Monday, September 20, 2010

Defense against fear

Sitting in worship yesterday after a very profound communal reading (not a Quaker practice and fraught with personal memories of rote meaning), the blessed, gathered silence opened deep wisdom including that I am afraid. Constantly afraid.

I know my body reacts as if continual fire alarms ring all of my waking hours. My nerves are on overdrive, a very unscientific explanation of fibromyaglia. I'm not certain a scientific one exists as it is not well understood. For years, doctors told me nothing real was wrong because their diagnostics could not detect soft-tissue pain.

And yet, I don't believe I am the only one to feel afraid. I believe we all do at some time or another.

I fear:
– more health challenges
– not enough money to be comfortable
– not living up to my potential
– leaving my kids with a messy world

Funny, I have:
– learned to manage a chronic condition
– always had enough even in lean times
– had several careers and am embarking on another, to which I am spiritually called
– taught my daughters the lessons I have learned, trying not to relay what's harmful

So why am I afraid of the things I have already conquered? Because I want to pretend that I am in control. Life throws curve balls and, so far, mine have been manageable. What, specifically, has made them manageable?

Something bigger than myself. Use whatever word or concept you desire.

That something is also bigger than our cyclone-like culture that smashes anything in its path that refuses to move in the same direction; our addiction to 24/7 news that only looks at the negative, preying on disaster; reality TV that caricatures our humanity, passing it off as exemplary or stingingly revealing weakness; the constant noise and distraction in our lives; a prevalent competitive spirit that compares and judges; and whatever else erodes our natural balance and rhythm.

My best defense again fear is prayer: talking to God/Spirit/The Universe as often and as deeply as I can.

• What rules me? Fear? Gratitude?
• Of what am I fearful?
• How can I counter that?
• What fills me with negativity? Fills me more lovingly?
• How can I nurture myself while being a part of the world?

Dear One –

Still me
all of me

so that

I may
know you


in my heart,
my core

help me
your breath
of love
and compassion

make me
forget the
grind and greed

teach me

and to
that I

thank you


  1. So much synchronicity between your last two posts and where my journey has taken me lately - intercessory prayer, fear as I go to deep places in my writing. Thank you dear friend for sharing your journey so honestly and eloquently. You've ministered to me.

    Congratulations on the invitation to the colloquium and a possible meeting with an editor. Way does seem to be opening as you respond faithfully to your call.

  2. Iris, I am always so very glad to hear from you. You are an inspiration. This being faithful, especially to the call of writing as ministry, can seem very lonely.

    I'm trying to figure out what the opposite of fear is (well, besides being unafraid) ... faith? courage? maybe prayer?

    What spiritual practices sustain you?

    Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful heart. I do feel so connected. now and I desperately needed that!

    -- Cathy

  3. Great post. I love the questions at the end of your posts. I have been answering them each time I read your posts. Thank you.

  4. Welcome, Melinda. I am grateful you find this helpful. Thanks for reading and commenting, Blessings on your journey.

    -- Cathy