Join me, September 7th at 3pm mt, for a very special guest, Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad,
author of “Fine Black Lines – Reflections on Facing Cancer, Fear and Loneliness.”
After my mother passed away, I found the copy of “Fine Black Lines” that I had given her as a gift during her bout with breast cancer. She never mentioned the book to me nor, as I remember, ever thanked me for it. I thought she had not liked the gift or maybe was even upset by it. After she died and I inherited the book, I realized my mom treasured the book, keeping notes and clippings of newspaper articles in it as well as having it signed by the author not once, but twice. I am thrilled to be able to interview the author and discuss this powerful book on moving through the process of a life threatening challenge.
In 1990, Hjelmstad had the first of two mastectomies. As she coped with fear of recurrence and changing priorities, she wrote “Fine Black Lines: Reflections on Facing Cancer, Fear and Loneliness.” A grandmother and a piano teacher, she dared to appear nude from the waist up in Colorado Woman News, a Denver magazine, to raise consciousness for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“Fine Black Lines” has won awards in both the United States and England. The book is currently in its seventh printing with 19,000 copies in print. This book has helped many women cope with the medical and emotional challenges of breast cancer.
For more information about Lois and the book visit her website at http://www.mulberryhillpress.com.
Let Yourself Go
Many of us don’t allow ourselves to take risks or try new things because of fear. Fear can be a friend, or it can be a foe. If you allow fear to hold you back and keep you from doing things then it most definitely is a foe. The only way to truly experience life at its fullest is to harness the power of fear and use it to move you forward. When you embrace fear you are able to control it and steer it in the direction of your dreams and goals. You can let yourself go and live life to the fullest when you control fear.
Life really didn’t start for me until I let myself go. This doesn’t mean I went off the deep end, although some might have thought that at the time, but what I did do was let myself go and took more risks. I didn’t stay stuck in my comfortable life. I let go of my fear of failure and what other people would think, and I let myself go in the direction of my dreams. It wasn’t easy but it was worth it.
People often tell me about their dreams and then add a caveat by saying they could never do whatever it is because. The because ranges from a lack of money to responsibilities and obligations. I ask what would happen if they just let themselves go and they usually say that it isn’t possible, and ask, “What would happen if I failed?” Ah! The truth. All those other reasons for not living the dream are excuses. Everything boils down to fear, and the big one is the fear of failing. If you let yourself go you would be surprised by the possibilities. Life will conspire with you to create your dreams if you would only be willing to let yourself go in that direction.
Before you can achieve anything you have to let yourself go. As long as you hold yourself back you will never be able to achieve your dreams. Fear is the number one reason you do not let yourself go. If you dig deep enough you will find fear at the root of every excuse for not letting yourself go in the direction of your dreams. Once you discover what that fear is, you can begin to harness the power of fear and allow it to move your forward. Fear is a powerful ally if you permit it to be.
Feel The Fear Climb The Ladder Anyway
Fear can be our friend or foe. It can support us in moving forward or stop us in our tracks. This year has become the fear buster year for me. I have accepted the challenge to face fear and forge forward. One of the fears I had was climbing a ladder. I have such an aversion to climbing ladders that I figured out a way to paint my sixteen foot ceilings without ever having to use one. But, alas, when I wanted to paint an aquatic mural over my storage closet in my office, I could not afford a ladder. I took it as a sign that I needed to move beyond this fear when a ladder just the right height appeared. I knew then it was time to feel the fear, but climb the ladder anyway.
It took several weeks of having the ladder in my office before I could actually climb it. Finally I could wait no longer and up the ladder I went. It was a little challenging at first, but once I did it I was fine. I actually enjoyed the freedom and mobility the ladder provided. What I realized was that the scariest thing about climbing the ladder was not climbing it, it was thinking about climbing it. This has been my greatest lesson about fear. The fear in our head is much worse than actually doing whatever we fear. The fear mostly comes from what we think about doing. The fear dissipates once we do it.
It isn’t the fear of doing something that holds us back. It is the fear of thinking about doing something that holds us back. Once we do it, the fear will move us forward and turn into adrenaline, which will keep us going. What we think is what is actually creating the fear and keeping us from taking on the challenge. Fear isn’t a bad thing, just the opposite. It helps keep us safe and prevents us from harming ourselves. But, the message from fear isn’t always stop. Sometimes the message is simply to be alert and aware, and then proceed. Fear is our friend, not our foe. Follow the fear, learn the lesson it is trying to teach you, and keep on moving.
You Can Either Fight Fear or Make It Your Friend
Fear isn’t to be feared. It actually helps us conquer that which tries to stop us. Fear warns us of danger, provides an extra boost of energy when we most need it and, also, guides us away from the potholes of life. Fear actually is a positive support system when allowed to be. However, when we begin to fear the fear and let it stop us, we prevent ourselves from moving forward and achieving our goals.
