Unexamined fear is the insidious cancer of our internal experience.
When we allow fear to guide our actions and words, to form our reality in the world with no inquiry into its origins, there is no way that we can experience authentic life.
The number of fears is legion. Like the stars. Like the sands of the sea. As massive as the number God promised Abraham his descendants would be.
Their depth is to the very molten guts of the earth. The very foundation of our souls.
Their strength is the strength of a mighty man in the day of battle. Overwhelming. Seemingly unconquerable.
And yet …
There’s something I’ve come to understand about fear. It’s purpose, if you will, that makes all the difference when it comes to moving past its iron reach.
Fear has a story to tell. A gift to give.
Now I’m not speaking of trifling worries here, but of our deepest, most paralyzing forces. And I’ll give you fair warning, for those of you who aren’t intimately acquainted with your own: our root fears are not always what we think.
As a kid, I used to fear the dark. Of beings appearing to me when I was alone. Of being watched. Do I still have these fears? Well, they still affect me at times, but I understand them better. The “whys”. So they have less power.
But none of these were my particular ‘Strongman’. None had the power to withhold me from giving my gifts to the world.
How could I have known when I was a little kid that my biggest fear would be just being myself? Openly & honestly. Without approval or apology.
Well, okay. Being myself wasn’t really the problem. I’ve always marched to a different drum. But there’s weird, and then there’s Subversive. Heretical, even. I’ve been called a witch before, by someone who didn’t like the way I utilized Intuition. So there have been rumblings. Inklings of what was coming.
No, the scary thing for me were the consequences of a sustained public declaration and visibility of being my complete self … the fallout that such an unthinkable act would surely cause with those around me. Those who have come to depend on me being their version of me.
You know who I mean. My family. My husband’s family. People in my religious circle. In the little groups I belong to. Fear of what they would all say, what they would do if they really, really knew.
Which is not at all rational since I am not the foundation of that many people’s reality.
So through all these years of living with this fear, of wrestling, questioning, and unstoppable metamorphosis, I’ve come to understand the truth …
My greatest fear is the shadow form of my greatest gift.
It really is that simple. That profound.
The thing that often feels the most impossible to do lies very near our truest path. Everything we have to lose, in one aspect, is all we have to gain in another.
In simple terms, they are two sides of the same coin.
How can this be true? Because anything that resides at the CORE level, even opposites like our truest Purpose and deepest Dread, resonate along the same spectrum. Opposite ends, yes, but the same spectrum, nonetheless. (Watch the movie, Unbreakable, with Bruce Willis for more on this concept.)
Two seemingly unconnected things are, in fact, linked in the most intimate and revealing way. And either one can be known by its counterpart.
Let me show you.
Why do people not fulfill their purpose? Typically, two reasons. They either don’t know what it is, or they never find the courage to do it.
If they don’t know it, they just need to look to their core fear. As I said, in my case, a fear of being publicly authentic and honest about my whole truth. My mental, emotional, spiritual experience in the world …
Guess who’s supposed to help liberate others to transform into the most authentic expression of their truest selves … past all barriers, despite all consequences?
Yep. Me. Duh.
Doesn’t it stand to reason that the Creator is going to require that I do for myself what I’m here to help others do?
Otherwise, I’m not qualified. I’d be the blind leading the blind.
No, I must fight my dragons, walk my talk. Only then am I legitimate and not full of shit when I tell them it’s gonna be all right to take the risks, face their own fears, and create a new reality for themselves beyond the familiar, rote, role-based way of enduring they’ve been allowed by the ones in ‘authority’.
To see the yearning come to full bloom in these people as they creep from the grayness of such soul-sucking facades! To stand in the new light, reaching out a trembling hand toward the hope of an inner truth and more freedom! To believe there’s a better way to live than what they’ve experienced!
That kind of hope and courage is mind-blowing … paradigm shattering … fear dissolving! It always gets me teared up! As we say here in the south, ‘I done preached myself happy!’
But back to how you can know your purpose by your fear …
Let’s look at the dynamic in reverse.
What if I knew my Purpose, but couldn’t seem to manifest it no matter how hard I tried?
A lot of people are actually in this boat. They know. They just can’t get it done. And when you ask them why, they can’t really explain it. They just … can’t.
