No, not that F word.
I arrived home late Monday night from a visit with my daughter. I would like to say that we had a fabulous mother daughter spa weekend, but it was actually me playing nurse maid to Caitlin after she had her wisdom teeth removed.
While we didn’t get to paint the town red, we did get lots of quality time. The procedure went well, my patient was very cooperative and there wasn’t an excessive amount of pain or swelling. All in all, a good outcome. I will have to go back for that spa weekend.
Because Caitlin had to lay low after surgery, there was a lot of down time during my trip and I spent some of it pondering the other f word—-fear.
Fear of failure, fear of being your true self, fear of loving fully, fear of trusting, fear of natural disaster, fear of bodily harm, (fear of the co-pilot downing your plane–sheesh!)….you name it, there is usually something around it to fear.
As adults, we don’t spend a lot of time fearing monsters in the closet anymore, but there sure are a million other things that we worry about that have replaced our childhood fears. We don’t usually call it fear, nowadays we like to call it stress or worry or anxiety–but it’s all fear.
Over the past five years, I have done a lot of work around my own fears and feel like I have come a long way. I have made really big gains around trusting life. I have learned how to relax and allow my life to unfold. I have learned to stop worrying, to enjoy the journey and to believe that everything happens exactly the way it is supposed to.
So, knowing how far I have come and, if I’m being honest, feeling a bit smug about it—imagine my surprise when I ran into something HUGE that I have been terrified of, without even recognizing that fear had anything to do with it.
What?? Right. So here is what happened.
I have been reading The Fear Cure by Dr. Lissa Rankin. Lissa also wrote Mind Over Medicine a New York Times bestseller. Both books give scientific evidence proving how important our thoughts are to our health. How what we think corresponds amazingly with our outcomes, both positive and negative.
In The Fear Cure, Lissa points out the many ways that we allow fear to run our lives and hold us back. She does an excellent job of explaining why we don’t need to take a back seat to fear and how to stop doing it. But I will let you read the book for those juicy tidbits.
The thing that rocked my socks off, was when Lissa was listing all of the things that people are afraid of. Ways that fear holds us back from fully living. She said a bunch of things that I was nodding my head to, and then my eyes glided over pesticides, poor air quality, GMO’s, chemicals and our water supply—all on the list.
I am so guilty of that.
And I didn’t EVER associate it with fear.
Knock me over with a feather.
Here I am, going about my business, thinking that I am simply choosing a healthy lifestyle. That eating organic and lowering my exposure to chemicals is important for my health and wellbeing, that it is for longevity and quality of life. Now, while that may be true, if I look closely enough there is a really big monster underneath those thoughts.
Why do I want to be healthy? So I don’t die. Why don’t I want pesticides in my body? Because they might poison me and I might die. GMO’s? Water? Air quality? Chemicals? Same thing. I might suffer or die.
And while I tell myself that I am ok with whatever happens in my life, clearly I have not been ok with this. Every time I can’t control what I eat or if I get exposed to things that I know are “bad” for me–I get tense. I feel uncomfortable and think about all the terrible things that might be happening to my body.
Not peaceful. Not content. Not the way I want to live
And yet I never made the connection.
And that is why I spent so much time thinking about fear this past weekend. It made me realize that fear is insidious. There are things that we fear that are so ingrained in our psyche’s that we don’t even recognize them as fear.
So I hit my own personal pause button. Just like so many of the things that I write about here, this was the place that I got to stop, step back and make a new choice.
I will still buy organic food. I will still lower my exposure to GMO’s, chemicals and questionable air and water scenarios when I can. But, when it’s not possible? I will not worry. I will not stress. I will remind myself that I am safe and that it will not hurt me.
The few days that I have been practicing this have been extremely liberating. I recognize how bound I have been by this constant need to control what goes in my body.
It was my controlling nature all dressed up in a pretty hat. Ugh. How could I have missed it??
Alright, I did. I missed it. But no need to beat myself up about it. Now I see it.
So, now it is time to relax and trust. Everything will be ok. I will make mostly healthy choices and enjoy life while doing it.
And when I want to buy something that isn’t organic? When I crave an unhealthy treat? When I am breathing in smog from the truck ahead of me on the highway? When I am in a strange place and have no idea what I am being served? Even if it is the furthest thing from healthy, I’m going to dive right in. And I’m going to do it mindfully and with enjoyment. No little voice in my head chastising me, or going into the what ifs? Because if I do that, I am right back into fear.
This is going to take a lot of attention and commitment on my part. I am going to be undoing decades of fear and worry around food.
But I refuse to let fear run my life.
I will not be afraid anymore.
How about you? Do you see areas in your life where fear has insidiously taken over? Leave a comment below and tell me about it. I love hearing from you.
P.S. If you want to talk about the areas where fear is running your life, please hit contact in the upper right hand corner so we can set up your free discovery call. Isn’t it time to choose something different??