Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Reflections on Fearlessness and Best Links (May)

White Flower

Once a month I publish my favorite articles from around the web (mostly on personal development), books, and resources plus a mini-monthly review.

I share these links each month because I think it’s important to personally support each other as bloggers rather to rely exclusively on the big corporations that provide social media platforms for “free.”  I love writers who make me dig deep as well as those who inspire or provide useful practical information.

Outstanding Articles

Great Courses

I thoroughly enjoyed learning about myself as a writer and carousing with other wordsmiths in Tammy Strobel’s Writing in the Digital Age.  Tammy brings a large dose of creativity to her writing process, which pushed my boundaries in a positive way and gave me brand new ideas.  Registration will open for her next 4-week course on July 15th.

The Heart of May:  Exploring Fearlessness

Writing a brief monthly review helps me to celebrate my accomplishments and stay focused on what really counts.  Sharing my review may inspire you to be more intentional too.

Champagne Pond

Champagne Cove

We skirted the two private homes, walking down a narrow concrete and stone pathway to the inlet’s edge.  I slipped into layers of cool sea interspersed with lava-heated fresh water.

Being a holiday weekend, people lined the decks and docks alongside the inside of the cove.  As I paddled about puppy-style, one of the homeowners (or renters) started shouting and cursing.

“Don’t you have any respect for private property?  He’s trying to pull a rock out, don’t you see?”

“I didn’t touch anything,” came the retort, which accelerated the anger further.

The accusations heated up, the denials flew equally as strong.

I felt scared and vulnerable in the hands of a mild current, which held me, more or less, paddling in place. I wasn’t flooded with fear, but I began to worry about drifting too close to the “mad” man’s rock wall.

Another person might have thought, “What a jerk.”  Or, “He has every right to be angry.”  I zoomed in on the sense of unpredictability, which fed my mild apprehension.

I’m not inviting situations like this, but they do give me an opportunity to study my fear response. Leaning into fear, I’m learning, is the path to fearlessness according to the amazing teachings contained in the book Smile at Fear:  Awakening the True Heart of Bravery by Chögyam Trungpa.

I don’t think you will ever find another book quite like this when it comes to the topic of fear.  Trungpa says, fearlessness arises from recognizing basic goodness in yourself and others.  On the other hand, all fear stems from our terror of non-existence.

“We are constantly looking for padding so we don’t run into the sharp edges of the world.”  Chögyam Trungpa, Smile at Fear

Are you willing to live without the padding?  True bravery requires tenderness, gentleness, and sensitivity rather than aggression.  It’s the willingness to be raw, vulnerable, and open-hearted in any moment rather than seeking neurotic comforts to fill up any possibility of open space in which you might actually see yourself.  It requires the discipline to put your awareness into every situation without expectations.

This is my spiritual path, ratcheted up a few thousand notches in vivid technicolor.  These are profound lessons that need to steep, simmer, and be integrated with dedicated time and practice – magical, but not a quick fix.

In that moment of fear, all notion of basic goodness was lost.  But, I was aware of fear as it arose, and didn’t succumb to panic.  Awareness already begins to transform the pattern.  It is the essential first step.  In the days following the episode, I also thought of this “angry” man more than once, sending him love and good wishes.

Flavor of the Month:  Willingness

How was your May?  What’s waking you up?

I’m so glad you’re here!  If you liked this article, please consider subscribing for free updates by email. With love, Sandra

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16 Comments

  1. Thank you for the kind words and for the link love! I appreciate it. xo.

    • You’re welcome, Tammy, I loved your story about Henry. I’m always fascinated when someone can turn a fear around. It was great to hear how you did this!

  2. Oh, you know I love these monthly reviews! I especially appreciated your story about the encounter with the angry person. An incident like that can catch us so off guard and our defenses kick in so automatically. Your compassion for yourself and for the other person so lovingly model for us how we might handle such a situation and learn from it.

    As you know, I’m taking a break from blogging in June. I would say my flavor for May was listening. Over the month I felt a call, not so much away from, but rather to, a call to go inward and be still. It was a challenge to listen to it because I am in a routine of sorts, which I enjoy for the most part, and the call was inviting me to interrupt that routine and step away.

    I look forward to checking in with you at the end of June to see what our flavors are!

    PS–I didn’t comment, but I enjoyed your article at the Bridge Maker.

    • Dear Galen,

      I so admire your willingness to “listen”. It takes courage to be still and go within and it’s not necessarily easy to break our routine. I might be following in your footsteps. 🙂 Look forward to reconnecting after your time away.

  3. Thanks for including my piece on Gratitude in your links. Interesting reflection on fear. Its so easy to leap from fear to blame of the other or defensiveness of our own behaviour. With me it usually goes beyond the specific rights and wrongs of the situation. I don’t like the fear itself and want to stop it from happening in future. My tendency is to concoct lots of reasons of how the incident could have been prevented or why it had not right to happen. Its very powerful to step back from those automatic responses and have a bit of curiosity and compassion for the angry person.

    • Hi Linda,
      Your story of how your heart swelled with gratitude when someone was kind to you and your friend was so incredible. I was very happy to include it here!

      It’s good to look at our own mind and see our own style of reaction to situations like fear. Of course, we want life to be all sweetness and light and not the hard stuff. I admire your willingness to look at your own tendencies. I agree it’s very powerful when we can step back from the automatic reactions. Thanks for adding your thoughts.

  4. So much goodness! Thanks for sharing, Sandra!

  5. Sandra,
    I look forward to reading the posts you have shared. Thank you for including me! Thank you also for the book recommendation. It sounds fascinating. I also like the idea of the “flavor” of the month! Such juiciness in your post. Thank you!!

    • Wonderful! I’m very happy to include your post. I love the depth and heartfelt nature of your thinking.

  6. Thank you for the link to my design! It’s been a long time since I’d created a new piece. I am focused on the simple joys, as I continue to find meaning in life’s every day moments. Although I haven’t been active blogging or commenting much this past year, I do still enjoy reading all your articles!

    Wishing you all the best :~)

    • You’re welcome! I love your designs. I’m so happy to “see” you Sue and honored that you continue to read my articles. I love that you are focused on the simple joys. I feel like I’m moving in that direction too so I appreciate your inspiration.

  7. Oh I love these posts of yours, great articles and words! I have had some similar experiences recently with anger – I live in a seasonal area and recently a tourist very aggressively cut me off in a merge lane and then flipped me off… To my surprise, I flipped him back before I could even process what was going on! I could not believe it, this is so out of character for me (at least these last few years). I thought of that for a long time and how I could have reacted differently and eventually laughed it off. My monthly flavor has been “practicing vulnerability” – The more I am aware of and practice my awareness of this feeling, the more I live authentically and fearlessly. Be well!

  8. Hi Kaylin,

    I really appreciate hearing that you love these monthly round-up posts. Thank you.

    Isn’t it amazing how we can respond so quickly in anger. Your example is such a good one. Just like you did, we do need to let it go. We’re not perfect (yet)!

    I love the way you are practicing vulnerability. I’m so excited that it’s leading you to live more authentically and fearlesslessly. It’s funny how vulnerability is actually such a strengthener – just the opposite of what we might think! Thank you so much for sharing your flavor of the month.

  9. Just love the list of headlines alone – Full Moon Flower and Wabi Sabi sound interesting! Thanks for the links will be adding these to my reading list 🙂

    • Aren’t they great! I love the creativity. I loved your post on how to write an ebook. It’s so easy to understand and practical.

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