Last week I got a call from a woman in tears who confessed that she was incapable of completing even simple tasks anymore, like phoning a sick friend. She then said, “I’m paralyzed by fear.”
My heart went out to her.
Obviously she was in a lot of pain. Sometimes it’s easy to look at people who are successful or brave and feel like they must be cut from a different cloth. They must have mastered fear and no longer have it. We compare ourselves and feel woefully inadequate. Then we can think things like, “That person is so unlike me. I’m just a big scardey cat, afraid all the time.”
I knew this woman felt like she was alone in her suffering.
So I resolved to support her just as I had been helped years earlier to walk through my own fear.
About fourteen years ago, I was a martial arts student, preparing for an upcoming rank test in Tae Kwon Do. This meant I’d have to break a board. I never felt terribly confident in sports and saw myself as clumsy and awkward.
I was slowly working myself into a panic about performing. Not only would I forget the moves for the form I was required to do but I’d get hurt or worse. I’d make a fool out of myself and feel embarrassed in front of the other students, my teachers and family.
I finally said something, knowing I needed encouragement. My teacher, who had also been a spiritual practitioner for more than 30 years, shared his wisdom with me.