‘today, I am willing to witness my fear’. Put a note in your phone diary to check in every hour. Look at your behaviours throughout the day and register your thoughts. Did you get frustrated, annoyed, irritated, impatient, scared? Or did you have a brilliant hour? Why?
I’ll let you know how I get on with the rest of the book.