You know those times in your life where everything is working just the way you want? Me too! I love those times and yet I also know that it’s often in the ‘this isn’t what I want moments’ that keeps me fully engaged in life and honing my positive focus skills toward love rather than fear. Fear loves to grab our attention. It’s flashy and loud; it’s big and dramatic; and it’s enticing and captivating. It can also be stealth and so subtle you don’t realize it’s fear until after it has gotten under your skin. It’s that shiny object that keeps glistening in the periphery of our vision to distract you from all the love right in front of you.
My livelihood is steeped in focusing on positivity, gratitude and love, yet I want you to know that fear loves to stop in to visit me, and more frequently than I would like. Fear visits even when I’m doing things I love! This past Saturday was a gorgeous day in Chicago. It was sunny, warm but not hot, and the perfect day for our twice-monthly Positive Focus free hugs event. I was really looking forward to it as giving out hugs is one of my favorite things to do. At the beginning it was just myself and a brand new hugger. I always love when new people join as I’ve yet to have someone who didn’t break out into a big smile and enjoy the experience after they started getting hugs. Yet this time, there was a group of demonstrators that had gotten to OUR spot first. Fear had already said hi to me as I felt that was my space to spread kindness not their space to spread fear. I began to worry about what was my newest hugger going to think as we had this group on both sides of us – one side with an amplified microphone telling all who passed by of all our of sins and that Christianity is the only way to be saved. They were loud, and frankly I allowed them to take me out of my reason for being there – to spread kindness. My initial thoughts were not showing kindness towards them, I wanted them to leave. Sahitha and I stood there for quite a while before receiving any hugs. We got a few and then the leader of the group came, got a hug, and asked us about our religion. We chatted for a brief moment knowing neither would change the other person’s opinion and it was within that brief conversation that I realized I had an opportunity to step further into love by seeing his heart rather than his hurt. I didn’t agree with his message but I could extend compassion instead of judgment. We ended up with three huggers, a group of teenage girls who wanted to join us at the end, and we received lots of hugs. One woman said to us “Now I feel that I am loved,” which is exactly why we were out there.
While I absolutely prefer hug days or any day for that matter where love is so evident that I easily remain fully focused, this was a perfect reminder that I still get to choose to see love in everything and everyone. I can choose to be love in action, or I can choose to be fear in action. Thankfully I most often choose the love in action part and yet I am grateful for these reminders that it’s a choice to stand tall with love and that choice isn’t always an easy one, yet it is always a possible one.
Moving forward, I invite you to stay in a space of love when fear is grabbing your attention by:
Being aware of your feelings. Through awareness we can make shifts into a better feeling place. As I was feeling responsible and trying to protect all the people who walked by from hearing their fear based message by this group, I was aware those thoughts were dragging me further into fear rather than toward love. Rather than worrying about what my newest hugger was experiencing, I could shine more love.
Knowing it’s okay. You don’t have to be positive and loving 100% of the time. Perhaps the Dalai Lama is, but I suspect 99.9% of all people have negative and unkind thoughts daily if not hourly. Be gentle with yourself and refocus from what you don’t want to what you do want. For me, in that moment, I wanted a peaceful and fun free hug event letting people know they matter in the world. Once I shifted out of fear, we began to receive more and more hugs and had a great time.
Being grateful. Yep, be grateful even for fear as fear isn’t the enemy. Fear can be a sign for personal safety that keeps you safe. Fear certainly is there to help you see what you don’t want and then you can choose to refocus to what you do want. See fear as a firm friend rather than an instigating enemy.
Mostly, my wish for you moving forward is to be gentle with yourself knowing in each given moment you are doing the best you can with where you are at in that moment.
Until next time, see love, be love and know you are love.
I see love everywhere.
Words to live by
“I believe that every single event in life happens is an opportunity to choose love over fear.” ~ Oprah
“The way we can allow ourselves to do what we need to, no matter what others may say or do, is to choose love and defy fear.”
~ Martha Beck
“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” ~ Mother Teresa