Choose love not fear

Fear

This post follows a theme in a previous post about finding answers amidst our darkest fears rather than in the light, ie being courageous and going into the darkness in order to discover who we really are. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler address this theme in Life Lessons. “Our fears don’t stop death, they stop life”. More than we even know, our lives are devoted to dealing with fear and its effects. Most of what we fear will never happen, but insurance companies, the media, the news, all put us in a state where we are so afraid of dying that we don’t live. EKR and DK assert that what really lies beneath all fear is a fear of dying, if you peel the layers away.

Rejection

Ironically, when people are on the point of death they realise how much their fear has stopped them doing what they really wanted to do. Then it’s often too late to accomplish long dreamed-of adventures, but it’s never too late to tell people you love them. A lot of fear is around rejection and not being loved. Often it’s easier not to try rather than to be rejected or deal with the feelings underneath. “If we did the things we’re longing to do, we would still be old and ill one day but we would not be filled with regrets.”

The Choice Between Fear and Love

“At the core, there are only 2 emotions: Fear and Love. You cannot have both at the same time. So if you live in love, you will not be fearful. We must continually choose love in order to nourish our souls and drive away fear. All of our invented fears involve either the past or the future. Only love is in the present. Now is the only real moment we have and love is the only real emotion because it’s the only one in the present moment. Fear is always based on something that happened in the past and causes us to be afraid of something we think may happen in the future. To live in the present then is to live in love. We can work towards that goal by learning to love ourselves.”

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That’s all easily said, but I know from my own experience it’s not so easy to do. However, I often return to what I wrote in my earlier post quoting Jack Kornfield’s exercise about spending a week being kind in thought, speech and action to everyone. Kindness is a good starting point if the idea of loving everyone is a bit beyond you right now! Have a great week!

Live life to the fullest

Life Lessons

Like a lot of what I’m reading, “Life Lessons” by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler is about finding our true potential now, rather than realising on our death bed that we wish we’d done things differently. Something I read recently asked the question, “If you were dying, what would you wish you’d done more or less of?” It made me stop and think – actually, when you take away all the material things, the important thing is that you’ve shown love to people. Whether that is your family or friends, or strangers through voluntary work. Having an open heart. We will never wish we’d worked harder, or had more cars when we’re dying.

Lessons for now

So “Life Lessons” teaches us to think about this now: rather than wait until it’s too late to do anything about it. What is your passion? What would you really like to do if money/time/what people think was no issue? How much of what you do is because you think you ought to do it, or because you think your loved ones want you to do it?
“Once in a while give in to an urge you would usually suppress, try doing something “odd” or new.
By not doing the things that feed your soul, you are becoming someone who is squashed and won’t find their true potential. Life Lessons asks the questions:

“Ask yourself what you would do if no-one was looking?”
If you could do anything without consequences, what would it be?

EKR says your answer reveals a lot about who you are, or at least what is in your way. It may point to a negative belief or a lesson to work on before you can discover your essence.

“If you say you would steal, you probably fear that you do not have enough. If you say you would love someone who you are not loving now, you may fear love.”

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Next steps in finding your soul work

Maybe for you, starting to do the voluntary work you’ve always meant to do is one thing to initiate that will make you feel better – it will also make the world a whole lot better. Maybe ask yourself the question with things you choose to do now, “Will I be happy I did this when I’m dying?” I know myself that I would much rather look back and be able to say that I’d helped lots of people in my life than that I lived a very safe, boring life without much contact with society at large. Having been housebound has made me see how small our lives can become through illness and age and how much we need other people. So now I plan to give something back – I’ve volunteered to befriend a local elderly person through Linkage. I also plan to change my job when I am able to and do something which gives more back to my community. So watch this space! Let me know if you have any ideas.

And on that note, I’ve just seen this on Facebook

(Thanks to “Life Lessons” by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler for the quotes in green.)

 

Random acts of kindness

Pay it forward

Another theme I am trying to foster in my life is generosity. I know a few people who are always generous, mainly with time and energy rather than money, and never expect anything in return. For most of us, this is a challenging concept. I myself know that if I am generous and consistently don’t get recognition for it, I will then close down and say I’m not doing it again. So part of the learning is to keep my heart open and give without expectation. The ultimate is to carry out an act of generosity and not tell the person so it is entirely without recognition to you. However, you will still feel a warm glow when you think about it.

This sweet video on you Tube exemplifies this perfectly: The boy who has the least to give, gives everything:

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I once went to see the film Pay It Forward at the Buddhist centre. This takes this idea and moves it forward again. This is a clip from the film:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pCtXRP1edo

It’s well worth watching, and has great actors in it – Kevin Spacey etc. It’s all about every time someone does you a favour you pass it on to someone else, then we start creating a huge chain of consciousness of giving. So if you carry out random acts of kindness, the idea is that the person doesn’t necessarily know who did it for them, but you could leave a note saying “Please carry out an act of kindness yourself”. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could get the whole world doing this? Or at the very least, feeling more kindly towards other people. Then we don’t just keep our generosity for our nearest and dearest but for all of humanity.

Visualisation

The Power of Visualisation

Anyone who knows me well, will know I love visualisation. I particularly loved teaching it in my yoga classes as I saw the dramatic effect it could have on people. As usual, though, I found it harder to do for myself. But I am now visualising love and kindness flowing into me when I meditate every day.

Bernie Siegel describes in “Love, Medicine and Miracles” how his cancer patients would have their own personal visualisation for white blood cells destroying their tumour: for some it was like a Space Invaders game, for others something more gentle – one child saw his cancer as cat food and the white blood cells as white pussycats. This is obviously quite a dramatic use of visualisation, but all of us can use it it create a life we love.

You may wish to start the day visualising all of the things you know you are going to do and imagining them going really well. Visualising in bright colour, with sunshine and positive outcomes really helps. So rather than waking up grumpy and then having a bad day, you can choose to have a great day. Or you can incorporate it into your daily life: if you suffer from anxiety then when you go for a walk, imagine the breeze blowing it away. When you are washing up, imagine it being washed away. You can try this  with anything and be creative!