I’ve had a primer on fear the past two weeks. When I was backpacking in Chicot State Park, I didn’t know about the events in Paris. I found out on Sunday morning when I woke up and checked Facebook. A friend’s profile picture had turned red, white and blue, and he posted something about “praying for paris.” What now? The mass shootings of America flashed through my subconscious before I realized it was a terrorist attack. It seems the world is steeped in fear and guns…. a lethal combination.
I was in the woods, and I was safe. Ironically, being in the wilderness with wild animals and no protection from the elements other than a nylon fabric feels safer than being on the streets of Paris or in a movie theater in Louisiana. I decided to table fear for the time being, and I let myself wait ’til Sunday night to read about it and get steeped in fear.
I’m so used to the knee-jerk reaction to fear that plays out on Facebook. When it’s a mass shooting, the knee-jerk reaction is to blame it on race, guns, the sad state of our psychological care or even the media. Fear is so uncomfortable that it makes hate feel like a warm, cozy blanket. I can’t do anything about my fear. I feel vulnerable, unsafe and hopeless. With hate, I feel some power. I can do something about that! I can make you smaller by calling you names, finding a solution to change you or fix the problem. Unfortunately, nothing in this world is that simple, and, ironically, if we ever did fix any of those problems, we’d still be left with the crippling fear that manifests from our lack of control. If it wasn’t this, it would be something else. If it’s not something else, it’s the unknown.
I’m really trying to stay in the present. My anxiety has been at bay for months now. But it’s been creeping up lately. I’ve been eating more sugar to numb out my fear. Last Thursday for the first time in months, I woke up at 2:30 and couldn’t go back to sleep. I ate a big piece of pie the night before, and I know that the blood sugar cycle is what disturbed my slumber. I kicked myself as I sat staring at the ceiling thinking about the world of terror we are living in and what the future might bring. Whether it’s brought on by sugar or world events, it’s still fear. I hate fear. Is that an oxymoron? They say the opposite of love is not hate but fear. Are they sort of one and the same?
I was praying about my fear. The Universe showed up with some answers. Firstly, I somehow got the strength and the desire to push back and set boundaries with some folks who were trying to stir up my fear. I drew the deer card in my Medicine Cards on Tuesday. Deer is about using gentleness in the face of fear. An angry demon was trying to scare the native people away from the Great Spirit by taking on a mean and scary stance and standing between them and God. Most were succumbing to their fear and not approaching the Great Spirit but deer did not give in to her fear at all. She stayed very gentle and disarmed the angry demon. Hmmmm …. that’s a great message. Maybe it’s not always easy for me to get there, but it’s certainly food for thought.
My friend and energy guru Lexlee posted a new meditation on YouTube. It’s about choosing the energy you want to be in for each day. I did the meditation, and it was a great tool to let go of the past and forget about trying to predict the future. Right now, I’m safe. God really has tomorrow, and I can’t do anything about it now anyway. I’m having a routine day at work, and I’m warm and comfortable. When I let go of worrying about the world this morning, I got up, cozied up with my kitties under the quilt my Momma made, turned on the space heater for extra warmth and practiced Lexlee’s meditation. I was so relaxed afterwards that I turned up my yoga music and took a music bath. It was nice. I was able to be in the moment, and I tapped into my gentleness for myself. Deer would be proud.
Today, I took a minute on Twitter to see what was trending. Among the bad news was a story about how the people of Belgium helped the police with their crackdown by filling up social media with posts about cats. Click here for the story . It warmed my heart. Instead of giving into fear, the people of Belgium banded together and gave the finger to the terrorists in the form of furry feline humor. It made me laugh and tear up and feel all warm inside. My love for humanity trumped my fear for an instant. And life goes on…..