Posts tagged Fear

Challenging Myself Again

12 Step programs have taught me to challenge myself on my beliefs, my thinking, my actions, and my emotions – to name a few.

Now, my Multicultural class will be refining the process even further.  My ability to be caring, empathetic, patient and understanding has expanded because of the learning shared with me through AA and Alanon over many years.  And these aspects of my being can expand to include even more awareness and sensitivity toward others in the world.  Part of the reason for my progress is my ability to be in what my therapist calls a place of “safe vulnerability.”  I like the term.  It feels strong to be in that place.  It means that I can open myself up to asking questions about people, things and situations – instead of judging them.  Which in turn, helps me develop greater understanding of those people, things and situations.  With more understanding – there is less need or desire for fear. 

Instead, I can live from a place of authentic caring, concern and acceptance of my fellow human beings and the experiences that happen throughout my life.  It does not mean that I tolerate inhumanity.  But being thoughtful, considerate and discerning about what might be influencing the activities, behaviors and reactions of other people can help me have greater appreciation and respect for our differences, as well as awareness and sensitivity of our similarities.  It seems we have more similarities.  I like noticing that aspect of our humanness.  It reinforces my optimism for the future for our world.  It makes me smile.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am willing to ask more questions.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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Living In Fear or Love

Living in fear is something we don’t have to do.  The “ism” of the 12 Step programs is in our minds – it’s all about our thinking.  We don’t have to be drinking, obsessing about people, overeating, gambling, or obsessing about sex to have the” ism ”  still active in our lives.   All of those destructive outlets were actually the result of the” ism” in our thinking.  The 1st Step tells us to admit that we were powerless over those destructive outlets, and that our lives have become unmanageable.  The unmanageability is what fear does to us.  And we can learn to live from and in a different mind frame.

Awareness is half the solution (I love that phrase) is so true.  As we grow in awareness, we have more opportunities to make choices.  Whenever we find ourselves angry, impatient, immobilized, procrastinating, critical, jealous, resentful or hurtful (to name a few) we are in a place of fear.  We can choose to stay there, or we can choose to shift to a place of love.  I didn’t know how to do that on my own.  It was important for me to surround myself with people who seemed to be happy, responsible, active, doing for themselves and others, and walking their talk.  Educated or not, again, I really didn’t know how to do this for myself – I had to be taught by people who were already living in a joyful, loving place. Many meetings helped.  Other members taught me patience, humility, responsibility, honesty, humour, communication skills, honor, being of service, and how to walk my talk.  And the process continues today.  Although these are 12 Step programs of progress rather than perfection, we can choose to head in the direction of perfection, a day at a time. 

My life is now filled with joy, and love, and peace, and adventure, and humour – even in the face of life challenges.  Most of the time I can stay in a place of love, where life is so much easier and less complicated.  That may sound trite or unsophisticated, but it’s true for me.  And it’s a choice that I make, consciously.  With years of practice now, it sometimes comes naturally, automatically.  Especially when faced with the fear of others, I can make the choice to come from a place of love.  If I slip momentarily, I make amends immediately, or as soon as possible, and start over.  Coming from Love makes me feel so much happier.  It just takes practice.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am coming from a place of love. ”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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Anticipation

When fear comes up in conversations with sponsees and others, it comes in many forms – anxiety, nervousness, jealousy, anger, rage, panic.  Early in program work, people told me that there are really only two emotions, fear and love.  We can operate from a base of either.  It’s our choice.  That was good news for me, but there was one problem.  While operating from a base of love is what appealed most to me, I didn’t know how to do it.

In my family of origin, fear ruled.   In most cases, fear was the modus operandi and it was loud and angry.  Thanks to suggestions from a wise therapist I learned it didn’t have to be that way.  One day I mentioned feeling fearful about what to do now that I’d been through another layoff – it was the third of five.  She asked ” Could you transform that fear into excitement? ”  It was a surprising option, one I’d never considered before, and it was an attractive alternative to the fear. 