Why? Because a deeply buried, unnamed fear is sabotaging them. Out of sight, yes, but not at all out of mind. Not at the subconscious level. Which is all it takes for authentic manifestation to be prevented. No matter how much willpower gets poured into the mix.
Because when the chain on your leg is as strong as your willpower – and most buried fears are or they wouldn’t be buried – guess how far you get in pursuit of your dreams?
One step forward, two steps back. Over and over. Always ending up in the same place of nowhere you want to be. You’re tethered to a fear, a limiting belief, buried below the surface of that well-worn ground you keep trying to move past.
My mom is into metal-detecting. Big time. And she has a bunch of little doodads designed to narrow the search to a specific area.
Because she’ll be the first to tell you that there’s a very big difference between knowing something’s under the surface … and knowing the EXACT SPOT to dig.
Well, in our reverse scenario, knowing your Purpose is like having one of those gadgets. It tells you where to dig.
Because IF it’s true that our biggest fear is the shadow side of our biggest gift, THEN our gift is the spotlight we need to illuminate our great fear and strongest chain.
We can use our Purpose itself to see what’s been binding us to the same chronic spot.
Either way we come, we can start to move forward because now we understand that our Purpose and Fears are connected.
But if we only see fear as something to be avoided, denied, or thrust away from us without an inquiry into its nature, we lose one of the greatest gifts of revelation and insight we have!
I know this flies in the face of how we were taught to see fear, especially in the Christian tradition I was raised with, but Marcel Proust was right when he said:
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”
It’s ironic that we spend so much time praying for understanding when we’ve got the key right under our nose. Right under the ground we’re trying to go beyond! It’s yanking on our leg, chain rattling, trying to get our attention. Trying to tell its story.
That is the key to the lock. The gift revealed by our core fear IS the means of setting ourselves free. But we have to face some truth to take hold of it. We have to make a sacrifice to have the right to slide that key into that old mechanism and turn it toward freedom.
What’s the sacrifice we have to make? The old way of thinking. Our limiting belief. Because once that’s slain, we don’t have any more excuses. There’s nothing holding us back.
You know what the gift in my core fear is? That fear of being utterly transparent to the whole world of who I am on all the levels?
The knowledge that I secretly wonder if I’m guilty of everything they’ll accuse me of. That I am a heretic. A Jezebel. A witch fit for nothing but the fire. A rebellious soul that’s racing, hell-bent for leather, straight to destruction.
For no other reason than … I’m just-bad.
Which means what? What’s the deeper truth all that points to?
My deepest, deepest fear is that I’m not worthy.
I’m not worthy of love, of acceptance, of the honest expression of myself in the world. That I really don’t have anything to give anyone else. That my life is for nothing, and I have no real value.
And because of that, I can never trust myself.
Even as tears well up, and I feel the resonance of this fear, this deeply embedded belief, infusing itself into the fabric of my life and holding back my greatest gifts of power, something else rises up with it, something just as strong, even more ancient and soul-to-skin true …
The ABSOLUTE conviction that ALL OF THAT is pure-dee, Grade A, 100% quality BULL. SHIT.
I AM WORTHY! I was BORN worthy! You know how I know that? Because I was born equipped! Equipped and bent toward doing the work I’m here to do. And you know what else?
So were YOU.
Being born equipped doesn’t mean being born perfect or having nothing to learn or overcome. It just means being able to do what we’re here to do. No more, no less.
Why would we come here to do a specific task – whether we’re sent by God or come of our own choice – only to arrive without any power or ability to do the deed? Makes no sense.
But that’s what unexamined fear does to us. Makes us dull. Dumb. Takes our power to reason and see clearly away. Until all that’s left is a shell of our former potential and a bunch of cock-eyed mental/emotional patterns that reinforce our powerlessness.
I’ve been there. I’ve done it. Over and over. No thanks and no more. You must feel the same way, or you wouldn’t still be reading.
If you do, start examining your fear. Dig deeper. Ask questions. Then listen. Open yourself up to all possibilities, if only for a few moments in time.
Just the shift in perspective from seeing your fear as an enemy to a key informant can literally transform the landscape of your world.
And isn’t that the point?
Big, velvety Soul hugs to you! Godspeed on your journey of liberation …
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Post Photo: Julie Franks-Murray