While scrolling through Facebook one morning, one of my good friend’s posts hit me like a slap in the face. “What would you do if you weren’t scared?” Wow! The message for me couldn’t have been more timely. I had been dealing with a lot of fear lately and this really made me think.
While growing up in an abusive home and being in an abusive marriage, fear was part of my every day life. I was afraid all the time. This was definitely legitimate fear, but even after I had left that far behind, the fear still lingered. I was afraid of making wrong decisions, trusting the wrong people, being hurt again in any way. This was irrational fear. I was finally safe so there wasn’t anything to really be afraid of. I knew I had a lot of work to do and set out to make some changes. I went to therapy, began incorporating meditation into my daily routine and decided that I had to start trusting MYSELF again. Trusting myself really was at the core of my fear. I had blamed myself for all that had happened. That somehow my decisions had led to my being abused. Once I understood that, I had to take baby steps to learn to trust. I needed to get out there and experience life, make some decisions knowing that some of them might not turn out as I had planned, but I would learn and grow from it all. On the positive side, some of them were bound to be really good ones, and as it turned out they were. I quit my job, went back to school and became a Massage Therapist, Natural Health Counselor and then a Life Coach. The best part is I was able to help others with all that I had learned and experienced. Still, the fear lingered like old tapes playing in the background. So when something would happen that would remind me of a time when I was not safe, this caused me to jump into fight or flight mode.
Fear, when left unchecked, can sabotage your life. When you are making decisions from a place of fear, you can not yield positive results. Just as when you plant an apple seed, a lemon tree will not grow. It took me awhile to figure this out. Some of the decisions I made in fear were like a wrecking ball in my life and in my relationships with others. I made decisions that caused a lot of pain. Fearful decisions lead to fearful results. No matter how you try to ignore it, side step it, cover it up or pretend it doesn’t exist, fear waits in the shadows until it is addressed and confronted head on.
In 2008, the movie “Yes Man” came out and changed my life and relationship with fear. In the movie, Jim Carey was obligated to say “Yes” to whatever it was that was asked of him. That concept really moved me. From there, I decided that over the course of the next year, whatever opportunity came up, I was going to say “Yes” no matter what. This gave me a tool to confront fear and instead of backing off saying….oh I can’t do that!….I was forced to stare fear in the face and just do it. What I found was that I was living some pretty incredible experiences, but most of all I was growing. I began to feel more confident, strong, flexible, spontaneous, willing to try new things, and most of all FEARLESS! The quickest way to dispel darkness is to shine the light on it, and that is exactly what I was doing. One year of this practice, turned into several years and life got better and better. Then on the morning of June 10, 2017 four of us were hit by a car while cycling. In an instant, that fearless, confident woman was laid out on the pavement and fear was back.
Over the last year, I have worked hard to heal physically, emotionally and spiritually from that experience. Physically, I have worked tirelessly to rehab my body and feel stronger than I was before. Spiritually, I have come to terms with what has happened and made peace with it. “Sometimes bad things happen to good people.” At the same time basking in the amazing miracle that we are all alive and truly grateful that will fully recover from our injuries. Emotionally, it has been a longer path. I have had to mourn the loss of the woman I was before and be open to the woman I am now becoming. I had to deal with PTSD again. My sense of safety had been shattered and trust in humanity was badly bruised. I had always been somewhat of a Poly Anna, but it seemed very basic to trust people not to run over you with their cars on purpose. None of it made sense to me. When I am deeply hurt, I am like a wounded animal that just wants to hide under the porch. I wanted to shut myself off from the world and stay in the safety of my own home. But that wasn’t the answer. What I realized after all these years is that true safety and security resides within myself, not anywhere in the outside world. Cultivating that within, will help me feel safe no matter what is going on around me. So instead, I have challenged myself to be open and vulnerable with what I was feeling and experiencing. Most of all, I have had to confront the fear and walk through it. I made this decision because I couldn’t stand the thought of this person who hit us could be allowed to take something from me that I really love doing! He had taken enough already. Most of all, I really missed the part of me that was fearless. This part of the journey has not been easy. Getting back on the bike each and every time was emotionally grueling; sometimes feeling like I was hanging on by a thread. This is something I still continue to battle with at times, but I am determined. What I have found, is little by little, that fearless, confident, strong woman is making a comeback. Through it all, I venture to say that she will be back, only this time she will be better than ever!
When I saw my friend’s post….”What would you do if you weren’t scared?”….. The answer that came to me was “Say YES!” Yes to living a full and rich life! Yes to conquering fear! Yes to taking calculated risks to experience things in such a way I have never done before! Yes to challenges that lead to courage, strength and fearlessness!
So I challenge you to say “YES!” to whatever opportunities show up in your life over the next thirty days and see how your life changes. What you might find, is thirty days turns into years of expelling fear and experiencing life in a wonderful, more magical way. What do you say? Will you join me? Just say “YES!”
~ Kimberlee Anderson