While some are suffering with the Corona virus, the majority of us are also sick - sick with fear. We fear the future, the present, the virus. We fear for our kids, our parents, our planet. Arguably, these fears are always present in our lives, but now they are full frontal.
While many don’t openly fear falling ill, fear has found its way into our home stay. Indeed there is no shortage of worry, doubt, self-judgement, criticism, frustration, blame, anger, avoidance, aggression, self-righteousness, guilt, shame, defensiveness, feeling victimized or trapped. Whether we are angry at schools for making us teachers, self righteous in blaming China for COVID, guilty for not being grateful, ashamed that we can't keep all the balls in the air or victims to our circumstances - we are embodying and expressing aspects of fear.
Most would argue that fear is justified right now - but that is nothing new. Fear always seems justified, that is our excuse for keeping it around. But justified or not, fear is the real pandemic here. It more toxic and contagious than COVID 19 and we must find a cure. On a macro scale it is responsible for global unrest, war, famine, global warming, economic polarization and restrictive laws. On a micro level it robs us of our physical and mental wellbeing and fuels our exhaustion, excessive consumption and the frenetic pace of our lives.
Our failure to understand fear has gotten us into this mess. We have been too comfortable co-habitating with fear, and have unwittingly been complicit in spreading it, teaching it and passing it on to our kids. Our social connections often revolve around talking about our problems and worries and having others validate them for us. While I espouse eliminating fear by training our minds to react without it, others argue in defense of fear saying we need it because it keeps us safe.
There is nothing more backward than that statement. It is fear that makes us feel unsafe. It sees potential danger lurking everywhere and offers up solutions that simultaneously reduce our freedoms while expanding its tentacles. It is also well documented that fear clouds our judgement, causing us to do things that worsen rather than improve our situation. We have adapted to such a high threshold of fear that it has become imperceptible, but the amount of stress it generates in our lives on a daily basis isn’t.
The Mechanics of Fear
Fear begets fear:
A choice made in fear will bring more fear. COVID is a perfect example. The solutions undertaken to mitigate a health crisis - closing businesses, wearing masks, and practicing safe six - have ballooned into a whole new set of economic, educational and mental health crises.
The Catch 22:
How do we know if we are making a choice in fear? When we are damned if we do and damned if we don't. Fear presents only two choices and both are bad. If we end quarantine we risk losing lives. If we continue the quarantine we risk losing our livelihoods. The fallout from these decisions has untold risks and the downturn in the economy could cost more lives. Fear based solutions are rife with sacrifice and always require a compromise, the net result of which is a lose - lose for all involved.
Without intervention, the pandemic will pass but the fear will remain. We have it in our hands to determine how we come out of this quarantine. Eliminating fear rather than succumbing to it is the antidote. Healing begins with acknowledging that fear is a choice. If we choose to remain in fear, the outcome of this social experiment will be heightened, unmitigated fear. If we choose to deny this disease dispensing visitor access to our home, banish it from parading itself across our TV screens, and prevent it from projecting itself into our future, we can come out of this truly fearless and ready for anything.
Becoming fearless is the most counterculture but life enhancing thing we can do right now. It is not a descent into recklessness as fear would have us believe, but an invitation to make all decisions from the energy of peace. Peace is knowing from the inside out that all is well and that no matter what arises we trust ourselves without reservation. In life we are not ok because we have a job, we are not ok because we did our homework, we are not ok because we are wearing a mask. Nothing is wrong with those things, but they have nothing to do with us being ok.
Moving forward it is not what we do that matters but the energy with which we do it. From a peaceful energy nothing will fail, from a fearful energy nothing will succeed.
It is up to us to plot a new course for peace and shift into the energy of love in all its forms.
Be reckless with forgiveness, gratitude, compliments, kindness, joy, empathy, compassion, peace, surrender, service, humility, acceptance, freedom, openness, and responsibility, leaving no space for fear encroach. Infinite possibilities will emerge. No sacrifice will be required, and the choices we make will be for the goodness of all. Can’t we all use a Win-Win?
Sending you peace,