Years ago I went on a retreat in the mountains outside of Salt Lake City. We camped out in tents for five days, and worked on ourselves and our relationship with change in this world.
One of our exercises was called the death lodge. In this exercise, you wake up in the wee hours of the night and go to a chosen place in nature to sit alone in the darkness and contemplate change, especially that brought on by death–your own mortality and that of others.
I didn’t have fear of working on the energy of death. It is actually something I enjoy doing. What I didn’t look forward to was the walk in the dark to my chosen spot! I love to camp and used to backpack a lot. Nature didn’t scare me, but people did. Since we were camping in a public campground, there were lots of people around.
So, the fear I was grappling with was that of encountering someone in the dark, someone who meant ill will. I got up in the night and walked the trail through camp and on up towards a mountain lake. I had chosen a spot easy to find, next to a stream, with a large meadow. I figured that would give me visibility and I would be less nervous about people.
I sat down and did a nice meditation around safety. I was safe, I was in beauty, there was nothing to be afraid of. Fear is an illusion, all is well. I felt very peaceful and in gratitude for being out in nature in such a beautiful place. All was calm, and I began my conscious process of looking at change and loss. Then, the rustling in the bushes began.
Hmmm, what was that? I froze, my eyes boring through the darkness and into the bush, trying to see something. What or who was there? I set my meditation space again and validated what a safe space I was in. All is well! More rustling. More meditating. More rustling, more meditating. A little amusement, and more rustling. It went on for a bit, as I practiced calming my body, letting it know all is well! The odds of there being a mass murderer or a man-eating lion in the only bush near me was very, very unlikely! And yet…
Then, suddenly, out of the bush, came a mouse! It scampered out, got up on its hind legs, sniffed around, saw me and bolted off! Eeeek! There I was, a giant! I had the best laugh, and was so in awe of Spirit and its great messages!
Everything is a mouse! It’s amazing how a fear can take over and trump an option of peaceful awareness! I am not saying we should never feel fear. Fear around a true immediate danger is a life-preserving instinct. But that is different from the random fear that comes up and is fed by the mind, in a moment when absolutely nothing is happening.
It’s the fear that takes over and limits our ability to choose another option. We should be able to choose gratitude, love, joy, creative thoughts, or any thoughts other than the ones that support worry!
I love the image of fear from the perspective of a blade of grass. As the sun shines upon it, there is a slender shadow under it. If the grass only focuses on that shadow, the shadow will become its world and nothing else is okay. And yet, if the grass turns away from the shadow, it will see that it is really surrounded by light! And, it will see that it’s even the light of the sun that is creating the shadow to begin with! It only takes light, or our own small shift of awareness, to bring love and healing to a fear.
It is a choice to heal our fears. It is a choice worth making! What kind of fears and worries usurp your joy and get you in a cycle of fearful distraction that doesn’t allow you to be in the moment and love what is?
Notice something that you tend to worry about. Money? Love? Death? Taxes? Health? There’s always something! Decide to move the energy of that worry into a bubble out in front of you. Also, move into that bubble the energy of the people from whom you learned to worry. If you are a good, fearful worrier, congratulations — you had some good teachers!
Imagine a nice grounded connection from this worry bubble into the planet and ground out everyone’s energy, and all the control energy around fear and worry. Let it all go. Decide that you are just really and truly quite tired and bored with this worry game. Decide you don’t have an ounce of your precious energy left to waste on worry and fear! Go ahead and explode this bubble.
When you are aware of a fear, say hello to it and let it pass on out of your awareness. If you find a mental worry pattern starting, release it, because it’s so boring! And if it’s persistent, you may have to mess with it a little, have a dialogue with it, show your body that nothing is happening and all is well. Really bring your awareness into the present moment. When we are in a controlling fear, we are not in the present moment. We are imagining or remembering things in our mind that aren’t even happening. Then, our emotional body joins in and we feel the fear, and we mistakenly think we are trapped by this imagined fear!
I was thrilled with my mouse experience. I did the process of saying hello to the fear and being in present time as I meditated in the dark. My true awareness knew I was safe. Then, it was great that I created the experience of the mouse to remind me that fears are mice. Like the blade of grass, it’s one tiny sliver of us in shadow. If we turn away from the fear, we find we are surrounded by light and support, love and joy!
There is so much going on, and so much to focus on other than fears and worry. There may be some action for you to take to help you handle a fear. If so, you will know what that is and you will do it! But taking that step out of fear from a place of awareness and certainty is very powerful, versus bolting and hoping you end up in a fruitful space!
Pay attention to your thoughts, especially those that don’t support you and the notion of your safety and divinity. All thoughts that don’t support you are a lie. What if you just have room for the truth now? Happy Transforming! May you be blessed and supported on your path.
Rev. Hope Hewetson has been teaching and reading for over 25 years. Call Hope for a reading or healing at 303-530-0232, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.