I travel a lot, and I meet the most well-intentioned, beautiful beings who are fighting against the injustices of the world. They stand for ending sexual violence against women, the destruction of Gaia, climate change, social inequality, and any number of other very good causes. I appreciate that these people are DOING something to heal the world. Their passion seems admirable and their commitment and self-sacrifice command respect.
Yet, I find something about the energy of some forms of activism weighing heavy on my heart.
We’ve all met the angry feminists that lash out at men, the rainforest activists who judge those who drill in the Amazon, and the Occupy activists who hate the 1%. But how can we possibly co-create a more beautiful world if we’re coming from the energy of judgment and hate? As one of my spiritual teachers said, (forgive her language), "Fighting for peace is like f*cking for virginity."
When I was in Australia speaking at the Uplift Festival in December, 70 spiritual self-help leaders, elders from the indigenous tribes of five different nations, and change-the-world activists spent a week before the festival participating in an ongoing conversation about the intersection of spirituality and activism. How do we marry the principles of "Being" that we learn through our spiritual practices with the practices of "Doing" embodied by many activists on the front lines of global change? Are we better off sitting on our meditation pillows, raising the vibration of the planet and emitting frequencies of love into the world? Or do we need to get off our pillows and go DO something? Is there a way to be even more effective by merging the two?
Most people in our culture are riddled with fear, and it’s running the show in our lives, taking the wheel in most of our decision-making. But the funny thing is, we don’t even know it. This is partly because, in our culture, we tend to dress up “fear” in the more socially acceptable clothes of “stress.” And stress—well, hell—stress is practically a badge of success in our culture!
We’ve been taught to think that fear is for sissies. We see it as a weakness, something we should hide from others and deal with alone in dark nights of the soul. But fear is not something that should elicit shame or stay hidden. Now more than ever, our fears need to shamelessly take center stage so we can let fear illuminate everything that is in need of healing in our lives and finally be free. Physical therapist Val Zajicek says PAIN means Pay Attention Inside Now. I think fear is like pain. It’s an emotional and physical signal alerting to you to Pay Attention Inside Now. Rather than running away from it, we need to examine it and let it heal us.
Fear is sneaky, and it shows up in all kinds of disguises, but until you see it for what it is, it’s hard to come into right relationship with fear.
Tuesday was the birthday of my new book The Fear Cure: Cultivating Courage As Medicine For The Body, Mind & Soul. To celebrate the book’s birth, Tosha Silver and I hosted a workshop about transforming fear with spiritual surrender for 100 people live in the Bay area and 1000 people streaming in from around the globe. Given how fear-based our culture is and how much unnecessary suffering results from our belief that we have to control life, spiritual surrender is a core part of letting fear cure YOU.
Essentially, the process of spiritual surrender is about taking that thing you're afraid of or that problem you think you have to solve or that unmet longing in your heart for that thing you want but don't yet have—and making it an offering to the Divine. It's about taking all of it—your fears, your desires, your need for control—and turning it over to the arms of Love, trusting that you will be protected and guided to take any inspired action necessary, either by internal intuition, your body's compass, or external Signs from the Universe. Then, having offered this with deep trust, you wait. The part that requires courage is the part that asks you to follow the guidance, even if you don't like it.
So . . . (cue the unofficial theme song of this book, Sara Bareilles “Brave”) my new book The Fear Cure: Cultivating Courage As Medicine For The Body, Mind, & Soul comes out today! You can find out more about the book at TheFearCureBook.com. This website also includes a special gift I created for you—the "Prescription for Courage Kit," which includes 5 guided meditations I recorded with my musician friend Karen Drucker—one meditation about getting in touch with the voice of your Inner Pilot Light, one about dealing with uncertainty, one about moving beyond fear of loss, one about how it's a friendly universe, and one about Oneness.
The Prescription for Courage Kit includes almost two hours of guided meditation—as a gift and celebration of today's launch of The Fear Cure. Karen and I had so much fun recording these meditations. The field in the studio was palpable. You could actually feel a pulse in the room, like angels were there with us, helping us serve you. I can't claim credit for any healing, calming goodness you might find in these meditations. I feel like Karen and I just got used as instruments of service, and something Larger Than Me came through us and landed in these meditation mp3's. I hope they help fear cure YOU and bring you peace.
The following is an excerpt from my new book The Fear Cure, which comes out next week, on Tuesday, February 24! If you preorder today, you can still qualify for the gifts you’ll get if you buy the book before February 23. Preorder 1 copy and get free admission to a live or virtual workshop with me and Tosha Silver in the Bay area, or buy 3 copies and get workshop access plus free access to the 8 week The Fear Cure teleclass I’ll be teaching in May 2015!
When we’re willing to view life as the teacher, even in the midst of uncertainty, a journey begins. This journey—some might call it the spiritual path—challenges us to shift from fear of uncertainty to trusting life in the face of that which we can’t know and don’t understand. After interviewing many people about what they’d learned on their own spiritual journeys, I discovered that the journey from fear to freedom, which is all about coming into right relationship with uncertainty, is a predictable journey, one that many have traveled before you and many will travel after you. As you read through the five phases, consider where you are on your own journey. It is a map of sorts and can help you assess where you are on your path.