We hear this word so often, don't we? Do we really know what it means, and how it can affect us and our lives? Definition: "a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid; concern or anxiety; solicitude." These are just some of the words that describe fear. I lived my life in fear for so long, and I didn't even realize it. Most of us do. If you look at any emotion that we have- anxiety, anger, even happiness (false contentment), sadness.... fear is the underlying root of these experiences. When upset or worried, or angry or sad, I have asked myself (and try to remember to do so, still), "what am I afraid of?", and if I ask and search long enough, I'll find the answer, and that frees me a bit. It takes a weight off. But we have to want to face these things. Even things like getting upset on the road, something we may all be able to relate to, at times. A lot of times lack of control initiates fear, doesn't it? We have this false sense of control over so much, which causes all these other emotions, which are still fear-based. I ran my life on fear, and didn't even realize it. It's so darn subtle, and ingrained in us, we get used to them and don't even pay attention to it, or our thoughts. I had to face these things, name them and their causes, to first, become aware of them, and exactly what was controlling me so much- even past things, and how they were controlling me, and then learned to give them to God. If you had asked me years ago, before I got sober, what I was afraid of- first, to admit that I was afraid of anything- no way. I knew there were some surface things, but to admit some of my fears and faults to you and to myself, for that matter-- no way. Let's just brush them aside. When I was young, I was so afraid of people being mad at me, or not liking me, that I did and said what I thought others wanted me to do or say, and in that process, I got so lost in doing so. I hated confrontation (and still do), and both of those things come from childhood things, of course. But to recognize it and not let it control me or my mind is a beautiful thing. I was always afraid of not being good enough, not fitting in. I was overweight and was made fun of, so once I lost the weight, I had this distorted view of myself and always thought I was fat. I was afraid of gaining weight, or looking bad to people. I was always afraid of not having enough money, because again- childhood situations... Or the fear-based thoughts: "what if this happens" or "what if this doesn't happen" or "what will people think?". OMG I can go on. And you know what? It's still all ego, isn't it? It's still about ME. I still fight it in ways, even today! Stepping out in a different direction in life- if I concentrate on the fear, I will live in that fear, give in to that fear, and drop the whole thing, regrettably. You know what keeps me going so often? Not wanting to go back to the life I lived. The way I lived in fear, and how it came out in many ways- food issues, addiction, alcoholism, etc. I don't want to go back to a corporate world. I try to remember part of my purpose in life. I have to know what that is, to use it as this kind of motivation and guage, too. LIve with some intent, but not be so focused that I miss other opportunities for myself or for others. It's a balance. I still fight this- "I can't believe I am doing this". "This will never work". "What about next month?"- oh, the projecting!! That's the worst! Kick that nonsense to the curb, and when you're doing what you know in your heart you are meant to do, trust in God to see it through! OMG, my trust has come to such a different level than it was even just 6 months ago. I still fight it. That battlefield in the mind is real. But keeping it in check, is also real, and knowing when the negative or even paralyzing thoughts come, to cover them with thought of positivity, of God, and of your purpose. Don't let thoughts of what others think (or what you THINK they think) stop you. And you may hear it all. Don't let fear stop you from living the life you are meant to live!! It's not real, and it's not from God! It's False Emotions Appearing Real. Forget Everything and Run. I know there are more acronyms out there, but you get the idea. My two biggest fears have been with me since literally I can remember. I know what they are. I still fight them at times. It can take time to undo what's been registered and even natural, for so long. It's still with me, but it's gotten so, so much better, and I know it will continue to get better because I continue to work on it. I hate those darn fears! I have good people in my life to help keep me on track, as hopefully I am a help to others. Use the tools you have. Don't be afraid to reach out for help, regardless. Look toward the Light. You can't go wrong, no matter what happens. Sunrise at Nauset Beach, Cape Cod, MA Feel free to contact me for prints or for use of the photo. Feel free to share. EnjoY!