I’m afraid. I know I have no reason to be. I am safe. Life is good. But I’m afraid.
I can feel it in the pit of my stomach, or maybe the pit of my heart. It makes me wonder if I’ve always had this low-grade fear with me. Has it been my constant companion, and I’m only now noticing it?
I know I had reasons to be afraid when I was young. Things happened. People were undependable and scary. My dad left. My mom left. But I have no reasons now. And yet I am afraid.
I decide not to run from it. I breathe through it. I remind myself of the acronym I learned in Al-Anon so many years ago – that fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. I know, rationally, that that is true. I stay with the fear, keeping it company instead of chasing it away. I pull out all my “mindfulness” tricks, and let the fear be for now. I’ve learned that my tough emotions diminish when I don’t fight against them. If I can let fear or anger or sadness flow through me, they lose some of their ability to take me down and out. As I let the fear be, its potency lessens.
I reach for my new practice – reminding myself that right here, right now, everything is fine and I’m okay. There are no threats. There is no danger. There isn’t even any discomfort in this moment. I am all right, right now. And I am. The fear is there, but less so than it was.
I practice compassion. Instead of worrying about why I’m fearful, or condemning myself for being afraid, I put my hand on my heart and say to myself, “Lisa, I care about your suffering. It’s okay that you feel afraid. You don’t have to, but it’s okay that you do.” I forgive myself for getting caught in the fear, and allow myself, once again, to be imperfect in my recovery. And I feel my caught-ness subsiding.
And I make myself a cup of tea. And sit on my side porch in the breeze and the shade, where I can notice the beautiful day. I anchor myself in all that’s fine and wonderful and I know that I’m okay.
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