Freedom From Fear…Insight From Martha

Polar Bear (Sow), Near Kaktovik, Barter Island, AlaskaLately I’ve become thoroughly exasperated with the part of my tiny brain that insists on continuously creating fear. Fear of dying soon. Fear of living too long. Fear of being alone. Fear of being spread out too thin between loved ones. Fear of drought. Fear of flooding. Fear of change. Fear of things staying the same.

ENOUGH, ALREADY!

I’ve tried suppressing my fear. It gets stronger. I’ve tried looking for the bright side, which simply focuses my mind on the inevitable dark side. I’ve tried medication, meditation, mediation, and a host of other ations. None of them worked. But recently, I’ve discovered something that does.

Here’s the thing: we can’t save ourselves from fear by seeking safety, because safety always means there’s something to be safe from—in other words, something to fear. The way out of fear isn’t safety. It’s freedom.

For a few weeks, I’ve been replacing every fearful thought in my head with a loving-kindness wish to be free from that specific fear.

  • When I’m scared that all the polar bears will die, I don’t say “Keep the polar bears alive!” until I’ve said, “May I be free from my fear for the polar bears.”
  • When I’m sure I have some dire illness, I don’t think “I must be healthy forever!”  I think, “May I be free from my fear of illness.”
  • When I miss someone, I don’t pester the person with needy phone calls.  I think, “May I be free from my fear of separation.”
  • Etcetera.

This request for freedom has been granted with subtle but remarkable power. I’ve had one of the calmest months on record. Freedom is landing me in peace, a state from which I function far more effectively—and safely—than anxiety. So feel free to try it. Really. Feel free.

Comments

  1. Tashier says

    Martha girl you must have a secret recorder in my house or something because that article was EVERYTHING! I really needed to read that because fear has stagnated my life for years. Over the past year I have made a lot of progress with it but it’s still an issue. Thank you for giving me a useful tool to help keep me calm when the fear monster rears its ugly head. Peace and blessings!

  2. Donna Wallace says

    Thank you Martha. I, too, up till now, have suffered from fear of nearly everything. I believe you’re on the right track. Freedom is the way.

  3. Abhaya Kathleen says

    Martha, I was pondering the plight of polar bears last week — “Mille grazie”, (one thousand ‘thank you’s) for this most timely message. Your impeccable timing always deliver the shafts of light at the exact point I need them.
    Your grateful reader, and fellow traveler,
    Abhaya

  4. says

    Great post Martha – it’s the fear itself so often that gets in our way and can be so limiting. Another thing I do that has helped me is notice’ it’s just a fearful thought’ and that seems to lessen the emotional hit that comes with fear.

  5. says

    Hi Martha,

    I wanted to say thank you for the coaching you gave me recently as part of my Martha Beck Life Coach training. You helped me turn round the thought ‘self help is selfish’ to ‘self help is selfless.’ I am so glad that I chose your course in choosing to commit to being a coach. Thank you from my heart,

    Deborah in Germany.

  6. says

    I love this subject matter, because I can not only relate to it but, find myself into that “fear thinking,” more often then I’d like to…it truly is a mind over matter concept. Although for me, I use the Word of God and the Bible to keep me from obsessing about fear. Again, for me, when I was younger, I feared nothing, now as I’ve gotten older and a “baby boomer,” I can let myself fear about anything…(could be due to life’s experiences,too?) Anyway, thank you Martha for the insight. I’m a constant, “work in progress,” as many of us are! Namaste.

  7. says

    Yes. I’ve let go of so many fears yet there still remains a sort of nondescript fear that I am not quite right and the steps I take toward what I think I want to do or be are never quite right and I am trying to find a “place” or state that allows me to let go of that too.

    Thank you Martha, your insights are very helpful and always good reminders.

  8. Michelle says

    This was such a beautiful truth today. Just by focusing on safety we acknowledge fear. They are both sides to the same thing! By wanting safety we experience fear of not being safe! Thank you Martha! We are all freedom fighters!

  9. says

    I like your prayers. The way you have refocused what your fear really is, gives one clarity to recognize it and see beyond it. One of my favorite Bible scriptures is this: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

    I thoroughly enjoy your wisdom-writing.

  10. Monica says

    I used to be afraid there would be a war and I’d perish or suffer, afraid of horses, afraid of being alone, of being homeless. I look back and laugh at them now. They were all just thoughts. Not one of those scenarios was true. Yet that continous fear tape kept playing. I too have taken charge of it. I turn it off. Tolle calls it the “endless chatter” of the brain. It’s just chatter. Negative static. I can choose my own thoughts deliberately. Thanks Martha. We’re both free.

  11. Marcia says

    This is something I am going to do. It makes sense. Thank you, Martha. I guess it’s in our genes, somewhere. I think of how much you have personally been through, Martha, and it’s both unbelievable and also, at the same time, somewhat comforting that you still experience times of multiple fears. I think we live in a time of chronic fear which leads to non commitment on many levels. I know this is my bridge to cross. Thank you for being available on this blog. It truly is helpful to me. Wishing you peace and good health.

