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Fear and Denial or Awareness and Survival?

fear and denial

During my life in the rainforests of Queensland, Australia, I learned that a smart person has to live in Survival Mode. But don’t think this means that I lived in a constant state of fear and denial, always awaiting the next deadly danger.

That is how I initially lived, terrified of poisonous snakes, ticks, sea snakes, jellyfish, and dangerous crocodiles, sharks, stinging trees and more. I lived in a perpetual state of fear and denial until I educated myself about the creatures I lived with.

I learned their territories, habits and needs. Once my awareness increased and I better understood them, I was able to give them the space and the response they needed. I also knew where I was most likely to encounter them. The more I learned about these potentially deadly creatures the more aware and relaxed I became and the higher my ability to survive rose. I could choose how to most appropriately respond.

It’s not about fear

Living in Survival Mode does not mean living in a fearful state. In fact, it means quite the opposite. It simply means living with greater awareness. There is a distinct difference between living in Fear Mode and living in Awareness Mode. Those first few months in the rainforest my fright and lack of knowledge about the rainforest’s potentially deadly creatures, made me completely blind and vulnerable. My trepidation and the denial of its existence actually increased my risk of death.

I knew nothing about the creatures I feared only that I was afraid of dying from a poisonous snake bite, an unseen paralysis tick or a poisonous jellyfish. Not only did my fear and denial make me vulnerable, but it made me react in chaotic and unpredictable ways that frightened the dangerous snakes and creatures around me. My fearfulness made them easily alarmed as they had no idea how I might react and whether or not I would harm them.

Denial, a close relative to fear

There’s another mode of living that’s related to Fear Mode. Some people spend their entire lives living in Denial. Most of us have experienced this at one time or another. When we live in Denial Mode we are not only living in fear, but we attempt to push away or block all that frightens and overwhelms us, anything that might force us from our comfort zones.

So if a comfort zone is comfortable, why not just live there? Many of us do. Whole cultures of people live in a comfort zone. We watch TV, read endless books, make money and shop. “Things” become the focus of our daily lives. We often eat whatever we want without concern for the effects on our bodies, other species or the land. We simply eat what is easy and feeds our gnawing huger, which can be much like an endless addiction.

The benefits of awareness

Now, in Awareness Mode we may feel overwhelmed or fearful, but we never turn our backs on fear. We look at it head-on, keep an open mind and deal with it practically. We educate ourselves and learn to know what we fear and why we fear it. Even when we don’t fully understand what we are afraid of, we are willing to at least explore that which we fear.

Eventually we are able to separate those fears which are potentially real from those fears which we “feel as real” but may have no basis in our present life. And we no longer deny the existence of the real fears. Instead we learn to take the necessary steps to protect ourselves so that we can remain strong, healthy, aware and alive.

It’s time for a change

I believe it speaks directly to the present emotional state of my culture (and many other cultures) in that we currently live in Denial and Fear Mode on nearly every level of our busyness. As we pollute almost all of our water, air, soil, food and space on the planet we are being called to shift from Denial and Fear into Awareness and Survival. Our very survival as a species might depend on this shift.

This is why I call it Survival Mode. When we live in Fear Mode we often make irrational and reactionary choices, choices that are not based on a solid foundation of clear thinking, knowledge and calm knowing of what we are dealing with. In Fear Mode we see only our fear. In Denial Mode we don’t see much at all.

When we are not living in awareness we are at our greatest risk in terms of survival, as individuals and as a species. When we cover our eyes and don’t want to “see” we risk our health, our children’s health and the health of the planet.

Robin EastonRobin Easton is an author, speaker, environmentalist, nature photographer, musician and adventurer. She is also the the author Naked in Eden, a story based on her life in the Australian rainforest. Her fascinating story has been told on an award-winning NBC News affiliate piece, Paul Harvey News, CNN, KBLA Radio, KSFR and others. 

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70 Comments

  1. Jonathan January 22, 2010 Reply

    I just wanted to welcome Robin to Advanced Life Skills. I am always mesmerized by her work and was thrilled to have the opportunity to post this article.

    Thank you Robin for you continued inspiration and friendship. This article certainly opens our eyes and invites us to examine our deepest motives and feelings.

    • Robin Easton January 22, 2010 Reply

      Hello Jonathan, The photo ROCKS!! I love it. Laughed out loud over such a good choice. It drew me in immediately.

      It is great honor to be here. You are someone I have looked up to for some time due to your wonderfully clear writing and ability for core insight, as well as you integrity in all your dealings with me and others. Thank you for this opportunity. :)

  2. Eduard January 22, 2010 Reply

    Robin, this was an inspirational read. Although I know it’s real, I am amazed at how much we live in fear mode. Like we have predators at our door waiting to eat us alive. We have evolved so much as a civilization, but so little as emotional or spiritual beings.

    • Robin Easton January 24, 2010 Reply

      Hi Edward, Thank you for your kind words. It’s good to meet you. Will have to check out your site, as I’ve seen you “around” leaving some wonderful comments. I find it fascinating that we have evolved in the most astounding ways in certain areas, but as you say, so little in other areas. Sometimes I wonder if we have evolved the least in the most crucial ways. BUT…then again maybe not. It we look at Nature and if we consider ourselves part of Nature as well, then Nature often evolves in ways that seem out of whack but are actually very intrinsic. UNLESS, we humans are a facet of Nature that has stepped away from the rest (which currently seems to be the case), and are exploring another avenue of evolution. ??