Fear isn’t something to be feared, it is something to be embraced and used. If fear is channeled in a positive way, it actually will help us move forward. Fear is not something to be ignored either. Fear brings with it a message that we need to pay attention to. Ignoring fear will get us in trouble. Fear is the massager; it is there to guide us through the challenges of life.
I know I say this a lot and I mean it. Fear is our friend. If we embrace fear and allow it to do its job, which is to guide and protect us, we will move forward faster. It is only when we fight fear, fear the fear or ignore it that fear cannot support us and actually can cause us harm. Stop fighting or ignoring the fear and seek to discover what it is trying to tell you. Fear is the messenger and if you listen, fear will reveal the most amazing information. All you have to do is listen and pay attention.
What Does Fear Tell You?
Fear is nothing to fear. Fear is our body’s way of telling us to pay attention. Fear is neither good nor bad. It just is. There was a popular book entitled, “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway.” Great book, but I might revise the title just a tad. Yes, I think you should feel the fear, but before you do anything, listen to what the fear tells you.
Fear is the traffic light of life. When it is green we go, yellow we slow down, and when it is red we stop. Fear is red. It tells us to stop and pay attention. It doesn’t necessarily mean stay stopped, or stuck, but stop before you proceed. Fear is our built in mechanism that warns us that something isn’t right, that there might be a problem or we simply need to think about our next move.
I recognize immediately when I go into fear mode. I feel it in my body. I get a sick feeling in my stomach and I feel uneasy. When I feel that, I pay attention. I ask myself what am I afraid of. Sometimes the fear is unfounded and I move on. Many times the fear is a warning and I am able to take a step back before I get myself into something I’ll regret later. Fear has saved me many times, and it is only when I ignore it that I get in trouble.
Fear is our friend if we let it. Feel the fear, and then ask yourself what you are afraid of. Then listen for the answer. Fear is nature’s way of telling us that there may be a problem. Fear is our built in mechanism for fight or flight. It is our personal warning device.
Pay attention to how you feel when in fear mode. How does your body react when you are afraid? Once you know that, you can begin to tune in and listen to what fear is telling you. Understanding the signals of fear will allow you to respond to the fear and not react. Fear is a wonderful gift that nature gave us, so use it.
Action Cures Fear
Fear can be numbing and stop us in our tracks. There is only one sure way to cure fear and that’s by taking action. Doing something, anything, is better than doing nothing and allowing the fear to paralyze us. Fear is a messenger and is sent to us to remind us to pay attention. Fear can be a positive thing that will heighten our awareness and support us in spotting danger. But, fear can also be dangerous and it can freeze us into inaction and keep us from pursuing our dreams and desires. The only way around fear is through it. We must face the fear and keep on going. To conquer fear and actually use it, we need to get into action. Given the opportunity, fear will move us forward and help us achieve our goals, if we will allow it.
When fear creeps in, keep on moving. Action will overcome fear, but only if we stay in action. Don’t let fear stop you. Let it move you forward. When you feel the fear, ask what it is trying to tell you. Perhaps the fear brings with it a message to be careful or try a new direction. Don’t let the fear stop you, let it steer you in the right direction. When you feel the fear, take the action that the fear is directing you towards and keep on moving.
Fear is our friend. You can use it to move you forward. Fear can paralyze you or push you forward. The choice is yours. When you feel the fear, stay in action, keep on moving and don’t let it stop you. Action will cure fear and actually will help you to move forward. Keep on moving even in the face of fear. As long as you stay in action, you will be able to deal with the fear and perhaps even learn from it.
Live More Fear Less
Fear is a natural part of life. Fear tells us to be cautious, warns of us impending danger and keeps us from harm. As I always say, “Fear is our friend.” However, fear can also stop us dead in our tracks and keep us from doing what we desire. The trick with fear is not to get rid of it, which actually is humanly impossible, but to live with less fear.
To live with less fear, we must first learn to discern what is real fear and what is manufactured fear. Real fear is just that, it is real. There is a true danger and we need to pay attention to it. An example of a situation that creates real fear is a speeding car heading right towards us. Real fear creates the flight or fight symptoms. The problem is so does manufactured fear. Manufactured fear is the fear we create within ourselves. Fear such as, “I won’t be good enough. They won’t like me. I could never pull this off. I will look foolish.” and all the other fears that we create within ourselves create the response of flight or fight. To live life fear-less, we must learn the difference between real fear and manufactured fear and respond according.
Real fear is just that. There is an impending danger. Learning to listen to and heed the fear will support us from getting ourselves into major trouble and perhaps prevent bodily harm. Manufactured fear comes from within. Because manufactured fear seems so real, it can be difficult to discern what is real and what is manufactured. When you begin to sense fear, ask yourself where it is coming from. Check to see if it is an outside threat or something that is coming from within you. One of the most important questions to ask is, “What is the worst thing that can happen and can I live with it?”
