The You Beyond Fear
by Audrey L. Vitolins, MSW
Feeling in control is one of the main issues for cancer survivors. And there are ways to be in control during and after treatment. Worrying, although understandable, isn’t one of them. Interestingly, worry is only a perceived sense of control and has not ever, and will not ever, prevent or change outcomes. I say “interestingly” because most of my clients spend at least 90 percent of their brainpower worrying – with not one satisfying result.
The great challenge to humans is that the path to freedom and “control” is, paradoxically, to let go. And to do that, one needs to move beyond and away from fear. This is no insignificant task, but it is possible and doable – even with a cancer diagnosis. It also doesn’t have to take years of therapy as we have been led to believe.
What many don’t realize is that fear is an energy vibration that will block us from experiencing hope, joy, comfort, and love. Fear blocks us from higher guidance and direction. And when we block those higher vibration experiences, we may be alive, but not full of life. Missing out on love, laughter, joy, and peace is due to fear, not the actual cancer. This concept may not be popular, but it really is liberating if you take a closer look.
Ask yourself, What would I really like to experience, but haven’t because fear is holding me back? More laughter? A tango class? Travel? Having the courage to say hello to a stranger, skipping down the street, cooking for your in-laws? I want to share with you some insights into fear to get you started on a path to authenticity.
Fear blocks us from higher guidance and direction. And when we block those higher vibration experiences, we may be alive, but not full of life.
It’s important to understand that we are not talking about the type of fear that keeps us alive, such as the sensation you experience when you are too close to the edge of a steep cliff or in the way of an oncoming car. This is fear based on the reality of the moment.
The type of unproductive fear I am talking about is the type of fear that isn’t based on what is happening right now. You’ve probably heard, “Fear = False Evidence Appearing Real.” Unproductive fear prevents you from living a full life in this very moment. We’ll look at four components:
- First, understand that unproductive fear is not in the present. It is what Buddhists call “the monkey mind,” where the mind swings back and forth between the past and future without ever being in the present. We experience this when we spend our valuable life energy worrying about what might happen or what has happened and then applying it to the future. “I’ve never felt confident; therefore, I never will,” or “What if I move to my dream house and then I hate my neighbors?”
- Second, we must understand the nature of the ego and its job to create doubt. Many don’t realize that the ego can show up as that voice of doubt that we assume is rational or realistic. For instance, “You can’t take that watercolor class because you’re too old, color blind, don’t have a lick of talent, your mother said you were terrible in art, it costs too much …” The key here is that the voice of your ego is different from what your heart (soul, Higher Self, etc.) wants for itself and knows that it needs.
- Third, humans are very attached to ideas about the way things should be. We spend a lot of energy resisting what is, focusing on what should be and all of its injustices, and consequently feeling miserable. The opposite of this is accepting – not to be mistaken for giving up. Accepting frees up restricted energy and moves us into the beautiful flow of being available for right now.
- Lastly, I believe fear is a habit. And like all habits, this one can be broken with commitment and focus. For most, fear has become a habitual reaction instead of a thoughtful, intentional, authentic response to life and possibility. Who and what are you waiting to be or to experience? The world needs your authentic contribution – the you beyond fear.
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Audrey Vitolins is a motivational speaker and transformational coach who encourages individuals and businesses to live and operate authentically. For more information on Audrey, her keynotes, workshops, consulting, and one-on-one guidance, go to AudreyVitolins.com.
This article was originally published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, March/April 2010.