Welcome to the third of our seven-day practice celebrating the seemingly “little” things that can support us in meeting difficult circumstances with greater resilience, generosity, and ease. We invite you to close your eyes and take one or two slow, deep breaths. Now, let's begin...
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Acknowledge your fears, anxieties, and concerns. Feel them as sensations in your body. Breathe into them. Naming them verbally or in writing is an act of compassion. Offer them up in prayer, if you pray. Share them with others.
Can you feel what you feel, honor it, and know that it is not the final word?
Should you be inspired, please leave a reflection below…
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Kindness goes a long way
For the past eleven years since I was diagnosed with macular degeneration my fear is that I will loose my eyesight. However, until the last year it stayed basically the same and I lost no vision whatsoever. All those years the fear was an underlying worry and nuisance that I went to sleep and woke up with. I pray on this fear often and each morning when I open my eyes and can see even with some degradation I am grateful for sight.
I am reminded of a quote from Anton Chekhov, “Any idiot can face a crisis. It’s the day to day living that wears you out.” The sadness of not seeing and sharing life with loved ones wears me out. Their concern to keep me safe brings contentment.
Like sand through an hour-glass… “this too shall pass”
Perhaps an unusual fear, but I fear being insincere. I am striving to be authentic in my feelings, my words and actions, to display a genuineness in how I lead my life for others. I am grateful that this learning time is helping me to reflect on this in a positive way.
I’m glad you are doing this. When you feel you are dealing with insincerity, it leaves you with uncomfortable feelings that may stay with you for some time. Let’s hope that insincere people get sick of themselves. They must try to learn skills that help them handle situations in which they find they actually can’t tell the truth as they see it, but are able to voice an opinion that is positive and hurts no one’.
This invitation reminds me of the song trouble and beauty as we wade our way through the experience of Covid-19 and it is so good to breathe in peace and breathe out fear
I fear never becoming brave enough.
As a widow I sometimes worry about being alone and safe after a colleague my age was murdered in a “safe” neighborhood. I am also missing my grandchildren and being able to hold them. I worry how long this will last. As I journal my concerns I am able to pray about them and somehow in time find peace. Each day offers a chance to reinvent ourselves as we are called to be light to each other.
Yes, Patty, there is a longing to embrace children, grandchildren, friends…Zoom does not fill the void but will have to do for now.
I visited my grandchildren and the youngest was inside their glass door. I got down on his level and removed my mask to kiss him through the glass? He laughed aloud and kissed me back. It was so joyful!
Patty, the social distancing is particularly hard for those of us that have close ties to children and family and friends. We have no idea how long this will last or if it will ever be over. I am thankful to read you pray and wonder what people do that don’t find peace and comfort in Prayers. There are other steps you can take to feel more confident and safe even living alone.
Thanks Lily for you kind words. I guess the reality that even with precautions things could still happen was a fear. I have been able to make peace with all of this.
As I breath out I try to let go of the negative thoughts and feelings.
I am realizing this morning that one of my greatest fears is of using my time for the wrong things, at the expense of the things that really matter. And I am realizing that many of my conflicted feelings at work and at home come out of this fear. Folks will often have very different ideas about what is important, and it is perhaps counterproductive to see this as threat? Perhaps my fear of being overridden by other people’s priorities can be seen as a friend, strongly reminding me to stay focused on what really matters — kindness, gentleness, service — regardless of the storm of conflicting opinions that often rages around me. Now more than ever, these core values of kindness, gentleness, and service need to be cherished and put into action.
I share this fear of yours Betsy, I have a very busy working life and it bumps against my ability to fulfil my family life responsibilities. I fear the impact of making poor decisions about how I use my time. On a positive, we are aware of this fear and seeking to respond appropriately. Best wishes
I am learning to engage with my darker emotions more, although I find I am often surprised when they arrive (again)…as if they had dissipated forever. So now I am just trying to take the advice of Joseph Goldstein and recognize that I will be walking my life path with all of these emotions forever and I can do so without aversion and without expectation of them leaving.
Given that anxiety is one of my biggest challenges in life, this meditation is truly poignant. I often spend too much time trying to escape anxious feelings when they arise, rather than trying to get to the root of why they are there in the first place. Once I know that, then I can begin to repair them through the work of God’s Own Hands.
I understand the experience Christopher. Peace to you.
Peace as well Manuel!
It’s so comfortable inside, away from the problems and the decision-making. Living is hard or so it seems at times. And yet, I know that even being in isolation, life has a way of finding you and claiming your quietude. I am so afraid of so many things. If I’ve acknowledged them, why do they still have a hold on me?
That is a very interesting observation. One thing that this quarantine has done is make me almost too comfortable with life away from constant stimulation and worry. Yet, it’s that same stimulation which, in the right amounts, helps us to grow as individuals. Perhaps they still hold us as a way to pull us into better understandings of ourselves personally, as well as better ways of interacting with the world?
Thank you. You’re absolutely right; acknowledgement is just the first step. There’s still work for me to do.
For ALL of us to do! You’ll get there! 🙂
Yesterday’s meditation was challenging – enduring? beautiful? Of course those qualities are around us, but yesterday, I was in fear. The next challenging email, the next difficult decision, the next online meeting.
And then….today’s offering answered yesterday’s challenge. My fears have a reality to them, but they are not the whole of creation, or my life. Thank you.
In Judaism, we are encouraged to recite 100 blessings every day. Interestingly, blessings are not only for the good, they are also for the perceived bad. We bless all experience.
Even if someone dies, we say, Blessed are You, the Judge of Truth. In the face of the worst possible event, we anchor ourselves by remembering that we are not the only author of our story.
Probably my main fears/anxieties are about personal safety. I live alone in a townhome with 2 fairly steep stairways, bedrooms up, laundry and storage down. I am pretty careful, and they have handrails on both sides. But still, the stories I have heard … I generally keep my phone with me “just in case.” But I do notice this underlying anxiety often enough …
Anxiety is my middle name when it comes to worrying that people don’t respect or like me. I try to push through it by putting myself out there in uncomfortable places and situations, and acting like I don’t care. But then I always end up saying or doing things that I’m later quite sure others thought was dumb or inadequate. I know these are irrational fears, but they are honestly mine, from where I don’t know and I’m not sure it matters. Breathing helps. Writing helps. Self talk helps. And my husband is very supportive.
In nonduality, fear, anxiety and concern are one with their opposites. Breathe into those also.
Well put Michael.
I am reminded of two acronyms I was taught 35 years ago; listening to others in a sacred circle: Flee Everything And Run; Face Everything And Recover. Ever so slowly I learned I needed to take action in every phase of my life. When new or old fears crop up I need to write them out & share them with an other. The size of the dragon each fear was diminishes. Breathing deeply comes easier. Grace guides.
Carla I recently read a book, “My Grandmother’s Hands”, that underlines that fear is processed by our lizard brain yielding the fight, flee or freeze response. If we are able to recognize that the feelings emanate from the archaic lizard brain then the author of the book suggests that we have a better chance of managing situations from the more developed and rational areas of our brain.
Thank you Manuel. Namaste
I am in a state of health whereby I have no control. I am afraid, often fealing defeated but I now recognize that my fear is a lack of trust. This is the purification I have needed to find the fruits of the Holy Spirit that have illuded me up to now.
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We invite you to experience six blessings in this short, meditative video from Brother David: