What Are You Missing?
Have you ever missed (or almost missed) out on the opportunity of a lifetime due to fear?
I almost missed one such opportunity in September of 2016. I planned an amazing trip to drive 2,600 miles across the country and back from Springfield, Ohio to Granby, Colorado to visit friends. I was so excited and elated during the preparations and planning. I planned the entire trip myself and was taking my dog, Buddy, with me as my travel companion.
Like so many other things in my life, the week before I was to leave that same old nagging fear starting gnawing deep in the pit of my stomach. Each day it drew closer to the time to leave, I could feel the anxiety growing.
I couldn’t even pinpoint what I was afraid of.
Have you ever felt this way before? For me, these experiences happened so many times throughout my life, it became my body’s normal reaction. The anxiety was real…it was like an automatic fight or flight response.
I wanted to go on this trip, but the fear was rapidly turning my anxiety unto full blown panic. I couldn’t concentrate on anything at work or home and my thoughts became obsessed with the trip, the fear beginning to paralyze me.
I was ready to cancel this trip when some coherent voice deep in the recesses of my mind started shouting to make an appointment with a counselor I had seen a few times over the years. This counselor always made me think. Instead of telling me what was wrong or what I should or shouldn’t do, she would ask me pointed questions, allowing me to really think things through, breathing and quieting my mind, digging deep within myself to find my own answers. She was, in essence, holding space for me.
I called and made the appointment, getting in quickly. I was crying and visibly shaking, purely panicked when I saw her that day because I was overwhelmed with anxiety, yet I really wanted to go on this trip. When she asked me what I was so afraid of, I blurted out,
“I am afraid of dying.”
Immediately after the words left my mouth, I stopped myself and sat with that answer for a minute and slowly began to shake my head. I told her, “No…no, that is not it at all. I am not afraid of dying itself. I’m afraid of not living my life and being able to do all of the things I still want to do before I die.”
Ironically what I was truly afraid of was not death. It was all the “what if” situations my brain was manufacturing to scare me out of making the trip. Once I realized this, I couldn’t allow fear to stop me. I had to make this journey to help heal my mind and my soul. And if something happened, I knew full well that I could handle it. Had I not faced these fears head on, I would not have experienced nor witnessed the magic and beauty I encountered all along the way.
How many times have you thought or felt fear about something and while you are in the midst of the anxiety or panic you can’t seem to find your way out of the forest due to the trees?
That is exactly how I felt. After visiting my counselor, I learned that I can allow myself to take the time to breathe deeply in and out, sit with something for an extra minute, hour, day or even week in order to discover I really do have the answers I need within my own self.
Sometimes I need to bounce things off of a trusted friend, and would not hesitate to call this counselor again if I needed to. A good Doctor years ago told me meditation would help with my anxiety, but at that point in my life, I could not sit and be still with something without my brain racing in all directions. I just didn’t think it was possible…I wasn’t there yet.
It’s almost comical how something so simple as just focusing on one’s breath can diffuse full blown anxiety and panic.
My daily meditation practice, which I began in February 2018, prepares and helps me to remember when I am stressed or fearful, to slow down, stop, and just breathe. Only then will I be able to calm the fears and allow the real answers to come to me naturally.
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As far back as she can remember, fear has played a huge role in Lorri DeVore’s life. In learning to accept and embrace change, choosing to step out of her comfort zone time and time again, listening to her Intuition, practicing meditation, and in shifting her view to see fear as an opportunity rather than a threat, Lorri has learned to consciously face and work with her fear. She continues to heal & explore it, as it surfaces, through her writing. Connect with Lorri on Instagram.