The Illusion Of Fear

"Life is like any other contact sport. You may encounter hardships of one sort or another. Wise people find happiness not in the absence of such hardships, but in their ability to understand them when they occur." ~Sydney Banks

Text from mom:

Hi Jess, Charley (the Dr.) recommended me for a Cochlear Implant. Being referred to UCD (UC Davis) to the Cochlear Implant team. Charley is going to be there through the whole process from the testing through the surgery.

{I'm stunned! I'm so happy for her, but I don't feel at ease. I want to call right away, but we had planned to chat the next day so I respond}:

Omg mom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's amazing!! How do you feel?


Yep! Excited and a little sad. When I get the implant I won't be able to hear anyone's voice as it is now. I will only hear chipmunks but I will be able to understand everyone. I will explain the process when you and I chat tomorrow. (smiley face)

{Instant sadness hit me in my chest and gut, my mom won't be able to hear my voice anymore... I can hardly breathe at the idea. Of course, I called.}

As I'm sure you've experienced at one point or another, whether with a family member or dear friend, there's that moment when you get news that feels scary and the world stops. It doesn't matter what you're doing, you're immediately brought to the moment and nothing else matters any more. It's been quite the journey with mom's hearing and potential implant, and I was immediately elated when I had thoughts of her understanding conversation, especially group conversation, which had become more and more difficult for her to follow. But fearful thoughts were lingering about what this change could mean for her after I received the first text, then BOOM the second text came through about not being able to hear my voice the way it is - evidence for my fearful thinking - and there came the instant sadness and anxiety.

"This is the moment" I thought, "where I could choose to not suffer from my fearful thinking. That is where my sadness is coming from. Mom's actually OK."

I literally had a flash of seeing my thinking for what it was, that it was just that.. thoughts, not real life. An illusion. I recognized that mom had more information that I needed to hear before I could believe the scary pictures in my head. Anxiety is purely our bodies reaction to pictures we're believing about the unknown future, and because we aren't there yet, we feel out of control - and like in slow motion but the blink of an eye, that all became so evident to me in that moment. Once I got clarity, I was immediately and without effort brought back to a peaceful feeling, therefore allowing me to hear what my wisdom said was best.. to not wait til the next day to call, but instead to call her in that moment.

Because I took care of myself by observing my thinking and calling immediately, I was in a peaceful state of mind when I got on the phone with her. Of course I'm a human being, so I still got sad thinking about her not hearing my voice the way it is now, but we were able to have new fresh thinking that provided insights into her upcoming experience. We talked about how the implant will only be on one side, with a hearing aid on the other, so she could potentially turn off the implant and I could get right in her face and sing my fool head off so she could hear my actual voice if she wanted (that idea made us giggle til we were out of breath). We considered how the brain re-trains itself so who knows if she'll even remember that she's missing out on certain tones in voices, and most importantly, she'll be able to understand conversation again like she hasn't in years. That point in and of itself filled us both up with complete and utter joy and excitement for what will become possible for her.

In hindsight, it had become so normal to 'deal' with her hearing loss (both for her and for me) that any thoughts about her current state of hearing or lack thereof had become thoughts I very innocently didn't pay attention to any more. I'm grateful to a point because being that our feelings come from our thoughts 100% of the time, if I had become obsessive about her state of hearing in my mind, I would be crippled emotionally. But because it has been so normal in my family to watch hearing progressively change and shift in different family members, I had learned to roll with it all. Mom was saying the same thing - it didn't occur to her how exhausted she had become from unconsciously lip-reading until her husband said he had an instinct that her hearing had gotten severely worse.

With her realization, I had an insight into my own experience with her from this past Christmas. I had recognized that she was beginning to get the same look on her face as my grandpa - I could see that she was no longer putting in effort to keep up with the banter (because it was so exhausting), and instead sat at the table in the bliss of loving and observing her family. My gut told me then that something was different, she was content, but things were different - but because I had gotten so used to her hearing loss and any thoughts going through my head related to it, I didn't speak up on my instinct.

Isn't that amazing?!

Our minds are incredible - we can so easily get hooked by thoughts that look scary, especially if they're based in the unknown. But when we're in a routine - and this applies to our day-in and day-out routines that include habitual thoughts that we think EVERY day - we disengage from what our gut, our wisdom, is telling us. The feeling is different in our bodies when we think these thoughts and our wisdom has new information about them, yet we disown the feeling because we honor our habitual thinking more so - it's familiar, it knows our routine, so why even consider a different perspective? (I can tell you now that it's less scary and feels safer to stick to the old thinking, even if that thinking keeps us in a funk... that's an article for another day).

To wrap up, like what Sydney Banks is pointing to in the quote at the top: you cannot stop life, it's a contact sport and you are not in control of what happens. BUT you are in control of your thinking - as much as it feels like we are our thinking, we're not. It's an energy that flows that brings pictures in technicolor and our feelings come from those pictures and our reactions to them, 100% of the time. With that understanding, as I shared in my experience at the top, you are naturally given the choice to stay peaceful when those life punches are being thrown at you. Of course you're a human being and you'll inevitably be reactive, especially when it comes to the health of our loved ones. But your suffering time, as mine was, can be shortened immensely. And when that happens, you are naturally brought back to a state of peace which allows you to connect to the heart of others, have fresh thinking, and insights have room to bubble up. And as mind boggling as it may seem, none of this takes work, it merely takes a deepening of an understanding of how the mind creates our experience of life...

...and that deepening is already at work within you after reading this, you can trust that to be true.

All my love, see you next week~


Beautiful mama on my wedding day ~ Lauren Hurt Photography

Beautiful mama on my wedding day ~ Lauren Hurt Photography