Fear: friend or foe?

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All my life I’ve comfortably considered fear to be a trusty companion; noble protector and in many ways a true friend. After all, fear is what kept me from taking too many risks, chances, and leaps into the unknown. Fear had a way of playing out the what if scenarios in my mind in with such cinematic clarity that my common sense had no choice but to accept them as reality. That was until recently when I realized I’ve been dooped.  Last night  I was thinking about how much time I’ve given into fear driven reality and I realized that fear is nothing more than Futile Emotion Ambushing Reality. Isn’t it interesting how we can find ourselves fearing something with such aversion and we put so much energy into that aversion, that we find ourselves not even living or experience our lives to the fullest. Then when we  actually find ourselves facing something really challenging, it’s not fear that surfaces,

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it’s faith, courage, compassion, and wisdom. All of the sudden we find ourselves doing the Rocky Balboa bounce, saying;

“I got this!” 20150730-DSC03282

Recently I attended a dear friends 5 year anniversary of being cancer free post treatment. This was a wonderful celebration, not only of her remission and healing but of her life. Later that evening she shared with me some challenges she’s facing with an aging parent. She began to say,

“I’m going out to see him for the first time since he’s fallen and I  just don’t think I’ll be able to handle this, He’s now  requiring care with his hygiene there’s just no way i’ll be able to do this. I’ve never been so scared of anything in my life.”

I looked at her in the eyes with a half a smile (because I knew how strong and incredible she was!)  and said;

” 6 years ago, before you knew you had breast cancer, would you have thought you could handle that? When you were first diagnosed, did you think you would be able to handle radiation and chemo? ”

She chuckled and replied;

“Heavens no!”

I told her that I knew her and that I knew how much she loved her father and that once she gets to be with him, she will find there isn’t anything she wouldn’t want to do to take care of him. She also needs to remember she is never alone in this process and that she is entitled to ask for help from family members, friends, fellow parishioners,  or from medical professionals. She will find a way to provide for the needs of her father. She is stronger than she thinks she is and I know it, and I know that she knows it! She is an amazing scrap booker, and I can imagine that she will find a way to document her time with her father that will be a treasure and a legacy for all posterity as well.

Ever since then I have found myself thinking about how much of my time and energy was wasted watching the “what if” scenarios of fear. I recognize now that fear was not my friend. A true friend doesn’t hold you back, but encourages you to grow and would show you the possibilities of what could be, of what you could offer, and what impact and difference you can make for the good in the world. Now I choose Joy instead of fear;  Just Open Yourself to the possibilities. So anytime I start to feel fear, I now recognize that as static to my true self, and I try to dismiss it as quickly as possible. Fear literally strips me of my power to move forward and to have influence and to fulfill my purpose. I will dismiss fear; for it is not my friend, and instead live my life with JOY!

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The Shameless Selfie

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The photo challenge for this week is “the shameless selfie”. Obviously this is not my selfie, but a representation of an incredible opportunity missed! Wednesday I had the honor of experiencing a ropes course with the amazing people pictured here. I am the one taking the photo perched on top of a telephone pole. I must confess, I am no spring chicken. My 50th birthday will be celebrated this year and I am excited about this next chapter in my life! As I was preparing to make my ascent I went to put my camera away thinking I need to just be completely present for this experience. Perhaps there was a piece of me that didn’t want to create an expectation of myself or with anyone else that I would make it to the top of that perch to take this picture. A good friend and fellow photographer questioned my decision and reminded me;

“That would be one awesome shot!”

That comment somehow thrust me back in my mind to a recent photo shoot for a brief second. I remembered a moment trudging with determination through the snow and ice to capture a shot of a fly fisherman in a river feeding into a half frozen reservoir. There was this stippled light dancing from the setting sun at the northern end.  I just had to get a shot capturing the beautiful coral color reflecting against the hues of blues and green along with polar fly fisherman  I  realized how capable and fearless I am when I have my camera strapped to me. The motivation to get “that shot” pushes me to do things like nothing else in my life. I knew my camera would be an asset as I faced this challenge and with it tucked inside my jacket, I made my climb. The pole looked manageable from the ground. It is said to be 35 feet to the top and 70 feet to the bottom. This perspective is truly only appreciated from the top of the 12″x12″ perch that I found myself on.  There was purpose to this exercise. What was tiny on approach became increasingly comfortable as I had to prepare to declare something to leave behind and then leap courageously into my future. I chose to leave behind any excuse and to leap forward to a destiny that I was truly capable of determining. With a Tarzan call into the wind I took my leap into the cold southern crisp air and moved boldly towards my future.

One thing my friend reminded me to do, was to remember to take a selfie.  I am sorry to say in all my excitement I forgot.  But I have no regrets. Perhaps this can be a photo of a declaration of how I want to live my next 50 years. As I look at this photo I see the love and support of my remarkable friends. I also see that I was acknowledging them! As I live my life of passion and share my passion with others, I know I will have the support of my remarkable friends and family. I want to always acknowledge my appreciation for them and the essential part they play in my journey. I also want to remember to live a life with no more missed opportunities. Now is the time for me to fully live my life of purpose, and share my gifts, talents and joy, and accept with graciousness as others offer their support and gifts to me.DSC04667.ARW-001