I was speaking to a woman the other day and she said something that got me thinking. She believed if she let her son play football on the Jewish holiday something bad would happen to him. (Obviously, she was Jewish.)
Wow! She really believed that. Don't get me wrong, I can be superstitious too. I knock wood for good measure. If someone pays my children a compliment I say, "God bless them" under my breath. I come from a long line of Italians. Superstition is their middle name! But this woman was allowing fear to make a decision for her.
She's not alone. Fear is the leader in many people's lives, but it doesn't have to be. In Donna Farhi's Bringing Yoga to Life she states: "While pain is inevitable, suffering is not. By clinging to our existentialist viewpoint, we take a bad situation and make it worse by trying to wrestle it to the ground..."
What does fear stop you from doing? Are you not writing that book that you always wanted to? You wrote the book, but you won't query it or you won't let someone read it. Or you are a published author, but you don't have the career you dreamed of. What's holding you back? Afraid to put your heart on the page? Afraid to speak in public about your stories? Perhaps, you're afraid to succeed.
And if you aren't one of my writer friends, how does fear keep you in chains?
Donna Farhi has another good quote: "If you are very, very careful, nothing bad or good will ever happen to you."
The idea of being so afraid to live, to allow fear to control your choices, that you miss out on many, many good things in life should be the very thing that scares the living day lights out of you. Not football on a Jewish holiday. Get my drift?
How do you stop fear from controlling your choices? Well, I'm no expert, but I know you have to learn to let go, to surrender. In yoga, we learn about quieting our minds, grounding ourselves in the present moment, not to resist what is happening in our lives, but to embrace it. It takes practice, lots of practice, but it can be done.
I invite you again, as I did in my last post, to be fearless today. Holding onto fear for dear life is not your only choice. You can choose to let go.