Breathing Through Fear
I heard the wind come up from behind and whirled about to see if anyone was there, although logically I knew there was no one. This annoyed me. I didn’t want to feel fearful on my favorite woods walk. In the past, I might have dealt with this by redirecting my thoughts, or I might have cut short my walk and gone home. This time, I was inspired to try a different approach. I breathed into the fear. I allowed myself to feel it inside and breathe into it. After a few deep breaths, I was surprised to discover that underneath the fear was a feeling of excitement. The more I breathed into it, the more I felt the excitement.
The fear melted away. The dark, snow-lined branches surrounding me looked beautiful now. The drifting snowflakes like magic. I closed my eyes and breathed into that feeling, feeling myself expanding out of the constricted state of fear right into a feeling of connection and alignment. I pulled energy up from Mother Earth and into my heart. I pulled energy down from the Great Central Sun and into my heart. I felt the connection and sent love out and in, up and down. I pushed my hood down and turned to feel the exhilaration of the wind on my face. An amazing experience begun in fear!
What a concept, fear is excitement without the breath. But what is the excitement? Perhaps it is the realization that I don’t have to be afraid of fear. I don’t have to struggle against it. There’s a thought.
Before I started on the path of spiritual development, I spent most of my life feeling afraid. Then I learned that I could take charge of my thoughts and change my experience. It was amazing. The flip side of that, however, was that I struggled against feeling fear, anxiety, stress. Telling myself that if I could just keep my thoughts positive, I wouldn’t be dragged into those negative emotions. My thoughts took another tack then and turned into a litany of criticism for not staying positive. Sigh. What we resist, persists.
We don’t always manage to stay positive and maybe that's OK. After all, we chose to incorporate in this dual Universe of plus-minus, positive-negative, for the experience of both sides of the coin.
What if we greeted fear simply as an one expression of life? What if we choose to allow the feeling, breathe into it and BE with it. As we release the struggle, it will rumble through, rather like that freight train of wind blowing past, clearing the air so that we can experience the connection and love which lie just behind.
Given this experience, next time fear comes up, I might greet it with a deep breath and a feeling of positive anticipation. Hey, it could happen.
Photo by jesse orrico on Unsplash
A Celebration of Fall
Our walk is a delightful morning ritual for the dogs and for myself. They get to catch up on all the nightly news by sniffing every leaf and blade of grass, and I get to listen to what Mother Nature has to day about the new day. This morning, she said, “You might want to get back inside where it’s warm. It’s cold and wet out here.”
Not that I mind cold and wet so much. It is par for the course in Kansas in the Fall, and it is Fall. Despite the fact that the solstice is still weeks away, the leaves are all green, and we’re due for summer-like temperatures later in the week. Today I snuggled into a long-sleeved sweater and layered on a quilted vest on top. That makes it officially Fall, at least in my heart.
You might have guessed that I love Fall. Fall is filled with pumpkins, cornstalks, and colorful mums. The trees get dressed up in reds, golds and russet orange. A freshening wind blows surrounds us in a blizzard of fluttering leaves. Cooling temperatures speak of picking apples and making warm, cinnamon-filled apple crisp, stirring up hearty chilis and soul-satisfying stews.
My birthday sneaks in there along about the start of October, shared by my son-in-law, with joint celebration. Then Halloween arrives after several months of anticipation during which our grandchildren vacillate back and forth between delightful possibilities.
“Mima,” says Eden, dark brown eyes framed with long, black eyelashes, serious in his cherubic face. “Should I be a dinosaur or a transformer?”
After deep consideration I say, ”I don’t know, which would you like to be?”
His face lights up in a grin. “How 'bout I be both?”
The big night arrives and the grandchildren are beside themselves with excitement about their costumes. Their imaginations are in overdrive as they get to be anyone they want for one special evening. Then the big event, trick-or-treating. Racing in an excited pack from house to house. They run to ring the doorbell, sing out a happy shout of, “Trick or treat!” and hold out their bags in expectation of candy. Smiling neighbors answer the summons and exclaim over the princesses, ghosties and dino-transformers at their door.
As if all that weren’t enough to make the Fall season glorious, Thanksgiving makes its abundant entrance. Family and friends gather to share the giving of thanks, loving companionship, humorous banter, games and way too much food. Roast turkey, sweet squash, buttery mashed potatoes holding a pool of gravy redolent with sage, crisp topped stuffing, ruby red cranberry sauce and the best for last, pie. Oh my! Pumpkin, chocolate cream, mince, lemon meringue, pecan chocolate chip, all topped with mountains of whipped cream.
OK, I might have gotten a little carried away with my culinary memories of Thanksgiving largesse. It’s all part of the mystique of Fall in my heart… and tastebuds. That’s OK, because this year, Fall of 2020, it’s more important than ever to pay attention to all that brings joy into our hearts, allowing ourselves to relax into the comforts of ritual and Fall celebration.
Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash
Life is full of spiritual lessons. Some feel good, some not so good. All support us to grow. This blog is about my life lessons. Perhaps you'll find yourself within these stories.