Choose love. This is what I keep learning. I've taken a break from the blog to write in some other ways. Since I last wrote here, I've been unpacking how I feel at this stage of the journey. Life has been nothing short of a colourful adventure.
In this post, I want to talk about fear and separation. I promise to connect this back to choosing love. Blessed with many opportunities to connect with humans who are sometimes overlooked in our society, my heart is open and it hurts to see separation in our society. I have witnessed anger in others and it triggers me. This happens because it is an echo of my own experience. A mirror showing me what I need to face within myself.
It is not just our shared experiences that connect us all; it is also our hearts. Our emotions. As an empathic individual, I am responsible for what I absorb. It's important to be mindful and at times, it's important to feel it all. Lately I haven't been cautious. I'm coming close to tying up some big loose ends in my life and my openness to 'feeling' the experiences of others is a gateway to tapping into my own feelings.
What does this have to do with fear?
It can be really scary to dig into our own psyches and admit how we truly feel, to ourselves and to others. I have observed so many of my own walls engaging over the past several months. I peel back one layer and another hardens its exterior. Why does this happen? The ego exists in part to protect us. Once we've been hurt by an experience, a new experience with a similar tone engages this protection and if we don't pay attention, our amour encapsulates us and allows us to function in a way that gives the air 'everything is alright.' It numbs us, as if we are wearing emotional earplugs. It interferes with our ability to connect with others.
The practice of observation has been central for me this year and it has taught me so much about love, equanimity, and some of the irrational fears that live deep inside. It's hard to admit this, especially the fear part, as I don't like to look at what I perceive as 'negative.' What I am learning is that when I face my fears, shaking, nervous, worried that they will win, I come back to the truth that love wins. Every time. No matter the situation, choosing love dissolves fear.
Unravelling all the pain of the past few years and feeling it without judgment or defensiveness reminds me that underneath all the misunderstandings, losses, disagreements, misalignments there is deep care. There is innocence and a realization that love never left. Anger covers things up brilliantly. It's so powerful that in the moment, we take it literally and forget to peek at what's underneath. When we do remember to look, we often find fear and sadness. What we forget is that anger is fuelled by care.
As a society that for some time has been bred to care more about appearances than experiences, many of us realize this is no longer working. Many of us work to change this. Vulnerability is a topic explored on many platforms, from mindfulness practices to best selling books and TED Talks. Years ago I read the book 'Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway' and I think it's finally landing with me. Many of us are integrating feeling into our doing. The heart is being considered in our decisions. People matter. Our stories matter. Our feelings matter.
I've learned through these past few years what it means to be honest about my feelings. I was so scared that I would let others down if I wasn't a 10/10 on the happiness scale every day. I did this so much that I believed I was exuberant and that my life was awesome even when things were falling apart. It's easy for me to live in that space, but the denial did not serve me or my heart. All the fear and sadness became so buried in my body that it eventually manifested as physical pain.
What I am grateful for is the experience of living through these realizations. Despite pain and loss, I'm happy. Something old must fall away in order for something new to rise. Losing the comforts of a life that was familiar reminded me that my purpose is not to be comfortable and sedentary. My purpose is to live full out and be present to my experiences, especially when I'm scared.
My purpose is to be with my human family, in service, in love. When fear arises now, I face it. I sit in it, but not always. Sometimes I still choose to avoid it by putting it on hold while I busy myself with something more comfortable. The difference now is it is choice for which I am taking responsibility. I now know that fear is my messenger reminding me that I have some important and meaningful work to do. If I ignore it, defenses go up and separation ensues. By embracing fear, observing it, experiencing it, like butterflies, we unfurl our wings and discover the limitless nature of our colour and depth and our ability to love ourselves and others. By embracing what I now see as the illusion of fear and doing the work to allow it to dissipate, the end result is always the choice to be love.