Fear vs Now
I’ve been afraid of spiders since I was a little girl. I tried to identify where that fear comes from for couple of years and for quite some time I was sure it was the movie, Arachnophobia as I remember getting a glimpse of it as a kid. Then one day, on my recent travels back home I overheard my mum saying how scared she was of them. Bingo! It was through my mum that this fear transmitted on to me, not because I chose it but because every time my mum reacted badly to a spider I got a glimpse of it and made it my own. I am not scared of spiders, I am afraid of what they may do to me. I realised that this fear was taking over my life quite literally at some point. Between July and October I would look out into the garden before heading out. When walking on the street I would look out for spiders on lamp posts and street signs in fear that they are going to jump on me so instead, when I spotted one I could make a move and cross the street before that happens. Then I started to face it. Because what can a little spider really do to me? Especially here in the UK? Probably nothing. So I am working my way through it. The little ones that are making my bicycle their home, are now taken away with a stick and put on a plant nearby. Alfred, daddy long legs that has a home in one of my bathrooms downstairs is now very welcome there every summer (I realise it’s a different spider, I just always choose to call him Alfred). The hairy ones I still struggle with but now, I have a spider catcher and ensure that these sentient beings are put out the way so they can live their lives outside of the fear that I have created in my mind. The fear of spiders here is just an example of how we can take on our fears with little tiny steps, one step at the time.
I never really wanted to face any of my fears but when I was diagnosed with AVM I realised I had to (read full story here). I decided that hiding behind my fears will not let me grow so I wanted to use them as one of those universal lessons. You know the ones that are just put in front of you even though you didn’t ask for them. Ever since knowing I had an AVM I knew that there is a small chance that it may bleed again at any point in time and that every year that risk increases. I also knew I needed another treatment, I just didn’t know when it was going to happen. Any surgical treatment carries risks. I could have focused on that and made it my thing, I could have been the person who identifies with a condition and bases their life on it. I didn’t. I didn’t want to put myself in the self-protective bubble because I knew that quite frankly, if I worry about the future or about the past, I would lose my present. No matter how many fearful "what if" stories my mind wanted to project on to me I realised that they are just stories and it was my choice whether or not I wanted to identify with them.
Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present.
The future and the past are two things you really cannot do anything about, therefore the only thing you really have is now. Yes, you do have a future but when you truly start thinking about it, even your future happens in the now, so isn’t that something we should think about?
I was scared, who wouldn’t be? After my first surgery I was faced with some time off. During one of my walks in the park I felt really strange. I sat down on one of the benches and watched the life go by. Children laughed in the background, dogs run around, the leaves shivered on the trees with a slow gust of wind, the clouds moved slowly, constantly changing shapes, sun was shining through the branches of the trees. Wow. What a view, what a sound. Sudden realisation came over me that no moment in time will ever be the same again. Never. Not even if I tried hard to recreate it something will always be different. The tree or I will be few moments older, the grass hopper will be in a different place, the cloud will move with the wind, a leaf will fall of a tree. Even the Earth itself moves at 30 km per second, on top of that The Milky Way Galaxy in which the Earth is, is moving at an astonishing 2.1 million km per hour. You are never at the same place in the universe, no matter what you may think you are never the same. I was astounded. For the first time in my life I truly appreciated the current moment. For the first time in my life I didn’t think about what future held or what was stuck in the past. I realised no matter what I could now control what happens next. I decided to appreciate everything instead. Not only the things I own, but the life, the people, the good and the bad, the sun and the wind, the rain on my skin, the food, my body and every single one of my senses.
With my second surgery just few days away I found myself drifting from the realisation of ‘Now’. I was lost in the fear that I explained to you earlier. The "what ifs" started piling up in my mind and because I let them in, they accumulated. I needed a gentle reminder that everything we are faced with is a lesson and that the mind likes to play tricks on us, that we are not the mind. So rather than resisting the negative, I accepted it and remembered that everything is just a leaf in a stream of creation, flux, constantly moving. That ‘This too shall pass’.
Every time I find myself drifting from my now, I do the below exercise, try it:
Sit still, and put yourself in this very moment, right here... Close your eyes and breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds and breathe out for 5, do it couple more time and when you're ready allow your breath to return to its normal rhythm. What troubles you right now? Right in this very moment? Not few days from now, not in an hour, not "what if", RIGHT NOW?
Do you realise that there is nothing?
It may sounds bad and maybe even a little stupid to some but if someone asked me if I wanted to give the AVM away and never have it but in exchange have never have the chance to have my lesson about NOW and the experiences, I am pretty sure I would say "No, thanks, I'm good as I am.". I live my life with a constant appreciation, love and gratitude for everything and everyone around me. I finally accepted what is inside and outside of me and I would never change it. I am happy because every time I have a choice, I choose love over fear. I choose to live Now.
I see fear in everyone, every day. I can see that our worries come from a fear based place inside of us, from the experiences we've been through, rejections we faced or people we met. We will never move forward if we keep looking back, if the rear-view mirror is what we focus on every time we need to make a choice. Take the steering wheel, say "I am scared, I accept it but I choose love instead" and see the change take place.
You can choose too, you can see fear as the False Evidence Appearing Real or you can Face Everything And Rise.
Which one will you go for?
Love and light,
(P.s. Thank you Slim x)