Fear Is Now My Friend


Creative Commons License photo credit: t3hWIT

I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today. ~William Allen White

This is a guest post from my good friend Paige Burkes of Simple Mindfulness.

Imagine this scenario:

After looking for a job for over nine months and getting down to the last few dollars of your savings, you finally find a “good job.”  Only it’s a two hour drive from your home and commuting is out of the question. So you reluctantly get an apartment close to the office. 

You can’t stand the thought of being away from your spouse and two small children all week but you see no alternatives.

Every Sunday night you leave home with tears in your eyes, saying good-bye to the family that you love.  Your marriage already had a few cracks and this situation is only adding stress and distance between you.

And, for good measure: You’re six months pregnant.

The job seems to be going well as you get positive feedback from your boss. 

Three months later you’re home with a brand new baby.  You’ve agreed on the standard three month maternity leave with your boss. 

There you are in bed with your new baby next to you and your laptop on your lap, working and stressing about how to keep things together while you’re not in the office.

One month into the maternity leave, your boss calls and says you must be back in the office in two weeks.  You’re shocked to have to cut your maternity leave in half but you reluctantly agree.

On Thursday of your first week back in the office, your boss calls you into his office and tells you that you’re no longer needed.  Your position has been eliminated.  There’s no severance.  You’re handed a check for your services through that day.  End of story.

What the ?&*%$#!  Shocked.  Bewildered.  What do I do now?!?!?!?

That was me two years ago.  Swimming in fear.

–   Scared that I wouldn’t be able to find another job.

–   Scared that we wouldn’t be able to pay the mortgage and would lose our home.

–   Scared that we wouldn’t be able to pay for food to feed our family.

–   Just plain scared.

Do Something – Anything

What did I do?

After taking a couple days to get over the shock and fully assess my current situation, I humbled myself and quickly got another job that paid about a third of what the previous one paid.  This was a job that my ego wouldn’t have allowed me to previously consider.  At this point, I didn’t have too many choices.  Something was better than nothing.

At first I was angry that I had to lower myself to this kind of job for which I was incredibly over-qualified.  I was angry at my previous boss.  I was angry about my financial situation.  I was an angry person.

Let Go To See the Beauty Around You

But one day I decided to let all the anger go.  I realized that it was ripping me up and it was ripping my family up and it wasn’t going to help anything.

As I let the anger go, I started to feel so grateful for my current situation. 

I was grateful that my old boss had fired me and released me from the pain of being so far from my family 

I was grateful to have a job so close to home.

I was grateful that I had a low stress job that didn’t demand a lot of my time.

I was grateful that I now had time to consider what I really wanted to do with my life and actually do something about it. 

I was grateful that my husband stuck with me through all this and was working with me to improve our marriage. 

I was grateful to see my three beautiful children every day.

I was grateful to have choices.

This wasn’t the first time I had been through such a tough situation and I wouldn’t wish something like this on anyone.  But the more of them I experience, the stronger and more resilient I become. 

I know that the bad times will pass and great things lie just over the horizon. 

I have faith that everything will be OK. 

Paige Burkes writes at simple mindfulness where she inspires her readers to see the world in a new light and experience life mindfully, inviting in more happiness and joy. 

Check out these other interesting posts. My Happy PlacesOn Being MediocreA Digital Sabbatical

Please share your thoughts below!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Ben May 24, 2012, 5:04 pm

    It is definately hard to keep in mind that everything will be okay when there is alot of crap going on. I continue to go through that in my transformation. Going between points of massive passion and motivation to just wanting to give up.

    I’m glad I have tools such as Emotional Freedom Technique and others to help me in this process or I don’t know how i’d be able to do it.

    Thanks for the article.


    • Paige Burkes May 24, 2012, 10:22 pm

      Yes, Ben, it’s hard to keep a positive (or even neutral) outlook when everything is hitting the fan. Knowing that nothing lasts forever and “this, too, shall pass” always helps me.

      EFT is an incredibly helpful tool. It’s awesome that you’re using it in your transformation! Having some kind of support team is another great resource, especially in those moments when you feel like giving up.

      Best wishes to you on your journey!

  • Betsy at Zen Mama May 24, 2012, 8:02 pm

    This is the first time I have heard your story all in one place! It’s an incredible story! I can just imagine how you felt in your boss’s office. Great job changing how you thought about life! Congratulations!

    • Paige Burkes May 24, 2012, 10:30 pm

      Thanks Betsy!

      I almost got a similar call the other day where I thought the rug was being pulled out from under me. I was talking to my boss and he said a few things that sounded like he was about to say, “You’re no longer needed.” He got another call and had to cut off our conversation short. He called back about a half hour later and, thankfully, I had misinterpreted what he was saying. All is well.

      But in that half hour my heart and mind were racing. I noticed that, instead of going to those fearful OMG places, my mind went immediately to, “what can I do, who can I call to bring in money fast?” For good or bad, I’ve been in that situation enough times to know the most productive way out.

      Fear can paralyze or motivate. It’s up to us to choose.

