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Mumblings & Musings January 2011

Facing Fear: Stepping Up Instead of Stepping Aside

"Hodges is dead." The words were simple and direct. I looked at the e-mail my brother sent and read the words again . . . and again. My mind went numb, but my body reacted and tears spontaneously tumbled out of my eyes. But I wasn't crying tears of sadness for the death of this individual. I was crying tears of relief.

Hodges is the man who rammed into me with his car when I was 17 years old, and then shot me. I didn't know him and hadn't done anything to him. It was a miracle I survived; none of the other women that he attacked lived. During the trial he stared at me with intense, black piercing eyes. He told the police that he was eventually going to get me. As long as he was in prison I felt safe, but unfortunately he wasn't in prison for long . . . and thus began years of looking over my shoulder.

I was married with a new last name, so I knew that I wouldn't be easy to find, but I was still vigilant. At one point, I even talked to a policeman about living with the fear that Hodges might try to harm me or, even worse, try to harm my family. He said that many cops are living with that kind of fear every day, but you just have to get on with life. This was good advice.

I wrote books, but it seemed unlikely that a serial killer would ever pick up a mind/body/spirit book, so I wasn't very concerned. I taught large groups, but my seminars were all overseas, so I felt certain that he wouldn't find me. Although I was on many television talk shows, featured in major newspapers, and on the cover of numerous magazines in over 20 countries around the world, I wasn't doing anything public in United States. So I felt safe.

People said to me, "Why don't you ever teach in the States?" I replied, "I just go where I'm asked." This was true. Curiously, I was often asked to teach in the major metropolitan cities of the world, and yet rarely asked to teach in America.

One day I decided to meditate on the reason for this, and immediately I "heard" that I was subconsciously blocking myself from doing anything public in the US because of fear that Hodges would find my family. I believe in facing fear and this was a fear I needed to address. So, out loud with passion, I declared, "I'm ready to step up and face whatever life brings me." I believed it with my whole heart when I said it. But an hour later I wasn't so sure.

Right after I made this declaration, the phone rang and it was an invitation to be on the Oprah Show. It was one thing to declare my intentions aloud to the Creator in my living room, but to have the Creator's response so swiftly was daunting. I was frightened, but I agreed. My family assured me that only women watched the Oprah Show and that I had nothing to worry about. (This actually isn't true, but I didn't know this at the time.) I was proud of myself for facing my fear, even though I was worried that Hodges might see me.

From that point, I found myself doing more things in the United States, but there was always a place inside of me that was on the lookout. A car would backfire, and I'd jump a mile. Someone would pull along side me to ask for directions and, for a micro-instant, I would imagine that person holding a gun. But I never once thought of stepping aside. Every time I felt afraid, I'd remind myself to step up and face it. I would remember the quote, "a coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave die but once."

You know that feeling you have when an air conditioner goes off, and you didn't even know it was on until you are enveloped in the ensuing quietude? When I read the words, "Hodges is dead" it was like a constant hum of fear (that I didn't even know I had) instantly stopped, and I sighed with relief. Of course, I had forgiven Hodges a very long time ago, but that didn't mean that I wasn't concerned about him being violent again.

Yesterday, when I received the e-mail from my brother, I didn't fully realize how heavy the fear had weighed on my soul . . . until it was gone. Today I feel lighter and brighter. Thank you for listening.

Denise Linn


(This newsletter is the first time that I have put Hodges' name in print. It feels strange, but somehow good. It's kind of like Harry Potter saying the name of "He who cannot be named.")

Facing Fear: Stepping Up

There is always something to be afraid of in life. It can be for the safety of loved ones, or about something global like pandemic flu or global warming. Your fear can be about getting old, or not having insurance, or losing your job. There are hundreds of things to be afraid of in life, but to the extent that you can face your fear head on, without stepping aside, your life force will be stronger and more vital.

Here are some steps to Survive, Thrive and Triumph when fear comes into your life:

Step 1: What Are You Afraid Of?: First discover what you are afraid of. The soul loves the truth, Make a list and ask yourself about each one: Am I really afraid of this? Then put them in order of importance. A fear named is a fear tamed.

Step 2: Face Your Fears: After you have begun to discern your fears, imagine a scenario where you actually come face to face with your greatest fear. And even though it will probably be very difficult, use your imagination to imagine a way that you could not only survive, but thrive, if the worst were to occur. Some people are afraid to do this exercise because they are worried that imagining it might make it real. It's actually the opposite; when you are so afraid of something that you suppress it, you actually energize it. What you resist persists. A fear that you are willing to face examine, in the light of the truth, will diminish.

Step 3: What's Your Strategy?: Come up with a strategy of how you will deal with each fear if it arises. I knew one woman whose fear was of being mugged. So she took action and took some self-defense classes to help her prepare for this, if it happened. It gave her a sense of confidence. A man who did this exercise told me that his fear was being laid off, so his action step was to get additional training in his off-hours, so that if he lost his job, he had another skill to fall back on.

Step 4: Visualize Yourself Courageous and Strong: Imagine yourself feeling strong, courageous and vibrant in your own light now and in the future. Know that you have all you need within you to face any challenge in life, no matter how big.


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