It happened. I didn’t know what at first, but I knew it wasn’t good. I don’t watch the news, but soon upon waking I saw so many comments on social media regarding prayers for Orlando. It didn’t take much digging to discover a horrific act took place early Sunday morning that took the lives of many innocent people.
It took my breath away as if I had been sucker punched. I wanted to look at snopes.com and find it to be a cruel joke and yet I knew it had taken place. A tragedy that is incomprehensible. A tragedy that wants us to believe that fear is winning. A tragedy that simply should never happen and yet it did.
So, how do you rise above fear when it seems to want to consume your every thought, word and action? I’ve tried all day to put pen to paper on how to rise above fear, yet my fear is that I will sound trite in my response. However, I’m going to lead with my heart. If this resonates with you, I hope you will take it to heart and rise above fear and stand tall on the side of love. Remember, these are my feelings from a person who diligently stands on the side of peace, compassion and love. So much so, it is what I do for a living.
Tips to rise above fear (a stream of consciousness and not an ordered list to follow):
FEEL IT. Feel your sadness, your anger, your frustration and yet don’t act upon it. If you jump straight into happiness you are going to stuff these feelings and they will come out elsewhere in your life. Feel them, be angry, and cry as much as you need to. Depending on the depth of the fear, it may take 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days, 5 weeks, 5 months or even more to fully move into a loving space where the fear doesn’t hold your attention. The more you allow yourself to feel it when it happens, the sooner your healing can begin and the quicker you will move through it.
RELEASE JUDGMENT, BLAMING AND NAME CALLING. Oh how easy and seemingly justified it is to call someone who creates such devastation a monster, blame the religion/culture, or so many other things, thinking it’s going to lessen the hurt if we can blame. When we are hurting, we want to yell, act out and do something reactionary. Again, feel what you need to feel, just don’t act upon it. I say this from a place of not personally being involved in the moment. I am a peace loving person and yet if I personally witness an injustice, I step in immediately and get involved. But if it’s a situation I have no ability to control and/or help, then my help comes from a space of sending love and light rather than infusing the hatred and fear with more hatred and fear. Although these acts are multi-dimensional, you will not be able to justify them in your head, so don’t try. You may feel the need to constrict your heart due to fear, but NOW is the exact time to expand your heart to let love rise above the fear.
HELP IF YOU CAN. Help in ways of sending love. Help in ways of donating blood, money, food or items that may be needed in whatever tragedy you are dealing with (terrorism, natural disaster, etc.).
UNDERSTAND IT DIDN’T HAPPEN IN ONE DAY. This man didn’t wake up one day and decide to go on a killing rampage. I don’t know the facts in this case, but I can assume that it was years of frustration turning into disappointment, turning into anger, turning into hatred, turning into killing. I am a firm believer that the vast majority of people (remember there are over 7 billion of us) go about our days in a peaceful way. And those that do hurt others are doing so because of their own hurt. It doesn’t make it okay, but it does make it ‘understandable’. Molesters were often molested as kids for an example. I also believe there are a tiny fraction of people that are hard wired with no empathy or compassion for others and can commit awful acts without an ounce of remorse. I, nor you can help that small fraction. However, we CAN help the vast majority of people by seeing their hurts early on. I’m not talking about terrorism here; I’m talking about the person who has been bullied, the one who doesn’t feel worthy; the one who feels they can’t go on due to a death of a loved one… or ______ fill in the blank. People who feel loved and worthy are not inflicting pain on others or themselves. Pay attention to those around you and SEE them. Smile and share a kind word with people. I promise you that smile or kind word might be what makes them see life is worth living as they see that you care.
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR OWN FEARS. Where in your own life are you allowing fear to lead? Unworthiness is fear in action. Unable to commit to others is fear in action. Anger is fear in action. Fear in itself isn’t a bad thing. In fact, sometimes it’s great as it alerts us to possible danger. It also alerts us to what doesn’t feel good and from there we can turn it around to what does feel good, to what we do want in our life.
BE COURAGEOUS AND STAND UP TO YOUR FEARS. Oh it’s so easy to play small and stay safe in our comfort zone. Trust me, I’ve done it myself and in certain areas of my life I have to remain diligent to not close my heart for self-protection. But even then, I know that a closed heart isn’t living full out and I want to fully live! YOU deserve to live life full out too and be unabashedly YOU! Be courageous and let LOVE lead the way. Fear is going to throw a tantrum like a two-year-old to get your attention and that is when you need to be diligent and ask yourself – WHAT WOULD LOVE DO…WHAT WOULD LOVE DO. Love can say no, but it does so with respect, courtesy and compassion. Love isn’t a doormat; love is a welcome-mat.
LIVE FROM YOUR HEART. Again, what I am asking you do to is not for the faint of heart. It takes great strength and courage to be kind and loving. But you are so worth it! Be vulnerable with yourself first and really ask yourself if you are truly LIVING life or is life living you? When you know the answer to that you can make adjustments. It is when you know your own heart intimately that you are able to be truly vulnerable and share it with others.
BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ENERGY YOU BRING. I cannot control life (trust me I’ve tried), but I am in control of how I react to it. And by control, I don’t mean not being sad, angry or hurt. Sometimes I do it amazingly well and other times I have to be gentle with myself as I move through my own hurts. We are all energetic beings and as such our state of being ripples out to those around us. Your love, kindness, compassion, and joy ripples out. Your fear, sorrow, sadness and anger ripples out. Be responsible for it. Start your morning in gratitude for your life, the lives of others and the world at large. Send out love and receive it back. Be loving and gentle with yourself and others. The more we each take responsibility for our thoughts, words and actions, the more healing occurs within us and around us. Be in the room to heal the room not to hurt it.
LET PEOPLE KNOW THEY MATTER TO YOU. If nothing else this tragedy teaches you, it should at the very least teach you how very precious life is. Tell people that they matter. Show them that they matter. Remind yourself that YOU matter. If there are people you are uncomfortable talking to because of past hurts, have an energetic conversation with them (meaning in your head) of letting them know they matter (or mattered) to you. There is always an opportunity to send love verbally or silently.
ONE LAST THING: In no way am I trying to lessen the severity of what took place in Orlando and so many other places in the world. Choices have sequences that follow them. Positive choices have pro-sequences and negative choices have con-sequences. What I am asking is for you to love yourself more than you fear the person creating the pain in your life, the life of others, and in the world. Don’t join him/her in the muck of such thick energy as you can truly get swallowed up alive in it.
In closing, fear doesn’t start as hatred, it starts small and works its way up an awful path to destruction. The vast majority of people who do live in fear, will not act upon it in such levels. Yet know that we, one- by-one CAN and DO make a difference when we show up on the side of love, kindness, compassion, respect and yes – forgiveness.
Until next time, you are so worthy of living a life full of love, please do so and share it.
I live with an open heart, open mind and open arms to fully embrace life.
WORDS TO LIVE BY:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
SOUNDS OF THE SOUL: