Beyond Fear…Lies Freedom


BeyondFearWhen I first heard this phrase, it struck me as simplistic and naive. Fear protects us from hurt – why would I want to potentially endanger myself to see what lay on the other side?

That type of thinking was much earlier in my journey (so happy to admit). I now see this phrase from a completely different perspective.

Fear is not protection…it is limitation. Setting aside obvious safety concerns (wearing a seat belt, not using a blow dryer in the bathtub, etc.) fearful thinking is entirely generated by your mind.

The thoughts you think repeatedly will become your beliefs. Your beliefs guide your actions and that is how your life is created. Thinking fearful thoughts leads you down the path of lack, scarcity and protectionism.

Move beyond your fear and find your freedom. 

Allow me to give you a small example from my recent trip to Paris.  I have a small bit of claustrophobia. Nothing debilitating, but I know when it comes into my awareness, because my heart starts beating faster, my breath comes in shallow gasps, and all I can think about is that I have to escape the environment that triggered that reaction.

To capture this photograph of the gargoyle looking out at the Paris skyline (the Eiffel Tower in the background is the cherry on top), I had to climb the North Tower of Notre Dame. 300 stone steps that formed a circular staircase inside a stone chamber that was probably 5 feet wide. People in front of me; people behind me. No flat spot to catch my breath, only small, narrow windows cut out of the 2 foot thick walls (did I mention they are made of out stone?) The combination of the small space, physical exertion (when was the last time you climbed 300 steps without stopping) and the knowledge that I was surrounded by an immoveable material, triggered my claustrophobia.

I knew what this climb would entail, and I suspected that it might have that effect on me. To prepare, I gave myself three simple things to focus on while I was climbing:

1. Sing the words to Pharell Williams’ Happy song, which always makes me smile;

2. Focus on the other people making this climb with me; and

3. Keep my end goal in mind – I wanted to capture those gargoyles and the Paris skyline on my camera.

I discovered by keeping myself busy (at one point, one of the other tourists asked me what I was singing, which combined #1 & 2), I was not thinking fearful thoughts. My  mind was focused on others instead of myself, I was in a great mood (courtesy of Pharell’s catchy song). These techniques worked until about 2/3 of the way up.

Our progress came to a stop. While I was grateful for the rest, it took me out of my rhythm (step and hum; step and wonder where the family was from in front of me). Now that we had stopped, the fearful thoughts came crashing back in. The thought of escape flicked across my mind, but I knew there was no way to go but up. So I pulled out my most powerful technique – my vision of my goal.

I was so close to the top, I had to get those photographs of the gargoyles! That was enough to quench the fear and make my feet move again. It turns out that we were only 10 steps from the top. If I had quit at that point, I would have deeply regretted it.  And fear would have won.

Beyond Fear…Lies Freedom. 

What fear is holding you back from discovering your freedom? What can you look at differently in your life that will propel you forward to a more expanded and evolved you? Do one thing today that triggers a fearful thought, but do it anyway. And discover what you have been missing!

The future depends on what we do in the present. – Mahatma Gandhi

The future depends on what we do in the present. – Mahatma Gandhi

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One thought on “Beyond Fear…Lies Freedom

  1. What a poignant way to speak of this simple, yet meaningful statement ..”Beyond Fear..Lies Freedom!” When you tell your own story, like you have here and in your other “Paris” pieces, your message seems to just jump of the page to me. Thanks so much for sharing your perspective. I enjoyed reading this very much!

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