12 Lessons in Living without Fear
How I discovered living fearlessly and the twelve lessons to maintain the feeling of freedom.
I love you Mum and I couldn’t do this without you…
This is a message I’d written in a card to Mum my biggest supporter a few short months before she passed away this time last year.
I wrote those words and meant every word, I told Mum constantly what she and her support meant to me.
I could never have imagined life without her, losing Mum to me was the worst thing in my world that could ever happen.
A few days after she died I wrote another card, this time the words were what I wanted her to hear wherever she was heading next. I told her again what she meant to me, how much I loved her and already missed her. I told her what she had taught me and how I had become who I am because of her guidance, love and support.
I also wrote, Mum, I always said I couldn’t do this without you, and yet I’m still breathing, I’m still here and so although I never thought it possible, the worst thing in my world has happened and I am still breathing, I am still here. Life is going to be different now but I’m functioning enough to arrange the best send off for you, the guiding light in my life, and again I’m still breathing.
The thing is, when we imagine the unimaginable it terrifies us, we believe we wouldn’t be able to bear what we imagine. This isn’t just the huge life-changing events like losing a loved one, but we also imagine the worst in our everyday lives, we terrify ourselves.
Someone asked me if losing Mum had also brought good things, which in itself seemed a strange question. Initially, the question confused me, how can something good come from the worst thing in the world?
One year later reflecting back I see good things have happened following this life-changing event.
Things I’d thought I knew, but actually hadn’t completely lived them or learnt them completely. These lessons will make life richer for the rest of my life.
Here are my twelve top learnings which lead me to a life filled with love and without fear, following a life-changing event.
1. We will always survive, no matter how bad it seems at the time we will continue to breathe, and we will cope and find a way through.
2. Everyone eventually adapts to change, and a new normal begins, no matter how big the change everything will turn out OK in the end.
3. We have no control over anything, and full control over everything:
We can plan and creating goals means we’re making the most of our life and the precious time we do have. However, we have no control over events like death, illness, other people, redundancy… We do have control over how we respond, to every event in our life.
4. Emotions are completely natural and when we feel them we must feel them all out. Emotions that make us feel deliriously happy or super sad are all a blessing. When we don’t feel we aren’t living.
We could attempt to lead life as a straight line with no ups or downs. But, think about it a straight line on a heart monitor only means one thing, and that is not feeling or indeed living.
5. Kindness is the greatest gift and there will always be someone there in our hour of need if we reach out and let them in.
6. Small miracles can happen every day when we are open to seeing everything as a miracle; a phone call at just the right moment, a message on social media that seems to be perfect for you, a rainbow in the sky or a white feather just as we are thinking of someone ( I believe in signs from the Universe)
7. Not everyone responds in the way we might imagine ( once again demonstrating that what we imagine and what actually happens in reality, can be polar distances apart ) time should only ever be spent considering our own responses, not wasting energy thinking about how other people respond.
8. We are so much stronger than we ever imagined.
9. There is no right way, only our way, and that is perfect.
10. It’s OK to not be OK sometimes, and this time will pass.
11. Be extremely grateful for everything and everyone in our life on a daily, hourly, moment by moment basis.
12. Let things go, don’t dwell on small things which really won’t matter in a week, getting caught up in small things is coming from a place of fear ( see below for my biggest learn)
I learnt I am not afraid: I didn’t realise what that actually meant at first or even that I was feeling it. But I suddenly became aware, I had no fear.
What no fear means to me is: the worst thing in the world happened to me and I was OK, I was still breathing. So if the worst thing in the world that could happen to you has happened, and you’re OK what have you got to be afraid of?
This is the lesson I’m deliriously happy to learn.
Knowing this means I’m able to play full out, in a manner I’m not really sure I had since being a kid.
Playing full out for me means greeting everything with love and not being worried about or tied to the outcome.
Ultimately whatever happens in this wonderful life, eventually everything will be OK.
I personally am not afraid of death, be it my own or the death of a loved one. I’ll survive one as I’ve proven, and the other I wouldn’t actually be around to worry about. Fearing dying ( and I know some people do) could only be feared if you worried that you hadn’t lived your life all out, couldn’t it? More a fear of not living than dying?
In effect, there are two ways you can approach life, from a place of joy and love or a place of fear.
Fear based living has us making decisions based from fear, what if I get hurt, what if it doesn’t work out, what if it all goes wrong, what if I don’t make it happen, what if I get rejected, what if something happens to them,….what if….what if….?
Knowing I have no control over anything and full control over many things means I can choose to live life now from a place of love, a fearless life.
Everything will turn out just as it should, what if it does work out, what if it all turns out perfectly, what if I’m welcomed, what if I do make it happen?
Of course, it will all turn out right in the end, because it does. We will always be OK, so long as we’re breathing, we’re OK and we will find something in ourselves we didn’t know we had.
Fearless living doesn’t mean jumping off cliffs or out of planes ( unless that’s what you want to do ). Fearless living is opening your heart and soul to living life full out, connecting with souls just like you, recognising that we are all here to make the most of the precious time we have, to make a difference to other people, to laugh, to love, to run if you want to run, to dance, to experience life in all its glory…to feel.
Mum had one of those signs at home that said this:
REACH FOR THE STARS
LIVE FOR EVERY MOMENT
DANCE LIKE NO ONE IS WATCHING
SING LIKE NO ONE IS LISTENING
LOVE LIKE THERE IS NO TOMORROW
FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS
CHOOSE WITH NO REGRET
I would add to this MAKE SOMEONE’S DAY and BE KIND.
I’d read that sign a hundred times, and considered it a good way to think and live.
Last year six months after Mum passed away, I noticed for the first time in a while I was experiencing feelings of joy again ( I had been fine but not full of the joys) …
I also noticed a new joy because I had no fear, I was actually feeling just like the sign said, with an open heart and no fear.
Decisions made on what’s the best that can happen, rather than the worst, decisions made with the faith that even if the worst ( what we imagine is the worst ) that can happen, happens, we will still be OK. Perhaps even learn things about life and ourselves from life-changing events which will make the rest of our lives even better.
My Mum was a character and a really active lady, whenever she was invited to do anything, be it boogie boarding in the sea, dancing, singing, climbing, walking she would always say ”Yes”…and she would say …. ” There may come a time when I can’t do this ” and she’d jump in.
The day came when Mum wasn’t able to do it, she is with me every day, and through both her life and her death she has helped me learn to live a life filled with love and to not be afraid of a thing.
My new LIFE mantra is… I’M IN…as one thing guaranteed in the future – there will be a time when I won’t be.