Applying this method to the appearance of fear has served me well and been shared with many others who have benefited, too.  When fear appears, we can do what we did as children when we came across something new.  We can transform it to excitement, anticipation, curiosity, wonderment, even delight.  How’s that for reframing.  When we were kids that’s how we usually looked at new things, or changes that were in process.  If we can remember the wonder we had for nature, or trips that we took to new places, we can apply that same sensation to most of what might cause us unnecessary fear.  Fear is often just a signal of change, or something new.  If we keep it simple, we can transform our way of looking at life and restore it to the wonder of childhood.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am looking at things in a positive way. ”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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Resistance

Recently, a sponsee approaching the 8th Step called to talk about not going through with it.  After listening to her use a myriad of excuses to justify not going forward, the truth came out.  She was afraid.  She didn’t want to see her world change.  She likes everything black and white and moving forward with the Steps, in her eyes, means being forced to look at the gray areas.  She had felt safe in the realm of denial and was resisting the clarity that is inevitable when we work the 12 Step program.

That fear of the unknown I well remember.  From time to time it still appears.  My path through the 12 Steps also included resistance at what I might learn about me, and about life.  It was scarey.  I didn’t want to do it much of the time.  Fortunately, my wise sponsor gently reminded me, “You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it.”  She disclosed that she hadn’t wanted to do the work either, but doing it got her to where she was – a place of calm and serenity that I truly wanted for me.  Even if we don’t feel safe, we are.  My sponsee didn’t think she was ready to learn more.  It occurred to me that when we’re in school, we’re rarely feeling comfortable with all that new information and may not see ourselves as ready to learn more, but we do.  We listen to the teachings, do our homework, pass the test and to varying degrees we find we now have more information with which to understand the world and how it works.

I admire this sponsee for hanging in there with our conversation long enough to allow herself to get honest, share about her fears and make the decision to go forward as planned.  She apologized for the earlier excuses, and for not being honest from the beginning.  For my part, passing on that she is in good company, that many of us have experienced the same resistance and trepidation about proceeding into unfamiliar territory was a gift.  A good reminder about the progress I’ve made, and also, how much alike we are on the path to recovery.  It was important for me to let her know how much care and fellowship I feel for her.  My approach to walking through the Steps with sponsees is that it’s a sacred responsibility, an honor and a privelege to share this part of their journey and pass on the many gifts shared by oldtimers with me over the years.  No one gave up on me.  I won’t give up on anyone – but, they have to do the work.  I can’t do it for them – and I will be there for them through the trials as all of us will be there for each other.  We are never alone.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am making progress daily.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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Emotions / Feelings

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I’ve learned there are really only two emotions or feelings – Love and Fear.

     Love = Happiness, Joy, Anticipation, Excitement, Contentment, Patience.

     Fear = Anger, Frustration, Impatience, Hurt, Jealousy, Rage, Sadness.

While going to most of the fear emotions initially makes me feel bigger and energized, they actually separate me from others and the energized aspect of the feeling actually leaves me feeling lonely when it diminishes – and it always diminishes.  Fear inspires me to attempt to control things to go my way, to keep something I have or get something I want.  I’ve heard that disease ,”Dis-Ease” comes from the fear emotions, which wreak havoc on the physical body.  My body feels drained if I stay in these emotions.

When I choose loving emotions, I feel more whole and a part of the world.  I feel healthy, and peaceful and my day goes easier.  Everything works out and I don’t need to do anything for life to run smoothly – instead of controlling, I get to allow things to happen and just turn it all over.  Easier said than done at times, so I rely on the tools of the program to help me with this – gratitude list, calling my sponsor, getting into action, doing service work and working the steps.  It’s so simple.  We only need to do it.

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Affirmation for the Day – ” I am happy!”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

Course in Miracles Lesson – Let me be still and listen to the truth.

Practice – Let me be still and listen to the truth.  What does it mean to give and to receive?

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