Friday, December 2, 2011

Prayer for a fearless life

Listen to this post:

Fear/pastel on paper/Cathy Barney

What’s your biggest fear? Can you name it?

I don’t remember being afraid of too much as a child and was somewhat astounded last night as several members of my weekly spiritual-nurture group talked about theirs. You know, the jumping over the floor and into bed so that the dark thing underneath doesn’t reach out and grab you.

I kinda missed out on that, secretly wishing a vampire would take up residence under my bed … though there probably wasn’t room. Weeks after my sister lost a turtle, it crawled out from there, apparently healthy and happy. I haven’t thought about that story in ages: a turtle living under my bed and not a vampire. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t afraid.

Most of you probably know my affinity for turtles and the turtleboxes I create. So, I think this realization is, somehow, important.

Back to the fear discussion, though: as an older adult, I believe I have made up for my lack of this stuff as a child. If I can articulate that fear – and I am beginning to – I can face and deflate it.

It’s not a fear of death; some days that would feel like a blessing. It’s the fear of living the rest of my life as I have the past 13 years: in chronic pain and as someone I don’t always know. She’s weak, confused, needy and unfocused.

That’s hard to see in print and not just as a thought weaving throughout my consciousness.

Weak, confused, needy and unfocused. Those are harsh words and not who I AM. That’s my fear talking, not me. I was always such an optimist (still am underneath), but have let the fibro couch me in the negative: what I can’t do, what I don’t have, how I am less.

If I can shift my thinking, even a little bit, I see through some of that. How, that despite the hardship, I have helped raise two wonderful daughters, completed two years of nurture training at a far distance and expense, delved deeper into my art, continued with some marketing clients, volunteered at my girls’ school and my Quaker Meeting, been able to spend time with my mother on her several long hospital stays, facilitated small groups for over 10 years, delivered retreats and workshops, maintained a regular blog, am writing/revising a book, traveled, pursued personal and spiritual growth, practiced yoga for 12 years, become a graceful swimmer …

Doesn’t look like less. Actually looks kinda like my glass is half FULL.

• What do I fear?
• What happens if I voice it?
• Write it?
• Dissect it?
• What’s my prayer for a fearless life?

body on pins and needles
always afraid, on hyper alert

that I can’t do or be
what I once was

my healer friend talks
about the new normal

what if I define mine?

look at what I
have accomplished
despite anything,

and what I have yet 
to do

that’s my prayer
for a fearless life


  1. I'd say your glass (life) is more than half full. Isn't is amazing how some completely healthy people do very little and yet you, who is in chronic pain, do so much? I read somewhere that often times people let illnesses or other catastrophes in their lives define them, and that is not how it should be. You are still Cathy Rose Barney.. talented, spiritual, giving, and so much more...

    Pat Hicks

  2. Well, Patti, YOU (of all people) would understand. I do let it define me and I am trying not to ... I am so grateful to have you in my life. Thank you for paying attention and commenting.

  3. what we acrtually need is the peace of mind. we cannot let our fears get the best of us. deep meditations can easily though gradually sweep away your fears and make u a happier person. 7 chakras Meditation

  4. Matt, I appreciate the comment. I spend regular time in silent Quaker worship, meditation and prayer and that's what keeps me going. I wish I could just sweep it all away. I'm open to specific recommendations.
    Thank you !!
    -- Cathy