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"Keep the Faith, Transform the Fear" featured as part of SpiritSite.com's "Coaching Corner" column, is Copyright © 2001 by Lorraine Cohen. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"Being in the present connects us with the Divine."


  Lorraine Cohen, 
Keep the Faith, Transform the Fear

To what extent does fear rule your life?

In my coaching practice, fear often emerges when clients envision change and take steps to bring those changes into reality. Familiarity fosters comfort and safety -- therefore, growth may be perceived as frightening.

Recognizing some of the subtleties of fear takes a bit of detective work. Forms of fear include: procrastination, the need to be in control, anger (which can be a cover for other emotions such as helplessness or powerlessness), isolation, induced illness, rationalizing, and blaming. Getting under the reaction unveils the fear.

One of my coaching clients was feeling stuck and overwhelmed. He continually came to a point in his growth and went no farther. He felt a duality inside. One part of him yearned to take a leap, another part convinced him to stop - his life was pretty good, right? At the root of his inertia was fear. He could stay in the fear, or take his life to the next level. He made the choice to work through his fear.

His first point of resistance to change was his fear of commitment and structure. For him, this meant being trapped. A pivotal shift occurred when he redefined his perception of commitment and structure.

In our talks, he discovered he had already successfully committed to his lifestyle of avoidance. This clarity created a shift. Something he had wanted to do for years was to offer monthly talks. Committing to schedule the talk within a time frame was his first step. His first presentation was one month later to a highly receptive audience. By giving himself choice, focusing on the present, and taking a risk in fear, he has begun to dismantle his fears.

I have found these to be successful practices to help transform fear:

Practice daily gratitude – Recognizing your daily blessings, both big and small, evokes peace and trust. Expressing gratitude generates joyful thoughts and feelings. Put your attention on the glass half full rather than the glass half empty. I recommend writing in a daily gratitude journal. Taking time to list gifts and blessings uplifts the spirit. And, throughout the day, purposefully acknowledge what you are grateful for, silently or to others. Share the joy.

Be in faith – Put your trust in your spiritual beliefs. Your own personal history is a reflection of the love and gifts you recognize as coming from the Divine. At times of doubt and fear, trust your faith and inner wisdom for clarity and perspective. Gratitude, meditation, prayers, silence, asking the Universe for love, support, and guidance – whatever connects you with Spirit is a source of comfort and strength. In trust, there is no fear.

Be in the present – In His groundbreaking book, The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle advocates being in the moment, in the now. He stresses the power the mind has in creating perceived reality. Our minds have the ability to imagine the worst (intensifying fear), instead of expecting the best. He says, "the more identified you are with your thinking, your likes and dislikes, judgments, and interpretations, the stronger the emotional energy charge will be, whether you are aware of it or not." He believes, "unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear are caused by too much future, and not enough presence." Disengaging with thoughts and feeling through observation will cause the thought to subside. Being in the present connects us with the Divine.

Practice extreme self-care – I use extreme because taking the best care of you is serious. When needs are not being met, negative thoughts and reactions intensify. Does your life flow when you are neglecting yourself? Being positively selfish and putting yourself first gives you the vitality and desire to be fully there for those you love - by choice, not obligation. Here are some tips: begin a regime of daily nurturing habits, say "no" when needed, create personal time for you to do the things you love, set boundaries, and speak up! Teach others how to love and respect you! Those who value you will appreciate your authenticity and needs.

Be in integrity – Are you living a value-based life and "walking your talk?" When you live your life by being true to "who you are," fear is replaced by peace and serenity. When you are in integrity, fewer problems are experienced, consistent feelings of peace and well-being are present, and reactions to people and situations are greatly diminished. Is there anything you are accepting, avoiding, rationalizing or tolerating that is compromising your integrity?

Build a strong, positive, nurturing community – Be discerning. Seek out quality people who will love you unconditionally. The value of having the support of a loving community is priceless, especially during times of personal pain and challenge.

Be a risk-taker, move! - Taking appropriate, empowered action " in fear" dismantles the illusion of paralysis and power of fear. Where have you hesitated in taking action? What holds you back? You don’t have to do things alone. When needed, get help from your community or a skilled professional. Hire a coach. Move and take action, one step at a time.

Several years ago, one of my clients shared a poem by an unknown author. This is one of my favorites.

"When we come to the edge of all the light we have,
And must step into the darkness of the unknown,
We must believe one of two things:
Either we will find something firm to stand on,
Or we will be taught to fly"

Lorraine Cohen is a personal and professional life coach. Her passion is supporting people to "be who they are" and living a life that reflects treasured priorities, spiritual purpose, and personal values. She may be reached at 610-524-8445 and at  personalbest@mail.com.

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