  12. Lisa says

    Martha, I started using this last week when I first saw it. It’s had such an impact on my daily life that my heart is full of appreciation for you, you, you! I really think this single tool may have gigantic ripples out in the world. Thanks for living your life and talking about it out loud!

  13. says

    Martha,

    You are such an incredible inspiration. I have been loving your columns in Oprah Magazine. I am 25 years old and got diagnosed with a brain tumor last Friday. I am learning to stay in the moment. My dream one day is to get to talk with you. Your profound wisdom is so wonderful.

    All the Best,
    Sarah

  14. Diann Owen says

    I so appreciate what I am reading here. I only found your first book recently. It really seemed like you had actually overcome and made peace with fear. It has helped me so much already, I am kind of surprised to read your current blog, does it never get better?

  15. Yasmine says

    Thanks you Martha for this very helpful article … I will practice this with all my fears which unfortunately increased lately…

  16. S says

    recentely,I miss someone so much,and so it works for me:

    When I miss someone, I don’t pester the person with needy phone calls. I think, “May I be free from my fear of separation.
    ———–

    Found this blog via the book:finding your way in a wild new world…which is newly be published in China(just few month ago,and I bought it,now start reading and be inspired)

    Dear Martha,thanks for sharing…

  17. says

    Martha, you are so right on…freedom gives us the space to really enjoy our journey…to release all that crap we no longer need, and to embrace what matters most…peace, love, joy.

    Your words are so clear and inspiring…thank you for the beautiful work you do and for shining your light so brightly in our world.

    I so appreciate you!

    xo,

    Denise

  18. Kari says

    Oh hi Martha- I just thought I’d say thanks for calling me on the telephone in my dream last night. We chatted for awhile- and you gave me some excellent advice about following flow in my life…and in my dream I took you quite literally by hanging up the phone and then floating down a river. Sometimes it was wayyy to shallow to flow, and there were some disgusting muddy parts, and at one point I mistook a stick for a crocodile. I also found myself trying to kick harder and getting sooo annoyed with the river in general…but then I woke up and realized it had nothing at allll to do with my real life and I went to work saving lives and dressing small children in cheetah pants and matching tshirts. But it was nice to hear your voice:)

    • says

      Outside of the whole thing of being on your website and wachting this because I need to the dog leaping into the water initially made me laugh, then made me feel joyous! A great feeling at the end of a fairly shity day!Thanks Martha!

  19. Kelly says

    These prayers are a great way to freedom, thanks for the reminder. This is where I’m at:

    May I be free from my fear of fear and

    May I be free from my fear of freedom.

  20. Jo says

    Martha, I want to thank you again for your insights and have one of your books as well. I look forward to your posts on FB and really needed to read this particular one. I’ve spent most of my life in seclusion from others s I believed I don’t have “anything” to offer anyone, I’m to blame if a mistake is made or people don’t like my appearance, what I have to say, or what I do, period!And several days ago thru prayer and actively seeking/connecting with others, I realize that I am OK! One way I have for dealing is gratitude–a Nazi holocaust survivor said on YOUTube that she was grateful for even the BAD–and that helped me tremendously. Now you have given me another way to cope with your message on how you cope with fear. Thanks so much for making my day!!

  21. Robin says

    Martha, I have been struggling with severe anxiety the last six months, ok….all my life really. Earlier this week I realized fighting it was not working and was reminded about loving kindness meditation. I had started making it a part of my daily routine, but I was still struggling with the ruminations throughout the day. Your post was a message from the ever mysterious universe and it arrived just when I needed it. Thank you!

  22. says

    I am going to start practicing this! I have always wondered what the best technique was to allow myself to let go of fear based thoughts. The word FREEDOM feels FREE inside of my body. I want to feel FREE from my fear based thoughts. Thanks, Martha! I <3 YOU

  23. Ka-luen Lee says

    A simple yet profound article.

    So many in our society suffer from panic attacks. Like vampires, the pharmaceutical industry and many others in the healthcare system profit from this common malaise in our society.

    The nugget of truth in this article is the first in a chain to lead us to greater health.

    Thank you!

  24. June says

    Martha Beck, I have been turning to your words to pull me out of one dilemma or fear attack after another for years. Over and over, you have helped me find my direction or remain reasonably calm in the face of crisis. (Naturally mostly self generated crisis) So when today seemed a bit daunting to face, I came here to your website for help. Thank you again. This phrase seems small to express gratitude for the friend on the page that you have been to me. Thank you!

  25. says

    I find it’s easier said than done but each simple technique you discover to release that dreadful fear feeling is a step towards freedom. Love it. Thanks for sharing.

  26. Chris says

    Thank you so much for this. Fear … huge in my life since last Spring when I was slammed by horrid physical symptoms that would not let me sleep and about which doctors were stumped. It was terrifying and I felt completely abandoned by Sprit/God. I’m getting relief now though it could come faster, you know how that feels. In any case, you gave me something to say when fear gets big or just hangs out uninvited and will not leave. You are a Blessing to Us All.

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