Nourish relationships and self-care

Empathy works. It always does.

Self-compassion, day 4: Gratitude

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There is something about fear that I really appreciate. Something about the moment that fear turns into blind panic and terror. When this happens and it lasts long enough, it dissolves into surrender, softening, letting go.

I’m not talking about the fear that comes up when our live and safety is threatened in this moment. I’m not talking about the fear when bombs fall, someone is coming at us with a knife, we get into a car crash.

I’m talking about anticipating fear. The fear that something will happen in the future. The fear that we won’t create enough income, that our husband is gonna leave us, that we’ll get a disease and die, that we’ll lose connection when we express our authentic truth. Those scenarios our mind chooses from all the possible scenarios and believes to be true. Anticipating fear.

When that fear grasps you long enough, there comes a moment when you cannot sustain it anymore. Your system doesn’t have enough capacity to be and terrified and continue living. It collapses.

Thàt’s the moment to catch. Thàt’s the opportunity to wake up to this moment and realize that all you have is the present moment. That there is really nothing else but this moment. This waking up is not the result of a mental exercise, trying to convince yourself that the future has no reality. It is a visceral experience of understanding your future is beyond your control. You feel in your body that the only thing you can influence is your intention, thoughts, speech and action, right now.

Once that awareness sunk in with me, I completely relaxed. My fears dissipated. All that was left is gratitude. For my hands which are able to hold a pen and write. For the four walls that keep the cold outside, and the warmth in. For the faucet that gives me easy access to water. For the carpenter that made the chair that supports me. For my husband who works, holds me, appreciates me. For my family and friends who are willing to help.

The gratitude list is endless. I giggle. My experiences are faster than my gratitude. There is só much to be grateful for, that I can’t keep up with it.

Author: Elly van Laar

I am a coach. I specialize in helping professionals schedule time for relationships and self-care. I have a Master's degree in Political Science, Leiden University, the Netherlands. I love meditation, walking, gardening, biking, and hanging out with family and friends.

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