False Evidence Appearing Real.
How often do you allow fear to turn you away from achieving a goal, trying something new, stepping outside of your comfort zone or having a conversation you need to have with someone. Making amends, starting a new relationship or asking for something you want in your current relationship. As human beings, our bodies react differently to the things that scare or challenge us. We often question our ability to do something great, our strength to accomplish a tough goal or we question our mental strength in doing those things that are sometimes difficult to do.
As children we have absolutely NO fear. The things that scare us are imaginary, unseen things. We have no preconceived notions about how something might or might not work out. We go all in, no question. When I was kid I literally had only a few fears: cockroaches ’cause I grew up in FL with Orange trees in the backyard, ghosts/spirits because I come from a very spiritual family and the dark, because of reason number 2 and an unwanted visitor. Either way I had no fear. No fear of heights, no fear of water, no fear of riding my bike. I think back to how exhilarating it was to climb up to the top of a big slide at a water park and plunge my way down to the pool, the anxiety only made me want to do it more. I remember standing, one-legged on my bike seat and just cruising down the BIG hill on the road behind my house. Where did that gumption go? When did I become so fearful…
A few years ago I went to a psychic retreat in Lily Dale NY. That’s where I heard the word “fear” better described as an acronym. I was literally in awe when the medium exclaimed, “false evidence appearing real” what?! How much more clear can it get, I ask you. It was a shock to my core, that everything I was “afraid” of doing was just me talking myself out of doing it. The the evidence in front of me wasn’t even legitimate. We place road blocks in our lives because sometimes the thought of either breaking down barriers or building up our warrior strength can be terrifying. It wasn’t too long after that trip did I start to realize that I was missing out on so many things because of the fear that I was believing was existent in my life. I began to do what I wanted, when I wanted and with whomever I chose. And by that I mean exploring with a friend, taking a new adventure somewhere I had never been. Reaching out to people who seemed like they needed someone to talk to or someone to understand them. I had never found it easy in my life to do that. I also started to find that in myself.
I began to plan solo adventures. Initially as a means to connect with people, but then it became more of a means to connect with the invisible universe, as I like to call it. To connect with the energy that surrounds us, in every being, in every object. I began to Google places, type in “waterfalls near me” or “great places to hike”. I would get my backpack together, pack a few snacks, water, charge my phone or iPod for music sake, type a location into my GPS and hit the road, not knowing when I’d get there or how long long it would take. I started a soul journey in hiking and connecting with the earth. The fear that nagged atop a tall mountain or tall waterfall was SO loud sometimes that I literally had to talk directly to it, out loud, like talking to a person and just say “hey, go away, I can do this, I AM doing this and I’m fine” and the act of doing that silenced that fear immediately. I started to feel this peace with hiking and listening to instrumental music and sounds (mostly ambient or Native American) and I would just go. I would go to the top of that waterfall, to the top of a mountain or cuff. I would position myself just close enough to the edge to push that anxiety or nervousness out of the way.
I had some close calls all by myself. I remember trying to find a way down to a waterfall that I was led to, via some very vague directions, to a point on the side of a road. I noticed there was no trail and it was extremely steep, but still I was determined to get down there. I could hear the water rushing and just see the mist faintly. I could see the rock ravine that was created from that flowing water. I took a few steps off the side and then realized I had overestimated the terrain. Living in upstate NY, the ground takes a significant amount of time to solidify after winter and this was probably early spring. The soil began to crumble underneath me and fear took over my body. I was paralyzed with it. I was literally spider-man crawling up the side of this steep hillside and with every step, the dirt crumbled beneath my boots, with every grasp of my hand it did the same, I couldn’t find a hold. I was in full on panic and was using every amount of energy I had to no avail, I wore myself out with every attempt. I was spent. I didn’t cry, I didn’t scream I was just overcome with the fear. Then…I stopped. I stopped moving, I started to tell my mind to quiet down, I started to listen to the sounds around me and made the choice to not be scared anymore, that it would be okay. I would be okay. In the midst of the fear the thoughts were running rampant, if I fell I’d probably land on that rock ravine and break a few bones, if not every single one and no one would find me. The waterfall drowned out any sound from the road. I had no choice, but to suck it up. So, I took a breath, I gathered my thoughts and I began to crawl slowly. Focused and intent on the mission at hand…”get back up…take your time…slow easy movements. I even threw it out there spiritually and asked anyone who might be around to give me a push and the calm to pull myself up. It probably took all of about 5-10 minutes. It felt like an eternity because I let the fear control the start of it all.
