Befriending Fear

“How are you?" I call tentatively.

 The room is dark. A single bulb hangs from the ceiling. I reach my hand out, waving it in the dark till it touches the string; and I pull. The click frightens us both in the silence. I see cobwebs hanging from the rafters. The light is weak against the thick gloom gathered in the corners, but it's there. A small circle of yellow on the dirt floor.

Sometimes when we move toward what our souls are longing for, we get afraid.

Afraid of what others will think. Afraid of failing. Afraid that there isn’t really a way to make what we long to do happen.  

And so we stop. We move away. Until our soul’s whisper to us again. This. This thing here. This is what you need to do.

And so, we then often try to leave our emotions to the side, knowing we have to conquer fear. (“Feel the fear and do it anyway!” “Fear is temporary. Regret is forever!”)

We think we should just be able to power ahead.

However, what I’ve discovered for me is that befriending fear works - and most of the time much better than just pushing through it.  One particularly effective way to do this is through personifying your fear through your writing. Turn it into a living breathing thing, and then try writing to it from your soul. Tell it what you want it to know.

By meeting your fear where its at, and not brushing it aside or trying to constantly struggle past it, you validate it, letting it feel comforted, safe.

And, in the end, that's really THE BEST WAY to detach and move through it.

“Hello?" I call.


 It's so quiet I can hear the spiders scuttling in the corner. There's a distinct rustling I suspect is a mouse shredding one of the old boxes shoved in the corner.

 “Hello?" I call again. I hear the slightest movement, but no answer. So I take a deep breath, because the words need to be said even if she can't hear them right now.

 That's okay. I'll just be here a minute,” I say, dropping my voice to match the quiet of the room.

 “I know you're scared," I say. “I am too. Maybe you don't believe that. But I am. I left the job. A paycheck every two weeks. Before, I didn’t think twice when I needed new glasses prescription, or when the dishwasher the started leaking." I spy a few patches of damp earth in the corner.

 “Of course, I'm nervous, but here's the thing – it was killing us before." I heard a sudden movement and caught a glimpse of a soft gray light coming from a small window along the ceiling.

 “Maybe you don't think so, but it was. Oh, I said it was fine. But, I could feel it in my body. Every single day, a low level of anxiety thrumming through me, buzzing like an old refrigerator laboring on a hot day My creativity, the seat of my soul, lay in ribbons strewn at my feet.”

 I stop for a second. My eyes have adjusted to the light. And I can see her as she lifts her young head, her ponytail loose and dress pulled over her knees.

 "It was time. Time for me to go and do this. I feel sure about that. I know you're scared, you don't know we’re doing. In many ways, I don't either. But here's what I do know, deep down," I say as I extend my arm to her, "I know we’ll be okay. We always have been."

I watch her push herself up, the two beaded necklaces tangled around her neck. She stands there a second, wavering.

 “We always have been okay,” I say again.

 And then she rushes headlong to me grabbing me by my waist, and I hug her back long and steady.


What about you? Can you try befriending a fear that’s troubling you today? I'd love to hear from you. 




Photo by Joe Beck on Unsplash