Fear of the Somewhat Known

Checking in for my flight to Kenya, the customer service rep asked doubtfully, as I was turning from her, “You feel safe over there? You’ve been before?”
I responded genuinely, “Very. Yes, I’ve been many times. It’s amazing.” I wanted both to ease her mind as well as make her aware that the little she knew of Africa was why she feared me going.
“There are crazy people there.”
“Yes. There are crazy people here.”
“Be safe.”
“Thank you.”
It happens like this often. I will somehow make known that I’m traveling to Kenya, and immediately fear or awe, or sometimes envy will be the next emotion I encounter. Mostly fear, followed by awe. I’m grateful that my first trip to the continent was when I was too young to give the media any credence. I still don’t, but for more enlightened reasons now. It’s a choice. I want people to know that it was in Africa
I witnessed the most beautiful act of compassion, the greatest sense of accountable community, and the deepest connection to the divine. Yes, the people there are crazy-crazy for the earth, life and love! Thankfully!
When we know little about something, a people, a continent, our bodies, we can fear it. The information is partial, unexplored, and therefore subject to doubt and wariness. But when we delve deeply enough, the illusion is dispelled and essence is revealed. Then, we fall in love. You can play with this. Choose to acknowledge an area of your life that instills fear. Commit to getting to know it better by spending time focusing on it and watch how the fear gradually dissipates, and beauty is illuminated.
When I was a competitive athlete, I feared injury. In fact, that was the dominant relationship I had to my body. What do I need to do to make sure I compete well without getting hurt. This was my focus-fear driven. Now, because of my devoted practice of yoga, I no longer fear injury. I have healed countless injuries with the alignment practices, my breath, and my love of my body. I’m still competitive, at times, but there’s no dependency on winning. I know winning well, especially the type of winning driven by a fear of failure. Now, it’s the game of life that inspires me and I’m determined to play it well. I want to know it, to focus on it. I’m in love.

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