It’s a perfect example of how fear can put you in a situation that seems terrifying when it really isn’t. How fear can cause you to lose your peace and confidence in your abilities, when you know you have the wherewithal to overcome. I was overcome with fear that I would die or be seriously injured and no one would find me and that would be it. I’d be gone because I was too scared to do the work! To scared to focus my energy on the outcome. I was overcome with the strength and I made it back to solid ground atop that hillside. I was breathing so heavily, I was sweating profusely and just plopped down, lips covered in dirt. Body still trembling from the adrenaline. I had tons of dirt under my nails from clawing onto clumps of the earth and I was completely covered in dirt all down the front of my body. I let out this huge sigh of relief and almost laughed out loud with that mixed emotion “fuck yes!” and “holy shit!”. When I stood up I realized that I wasn’t even that far down from the side where I stood, but in that moment the fear made me believe I wasn’t making any ground. I smirked and shook my head. I brushed off my clothes and surprisingly found the path that led straight down to the waterfall not far from where I had “struggled” to find footing. I thought to myself “how did I miss that?!”and made my way to beauty I wouldn’t be able to describe well enough in this post. And I just sat there, for about an hour and half. Taking photos of the reflections in the streams of water falling of the top, the trees surrounding it, the plant life and blossoms. Butterflies and bugs. I sat there looking up at the side of the hill being thankful for overcoming that obstacle. The one we so often place in our own way. Fear. And shaking my head in disbelief of what had just happened.
Everything happens for a reason, whether to teach us a lesson or to take from us what we no longer need or may not even deserve. I believe the same thing of fear, it’s how you handle the idea of fear in your life that will provide the outcome. There have been many moments in my life then and even now, that I stop myself from doing what I want because I allow that false evidence to appear SO real that I’d rather not feel discomfort or rejection or even accomplishment. Missed opportunities of friendship. Missed opportunities to say something that would make a huge difference. I was able back then to conquer that. I hiked up and down many mountains, many waterfalls, did things that scared me, made friends that I wont forget and snagged opportunities that challenged me and it’s almost as if that place was what was special. Sometimes I convince myself that I can never be that strong or whole again because of where I am located geographically. But how much of that is my own “fear” of the unknown. How much of that is exactly what I know to be false, yet I still give in to believing. I think we should listen more to intuition than fear. My intuition has always been spot on. It’s NEVER let me down, but the fear has ALWAYS let me down and still yet, I am now fearful.
I am on a journey again…to center myself and to get back to the person I used to be only 3 short years ago. I have let thoughts stop me dead in my tracks from doing something new. From taking a drive for a hike or a walk somewhere. From paying attention to everything around me instead of just the noisiness of the city. Not all the time, but often. Fear can be debilitating for some people and I find that so remarkable, but so sad. To constantly live in a state of falsity that you can’t leave home, or drive, or go out in a crowd. To miss out on the very things that define the life we live. Don’t allow the thoughts you create about what you’re scared of or fearful of to stop you from living your life. Don’t allow yourself to believe the false evidence about something that you have no clue about. Don’t doubt yourself or your ability to overcome something great OR to just do something great. Sign up for that marathon, talk to that person you’re thinking about, share your story with someone or just help a stranger. Say I’m sorry even if you don’t know if it’ll be reciprocated. If you feel alone, there’s a lot of people who are in that together too. Be the one, the one to smile.
If I leave you with anything I’ll let it be this. Fear isn’t real. You know it, I know it. It’s our brains way of keeping us from feeling uncomfortable. The only time you will ever truly appreciate something is if you battle your way through it when you never thought you could. And when you end up on the other side of that, fear is gonna look like a tiny little ant under your microscope of courage.
Post Script: Please do not harm any ants, I do not condone cruelty to beings of any kind, unless they’re cockroaches. ew. 🙂