Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sacred Life Sunday: Fearlessness

I don't believe in fearlessness.

I just don't.

Friday morning (actually all Thursday night and Friday morning) I had a dental emergency and wrote this while camping out at my dentist's office, waiting to be worked into their packed schedule:

"I have been up all night, have trouble talking, am very swollen on the left side, but mostly scared. I'm a dental pain veteran, but rarely of pain like this, not with sudden onset out of nowhere, and not constantly this severe.

Which brings me to a topic I've been wanting to write about---fearlessness. I don't believe in it. At all. Mark Twain didn't either. He said,

"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear."

I believe in befriending and happily co-existing with fear. In acknowledging it, fully feeling it as a part of me, listening to what it has to say to me, and then moving through it, effectively making it irrelevant to what I decide to do.

I never want fear to stop me. Instead, I want it to be my friend.

Last night as I laid awake I made friends with pain. As the throbbing continued, I felt it and followed it, at times dosing off, only to be awakened by an intensification. I told myself that it was only pain. The bigger question was what the pain meant, but I tried to put that off since there was nothing that I could do about it was anyway. I didn't take any pain killers, because I wanted to be aware of the pain's intensity in case something changed and I had to take some action--what I didn't know--go to the emergency room, wake up LoveHubbie, etc. I even thought I might die (that's how bad the pain was). That sounds a little panicked but I was pretty calm about it. The whole process was more peaceful than anxious, a new one for me.

I think that sometimes we experience fearlessness in scary or terrifying circumstances, but this is trans-human, a miracle, a gift, not something to be counted on. Most of the time I think that we will indeed feel fear but invite it to ride with us on our journey, not in control or in the driver's seat, but as a passenger along with other friends."

As part of my Sacred Hour in the morning, I draw a stone (one of a batch of 19) to set my theme for the day. They are all individual words that hold a lot of meaning for me, like this year's theme "JUMP!" So anyway, today's word was "FEAR". I include it in my stones because instead of feeling dread or recoiling when I see it (my natural reaction being "Oh, no, what is going to happen today?") I want to smile and think of the opportunities in the day for communing with My Friend Fear.

Angela of Eclectic Recovery writes about her fear in an integrative way also today here.

What do you think about this? What is your relationship with fear?


Angela said...

Wow, O! We are on the same wavelength, aren't we? Very good post and thanks for linking to me. Love you, lady!

Olivia said...

me 2 U, Angela. Love right back at you :) O

CrystalChick said...

Can't quite go into some of the specifics here but I have felt much pain and alot of fear over many years for assorted things. I'm not really sure what the pain means at times or if one can get it to leave permanently or even if you wanted for that to happen that it would.
So I have been working on sort of what you said in that we definitely feel fear, and pain, but that those things are just with us, and not in control.

Some days are better than others.

Olivia said...


I appreciate what you said, thank you for sharing this. Sometimes it's the pain we've endured that shapes us and makes us deep and able to have empathy and compassion for others. I think it all goes into making us who we are. It's all a part of it.

I wish for you many more better days,

love, O

Kim Mailhot said...

Two phrases (sorry, didn't take the time to search out where I learned them from) came into my head as I read about your rendez-vous with Fear today -
1. Pain is the catalyst to change.

2. Fear but do it anyway !

Fear is too often my nemisis as well. I think the idea of making friends with it is brilliant, a big challenge, but briliant ! What a different face it has when it becomes a friend trying to get you somewhere instead of an enemy to avoid !
Thank you for this, Brilliant Olivia ! I think I need to invite fear for tea !
Love Kim

Olivia said...


Thank you, my queen, for this comment and for calling me brilliant (I am going to claim this for the day).

I love the idea of inviting fear for tea.

I like the two thoughts you had too...but I surely wish something else (like pleasure) was the catalyst for change. So often pain IS, isn't it. But I suppose that's why we have both, because we need both.

Have a wonderful tea party with the day, is great to see you at the happyluau. I am almost done with the Love Rock project (1 more post) which will be this week.

xo, xo,


Heather said...

I think you're right. Even though I chose "fearlessness" as my word for the year, it's not really about being fearless - it's more about having courage to face the fear and work through it.

Olivia said...

Gosh, Heather...I'm sorry to stomp all over your word. I do think we're saying the same thing. By "fearlessness" I do believe you mean, as we both said, moving through life as though the fear were not the defining center of our actions. And I like the befriending of it, that kindness, gentleness, and welcoming of it. :) Wishing you courage and a wonderful day, O

thailandchani said...

I don't believe in fearlessness, either. We have fear for a reason. It is our internal warning system. Just the same, it's a matter on keeping perspective and discerning when the fear is part of our intuition or just part of a need to control.

Hope your dental situation is improving. Oh, I am so familiar with dental pain! LOL


Olivia said...


I agree with you as well.

My gum abscess is pretty much better, just have to run out the meds for 3-4 more days, the mouthwash, and I'll be as good as new. I have had almost every kind of dental pain over the last half century, but not this till now!

Love and sun,