A Conversation With Fear

One of the best books on conscious aging that I’ve read so far is: Do Not Go Quietly: A Guide to Living Consciously and Aging Wisely for People Who Weren’t Born Yesterday, by George Cappannelli, co-founder of the website Age Nation. In it he acknowledges the outdated misconceptions about aging in our culture and encourages us to set new standards for entering our 50’s, 60’s and beyond. One chapter in particular stood out for me and it had to do with fear.

I would bet that the biggest misconception around aging has to do with the horror stories we’ve been told for generations: illness, our bodies breaking down, loss of freedom, sadness, loneliness, etc. Hay House founder Louise Hay descried fear as a thought that we hold on to until it becomes a belief. So what if we looked fear right in the eye and had a conversation with it? This is what Cappannelli encourages us to do – have a conversation with fear.

To do this, he suggests that we pick one fear from our list, for instance, sadness. Then we write down our question about sadness and ask it to talk to us. From there we have an actual conversation with our fear, writing down the answers and posing the questions until we can acknowledge that it is just a thought, and a thought can be changed. Sometimes, the author suggests, the conversation will move into other areas that may be connected with sadness, like loneliness or loss of freedom. He advises that we just keep the conversation going and see where it leads.  He also suggests that we do not try to go through the entire list of fears at one sitting. Instead, we can take one subject at a time and have a conversation until we get a feel for the process. At that point we can make a commitment to come back to this exercise again and again until we have dealt with all of fears on our list. We cannot find our way out of fear unless we confront it, find out what it has to tell us, and then lovingly let it go.

Reading this was a powerful experience for me. I think our fears about aging are more powerful than the actual reality of aging. We have only to look around us to the many examples of people well into their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and beyond who live healthy, happy and productive lives to see that if we change our thoughts about aging, we can change our experience of it.

Since you are all exceedingly smart and creative, you know by now what our assignment for this week on the Home Page is going to be about. As always, have fun, and keep writing.

Peace and blessings.

 

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11 thoughts on “A Conversation With Fear

  1. “Our biggest misconception around aging has to do with the horror stories we’ve been told for generations.” -This is so true! What a freedom that we can choose to tell ourselves new stories.Thanks Barb for your thought provoking post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As a student of “a course in miracles” I learned that fear is the opposite of love and where love abides fear disappears. The beliefs that we have about aging are creating the aging experience we are going to have. What if we believed that we learn to love ourselves more deeply as we age? That our value increases with experience? That our health is the result of loving self-care? That we grow more connected to others, to nature, to spirit, to the universe? Our modern world obsession with youth and disregard for the elderly is truly damaging, lets start telling a different story.

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  3. Aging is perception. It’s a matter of reprogramming ourselves out of old belief systems. There is nothing wrong with aging, in fact – it’s quite illuminating and freeing to be timeless and ageless as the years go by. New day, new story!

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  4. As someone who is, hopefully, aging wisely, I really appreciated this article. I do a lot of inner inquiry around my next steps, patterns, etc. This is another take on that and can see its value. Thanks!

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  5. Hi Barb, Great post! I really connect with the exercise of having a conversation with fear and the quote “we cannot find a way out of fear until we confront it, find out what it has to tell us and then to lovingly let it go”. This is so timely giving the violence and uncertainty in the world.

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  6. I really get what Louise Hay said about believing about agwing. I see it in my in-laws who speak and act old,friends who retire, drs who say at your age!!! I believe age is a state of my and we can choose to fear getting old and get sick or we can live as we feel withing and take all the steps both with mindset and physically that we can to stay young at heart and make a contribution in so many ways through our wisdom 💜

    Liked by 1 person

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