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Living in Fear (and how to stop)

We live in fear. Then, we seek solace in the illusion of safety.

The picture that goes with this post is from our play yard. A few days ago, I was swinging my three-year-old son, and the swing broke. Just like that. Boom. My son had that “help me, Momma” look on his face, and I really couldn’t do anything. Time slowed down, and I watched him hit the wooden railing and fall to the ground.

My husband came running over. I immediately unstrapped my screaming son, took him out of the seat, and assessed that he was ok physically but very scared. I held him and once he calmed down, gave him my breast. All was well. We felt very lucky.

My experience points to something profound: life is uncertain.

In a conversation with one of my mentors the other day she told me about something that she had gone through. She was in a class one day where the teacher commented that there is no safety in this world. My mentor thought the woman was insane. “No safety? Of course, there is safety!” she exclaimed in her head. After years of spiritual and personal work, my mentor said that she now knows this is true: there is no safety in this world.

Kind of harsh. So where does this leave us?

Not where you might think…

Naming things is healing. When you name something, you can work with it. In this conversation with my former client on Facebook, I realized that with every decision we make, we are weighing our options.

This is more important than that.

That doesn’t make sense, given my education.

What is everybody else doing? (Now, that one can get you into trouble sometimes.)

This would make sense if I were younger, older, stronger, weaker, richer, poorer, single, married, healthy, ill…the list goes on and on. One simple decision can be crazy-making, and difficult decisions can feel paralyzing.

The problem is that many people are unconscious and often uneducated. They are living in fear, often watching too much television. Running around making decisions from the lizard part of their brains. They are in survival mode. The prefrontal cortex is out of the game. We have to pull that thinking mind back in, and I think the only way to do this is to name it: we are scared. There is no safety.