Learning to look under your bed - facing the boogie monsters

It is not a new thought that fear is the opposite of love - or even that all emotions can be boiled down to variations of these two primal essentials. True to form of all opposites they are a 2-sided coin and neither can exist without the other. There is no knowledge of dark without light; no happy without sad, no Harry Potter without Voldemort. It is arguable that we only know emotion through awareness and understanding of its counterpart. 

In hindsight, I let fear rule much of my youth. I allowed myself to fear the other, the different, the risky even as I was drawn strongly toward it. I find now that each time I make the conscious, difficult decision to look under the bed and face down the next boogeyman that presents itself in my life, I find more love. Even in knowing that it is worth the effort, I am not free of this fight. I am still allow the opinions of others to be my monsters. I still limit who I am for fear that others can't handle it or won't like it. When I become conscious of these innate reactions, I see clearly that they are standing right between me and love; love for myself, love for others, the world around me, even love of the pain that is necessary to learn and grow and thrive - fear stands between me and LIFE the way that it should be enjoyed. 

The tagline for my business is Journey inside. I knew I loved this when I chose it, but over time it gains more and more meaning. Yes, I do interior design, this applies easily to the spaces that I transform. Yes, I like to challenge my clients to journey inside themselves so that we are creating room insides that speak to their personal insides. But my tagline is more than that. It has become my mantra. It relates to all my struggles and likewise all my revelations, it speaks to the problem and at the same time, to the solution.

Journey Inside. Find your boogeyman, your demons, the skeletons in your closets that you are trying to keep hidden because you are afraid of what will happen when you face them or share them or give them a voice. In my experience, they only gain power in your secrecy or in your unwillingness to listen to them and send them on their way. Want proof of this? If you haven't read Brene Brown or listened to her TED Talks, check them out. She has done years of research about shame (driven by fear) and the negative impact it has on our relationships with ourselves and others. 

But there is value to fear. Just as an epic journey shapes a hero, we too must learn to face our demons. If we can listen to what our fears say about how we can improve, we can finally begin to love them for the awareness they bring. As a result, we can let them go and more fully embrace the love that is left behind at the core of each of us. Maybe our fears are like zombies. They were once loving, thriving and full of life but now are neglected, hurt, and bitter - they are full of fear. They no longer act through thought but solely through the programming of fear. The only way to chop of the heads of these zombies is to battle them head on; o expose them to direct sunlight. Fears are like mushrooms growing in the rabbit holes of our deepest selves. In eating the mushrooms we continue to shrink, we are less and less ourselves. How to shed enough light on them that they no longer spread their fungus through your wonderland? Drink the elixer of life which is love; feel the growth that immediately happens when you challenge what you thought you were capable of. Enjoy that love wherever you find it; offer it to others, revel in it. The more love there is the less fear there is room for. 

Huey Lewis knows what I'm talking about: 


You know I always go back to etymology. It seems the etymology supports this as well. The root of the word love is: love. There is nothing deeper or more basic. The root of fear 

If we are bold, love strikes away the chains of fear from our souls.
— Maya Angelou