  • Cathy | Treatment Talk May 24, 2012, 10:11 pm

    Hi Paige and Tess,

    Loved your story, Paige. You had a challenging situation to say the least and I’m impressed with how you worked through it. Your strength shows through! Take care.

    • Paige Burkes May 24, 2012, 10:32 pm

      Thanks Cathy! You’re a pro at using your strengths to get through difficult situations!

  • Elle May 25, 2012, 8:43 am

    Really *loved* this Paige and Tess. It’s so easy to get so focused on our fear and anxiety that we lose touch with our inner power. What a fabulous lesson you shared Paige, in how you turned everything around by keeping your attention firmly fixed on what was ‘good’ in your life. Not always an easy thing to do and always comes from a place of courage. Bravo Paige.
    Encourage one another.

    • Paige Burkes May 25, 2012, 5:27 pm

      Thanks Elle! I’ve found that, no matter how bad things get, there’s always a long list of things and people to be grateful for. And many of those will help me to turn my situation around.

  • Angela Artemis|Powered by Intuition May 25, 2012, 9:21 am

    This was wonderful. Sometimes when we can’t face a decision ourselves the Universe does it for us. Luckily for you it turned out to be a great thing!

    • Paige Burkes May 29, 2012, 3:04 pm

      You’re exactly right Angela! With this one I felt like I had been standing at the edge of a diving board on a high dive, looking down, knowing I should jump but having too much fear to do it myself. I felt like my old boss walked right up to me and pushed me off the edge. Scary as hell but I’m glad he did it!

  • Vidya Sury May 25, 2012, 9:35 am

    I admire you for coming through all this with a smile, Paige. Can imagine how you must have felt along your difficult journey. I’ve had a similar experience – that of finding work that paid crumbs when I was used to the most expensive cake money could buy. I was terrified when I looked at the big gap between my budget and expenses.

    Funny how life’s toughest trials turn out for the best – and if we persevere, everything regains a new balance, and a fresh and better one. I too am at peace today, and I gratefully acknowledge the experiences we went through. Money is such an equalizer sometimes. Sigh.

    Bless you, Love you, Paige.

    Hugs, Vidya. Thank you dear Tess – loved the post!

    • Paige Burkes May 25, 2012, 5:29 pm

      Exactly Vidya. It’s amazing how attached we get to our money and income levels. Yes, it takes some adjusting but we usually find that we don’t need as much money as we thought we did to still live a happy life. Thank you!!

  • Bobbi Emel May 25, 2012, 2:39 pm

    Love how you can see the gifts in a seemingly catastrophic situation, Paige!

    • Paige Burkes May 25, 2012, 5:30 pm

      There’s always a silver lining to every situation. We just have to look for it sometimes. Thanks Bobbi!

  • Aileen | Kaizen Vision May 25, 2012, 7:44 pm

    WOW Paige! Thank you for writing this post.
    When life gives us situations we wonder how to get through and how to deal with it can feel incredibly alone and dark. Hearing/learning of others going through uncertainty and challenges like this, is great inspiration and reminds us that gratitude can help us lift out of difficulty and into the realm of possibility.
    It does take a lot of personal surrender – and it’s “easier” to do when learn of others who have done it.

    Sometimes life gives us gifts that don’t quite look like gifts at first.

    • Paige Burkes May 25, 2012, 8:45 pm

      A “gift” was about the last thing I would have called it when everything was hitting the fan but, once the storm blew over and life resumed, that’s exactly what it all was.

      When I read about the trials and tribulations of others, it reminds me of how lucky I really am, even when things don’t seem to be going so well. It could always be much worse so I’m very grateful for all the wonderful things in my life.

      Thanks Aileen!!

  • Harleena Singh@Freelance Writer May 25, 2012, 9:53 pm

    Wonderful indeed Paige!

    It’s marvelous how you managed to come this far after having undergone all the hardships and problems in your life, which is what made you stronger and bolder. I think all of us go through these ups and downs in our lives- the pain, anger, and resentment is always there. But yes, it’s very few who are able to see the silver lining and be grateful for what they have in life- isn’t it?

    Thanks for sharing and inspiring so many of us. 🙂

    • Paige Burkes May 25, 2012, 10:11 pm

      Thank you so much Harleena!

      I spent many years carrying around a lot of anger and resentment until I decided to take full responsibility for my life. I realized that blaming and playing victim wasn’t getting me anywhere and actually kept me from moving forward. Once I dropped all that I was free to make all my own choices in life. And dropping all that negativity allowed me to see the wonderful people and things that are always there.

  • Wendy Krueger May 26, 2012, 12:26 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story. I can relate to the job loss experience, as I am sure many of your readers can.

    Personally, for me job changes and long stretches without work are very character building 🙂 It is about learning to let go and know that are you are being taken care of even it really doesn’t seem like it. When you look back on the challenges, you see the better path that has opened up.

    • Paige Burkes May 26, 2012, 9:37 pm

      I completely agree with you Wendy! That wasn’t my first experience with a sudden job loss. Thanks to these kinds of experiences, I’ve gone through a lot of character building. Which is why I’m here. The opportunities I have to share and connect with others is definitely one of those ‘better paths.’

      Thanks for your great comment!

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