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The Power of Fear

And how to Defuse It

The last few months have brought a seemingly endless turmoil of natural disasters, terrorist activities, mass shootings and a potential for nuclear war. The very word “terrorism”— the use of violence to invoke fear — has become part of our everyday language in social circles and the media. No matter how it may feel right now, we are not the first generation to be faced with uncertainty. This uncertainty, however, is holding us back from fully embracing our best life. There are a million things we can change, and there are a million things we cannot. What we can always change is our perception. Fear has the potential to either destroy or expand. It can have us cower in the corner or rise up in fierceness to take on the challenge.


I have always despised the feeling of fear: the cold sweat, hair standing up on end, the rolling in our stomachs and dry mouth. I avoid scary movies (even the commercials) roller coasters and heights. I’m sure there are many more instances or events that I avoid as well without even knowing it, it is so ingrained in my psyche. Fear forces us out of our comfort zone, pushing us into areas we aren’t sure we can handle.


The thing is we are often fine. In looking back at how scared I was to step on that stage 16 years ago and teach my first fitness class, pacing the halls while my mother had her hip replaced, signing my mortgage papers and forward to what the future may bring as I sit in this coffee shop writing this post. From the Sutras of Patanjali, 2:16: "Pain that has not yet come is avoidable." I have often struggled with this statement, but the very fact is that we do not and cannot predict the future. We also cannot live based on past experiences alone.


So fear has power, but what power will it bring – that is your choice alone. I have decided that each time I sense fear on a choice that needs to be made, I will instead create the emotion of excitement. Rather than allowing fear to have the negative connotation it so often does – to directly and immediately change it to a positive. So my challenge to myself and to you is to rise up to this fear of the unknown, to acknowledge it and carry on. If it wasn’t scary, it wouldn’t be worth it and the scarier it is, the bigger the opportunities are on the other side. Rise up my friends, take courage and surrender to the endless possibilities this beautiful life has the power to give us.


Lisa Greenbaum, E-RYT 500 is a YogaFit Senior Master Trainer, International Presenter and avid writer. She is the Director of YogaFit Canada, the leader in Mind-Body Education, www.yogafitcanada.com she currently teaches Yoga in Toronto.