The Heart of Fear
“I don’t like Fear,” I once told a friend, “It scares me!” That had been my relationship with Fear until seven years ago when I attended a workshop called “Beyond Fear”. I secretly hoped it would give me a workaround for Fear — how to avoid it altogether. But no, the idea was to create a rapport with Fear, feel it, then move beyond it. Not get stuck in it. Not run from it. (Have you noticed that when you run from Fear, it chases you?) The workshop was life changing. I discovered that when I’m afraid and refuse to feel it, I attempt to control.
Control Doesn’t Work.
“News flash” right? Sometimes I forget and reach for control anyway. Which is exactly what I did with my mother last week. She had gone to the ER and released with a nonspecific diagnoses. Under the guise of concern, I told her she shouldn’t drive until she sees her doctor. While that might be good advice, my mother is a capable, adult woman who has managed to make her own decisions for longer than I have been alive. The conversation didn’t go well. She was offended (rightly so) and I was righteous (wrongly so).
Righteous Yields to What’s Right.
Days passed. I was uneasy about the conversation but convinced I was right. Then, while shuffling papers on my desk, my eyes landed on a random note: “Attempts to control always fail. Control, no matter the origin, comes down to fear.” Hmmmm. In my refusal to feel fear, I had reached for control which hadn’t worked, of course.
I called my mother and started a new conversation: ”I’m sorry for trying to control you by telling you not to drive. The truth is, I was/am scared…” We then had a beautiful, easy conversation about what really matters and about how challenging it can be to stay in the present moment when we are afraid. I noticed how close I felt to her and how surprisingly grateful I was for my Fear. When I simply let myself feel it, it led me to my heart and brought me closer to a precious relationship with my mother.