When you cannot tell the difference between real fear and manufactured fear, ask for support. Talk with a trusted friend, counselor or coach. Often, we are too close to the situation. An impartial third party can provide insight and perspective that we just cannot see ourselves.
Learn to trust yourself. We often know our own answers, if we would only stop and ask the right questions. If you are feeling fear, give yourself time to ask why you are feeling fearful, what is the fear trying to tell you, and what can you learn from the fear? Often, the fear is simply the messenger. It isn’t trying to stop us, but warn us. Listening to the fear and heeding the warning will save us lots of time and frustration. Another great trick is to use the “three day rule.” If you are trying to make a decision but are feeling fearful, give yourself three days to think it over. If at the end of three days you still feel fearful, listen to and trust yourself.
Courage Is Learning To Live With Fear
Courage doesn’t mean that we are fearless. Courage means we do what we must do in the face of fear, in spite of it and with it. Fear is a great motivator and can move us forward if we allow it. Fear is a natural instinct that creates a flight or fight response. Fear compels us to either take action right where we are or get moving into action.
Fear is a powerful energy. When we use fear, it can help us succeed in ways we never imagined. When we allow fear to use us, we are stopped in our tracks. Courage is the ability to use the fear for our purposes and not allow it to use us. Courage looks fear right in the eye and sees it for what it is and nothing more. Courage knows that fear is the factor that can help us or hurt us, and that it is up to us to decide which one it will be.
We all have let fear start us and stop us. We know the power of fear and the potency of its power. When fear is harnessed and used for its intended purpose, it will move us into action like nothing else. Fear is a huge factor in success. I tell people, who share with me that they are afraid, that I am glad. I would be afraid if they had no fear about doing something new and challenging. Fear tells us we are alive and embarking into new territory. Fear is our friend if we allow it to be. It will guide us and protect us and, most of all, it will get us into action. Have the courage to allow fear to do its job and move you forward on this journey we call life.
I like many others went to the theater to see Julie and Julia. I went with my two foodie friends, Alyson Stanfield (artbizcoach.com) and Elizabeth Yarnell (gloriouspotmeal) author of the popular cookbook, Glorious One Pot Meals. They are both into food, I personally just like to eat it! I don’t know a lot about the history or even how to cook it all that well. For me the movie was cute (I know not what one would want to hear about a movie) and entertaining for a couple of hours.
Also, and this might not be a good thing to say in public, however I am not a big fan a Julia Child. I never understood what the attraction was. However seeing the movie did make me interested in knowing more about the “real” Julia. I found a great article about her life at Biography.com.
The movie Julie and Julia was inspired both by the story of Julia’s life and the blog by Julie Powell, a bored office worker who decided to cook her way through Julia’s first book, The Art of French Cooking. And of course blogged her way through it as well. You can read the blog that started it all at Julie and Julia.
Although not my favorite movie, it was worth watching and was inspiring. I actually went out and bought a bike because Julia inspired me to “Have no Fear!”
It also make me wonder how many cookbooks my grandmother had. I know she didn’t have The Art of French Cooking but I couldn’t help wondering what cookbooks she did have since I never noticed her using one (My grandmother lived with our family so I would have noticed at some point). I asked both my Aunt Linda and my sister and both confirmed what I thought, she didn’t have any cookbooks. According to my Aunt she did have a recipe box that has long been lost that she kept recipes that were given to her or she clipped out of something. Oh she did have one cookbook, a cake cut-up book that illustrated how to cut cake into shapes like cats, dogs, cows, fun things like that. Each year we got to pick the cake shape we wanted for our birthdays. I can remember every cake she made me.
So I had to wonder how many cookbooks my mom had. She did have a couple, the one she wrote herself (she managed to get the family recipes copied down before my grandmother died so we do have those thank goodness), a church cookbook she helped create and contributed to and my grandmother’s cake book.
So no The Art of French Cooking for my family. I actually don’t even know if I have ever seen a copy of the book, although I am sure all the book stores will have copies displayed since the launch of the movie.
I would give the movie 3 spatula’s – worth seeing – maybe wait until it comes on DVD.
Here’s to taking action,
“Does Your Relationship Suck? 7 Secret Strategies to Immediately Ignite Intimacy!”
Join me August 10th on Live the Day hosted on Blog Talk Radio.
My special guest will be Dr. Judy Krings.
“Does Your Relationship Suck? 7 Secret Strategies to Immediately Ignite Intimacy!”
Is relationship your flatter than roadkill?
Is your passion as stale as week old bread?
Want to rekindle the spark?
Turn those embers into embraces?
You can’t miss spicing up your life with easy, fun, and enjoyable positive psychology success strategies. And best yet, you can begin them right after the show!
Listen on Monday August 10th at 3pm on Blog Talk Radio!