      Having spent much time in the wild I also know that not ALL species do survive, and I think that is a reality that we humans just can’t fathom could possibly happen to US. :) We equate extinction with other species. I just find the bigger picture fascinating. Thanks for stopping in Edward. I highly value your insight and inspiration it brought about in me. Robin :)

  3. Bern January 22, 2010 Reply

    It sounds as if you had a cautious respect in your newly found environment. It is an aspect of fear, but you worked through your fears with each creature till you uncovered their beauty. Many people fall prey to their fears and then avoid looking any further and keep their environment and awareness away from the things that are trying to get our attention. I sense that fear is never real, and is always an illusion. If we approach something that is perceived as poisoness with in an absolute state of love, we in essence become the object and we merge as One. We can then even pick up and interract with a supposedly dangerous creature, because there is no threat or seperation.

    However, the starting point is to work and investigate through one’s fears till one see’s the light on the other side. When we begin to notice the pattern that we have been apprehensive with every action we take but that everything always works out just fine, we begin to trust that everything is perfect the way it is. We then slip into the presence of love, and we no longer operate cautiously. We then become a child in the biggest playground we could ever imagine.

    • Robin Easton January 24, 2010 Reply

      Dear Bern, This could only be expressed by someone, like yourself, who has spent vast amounts of time in the wild, as I know you have. I love this comment because I did exactly what speak of here. Once I realized that I was living with intense fear and had been most of my life, I started to explore it within MYSELF. With time I reailzed my fear had nothing to do with the “supposed deadly monsters” in the rainforest, and had EVERYTHING to do with social conditioning and how I perceived the world around me…at any given moment.

      Once I saw this, I grew to communicate with the “potentially” deadliest of snakes and even handled some of them. BUT I was completely at ease with myself and with them and could literally hear their thoughts, concerns, needs and so on. Their thoughts just passed right through my head, effortlessly. So yes, there is HUGE distinction between fear and healthy awareness.

      I also love what you wrote about becoming ONE “with”. Yes!! Absolutely. The amazing thing is that ALL of Nature is CONSTANTLY communicating with itself. The rainforest was FULL of “voices”, messages, and information. …which of course you know so well. I am delighted you stopped by and cherish your wise input. You are magical reflection for me. Hugs, Robin

  4. Trish Scott January 22, 2010 Reply

    How many ways are there to say awesome? That is what I am up against every time I read your posts Robin. You are a force, totally in sinc with THE force) to be reckoned with.

    • Robin Easton January 24, 2010 Reply

      Dear Trish, I am laughing out loud with delight over your treasured words. Ohhh, you are a JOY. Thank you sooo much dear friend. I love the way you worded this, “You are a force, totally in sinc with THE force…” Beautiful writing. I think that’s what we ALL are capable of. In fact I think it is our natural state. We have merely forgotten, but the wild memory never goes away and CAN be brought back to life. There are billions of years of Life’s evolution stored in our cells, the entire history of Life itself. We have a VAST storehouse to draw upon if we can tap into it. (Maybe “how to” do that is an article for another time.) Thank you SO much dear friend for your inspiration. I KNOW you are one who highly understands inter-species communication, and connection to the world around you. Big Hugs, Robin

  5. ZuzannaM January 22, 2010 Reply

    Hello Robin,

    Inspired by your experience of having lived in a Rain forest, make me think how I would survive if was to follow your footsteps. You are a true inspiration and fearful soul and this attributes make you unique and special. Thank you for sharing such a great article on Jonathan page. The article is not just an experience, it teaches how we shall approach the Wild and how to avoid attack by wild animals, and forest living creatures. Great post!

    Thank you,
    Zuzanna

    • Robin Easton January 24, 2010 Reply

      Dear Zuzanna, You are kindness personified. :) Loved your thoughts here and thank you for the kind words. Yes, wild creatures are SO in tune with the world around them. They HAVE to be to survive being eaten. In the rainforest everything is eating or being eaten….all day long. To stay alive each species must live in a state of awareness. They cannot afford the “luxury” of unconsciousness. Surprisingly, although they must stay aware, many species that I witnessed STILL found time to play, relax, love, interact, raise families, enjoy a good meal and so on.

      Also, I think you would do fine in the rainforest. It’s not something that we have to jump into all at once. It’s a bit like facing a fear. We don’t have to tackle it all at once. In fact for many people it’s often one step at a time. It is then manageable and we learn to feel a sense of “self”-control within ourselves and that WE are in charge of own being, as we move toward our fear. I think that is crucial. Kids often learn to face fear best when they know that THEY are in charge of the movement toward their fear.

      Thank you dear soul for sharing here. It means much to me …and I knew you meant “fearless”. I just read your mind. LOL!! :) Plus I know you so well, just as you know me. Hugging you, Robin

  6. Tess January 22, 2010 Reply

    Robin,

    I caught myself living in fear mode about an hour ago. I was tempted to call someone and decided not too. Well what a smart choice that was. I know better yet when I’m in my fear mode I tend to over react.

    So reading this put me back in the Oneness or Love Mode and all is well!

    • Robin Easton January 22, 2010 Reply

      Dear Tess, One of the MANY things I love about you is your unflinching honestly. You are a fantastic role model for me. I also love the connection you made between fear and over reacting. It was like that with poisonous snakes in the rainforest. If one over reacts, the snakes over react and might bite. But if one stays calm and centered the snakes can feel that calmness and THEY remain perfectly calm and go on their way. I think we lose our ability to think clearly and make beneficial choices when panic. Although I also understand that we all DO panic from time to time. I am touched by your comment here. Hugging you, Robin

  7. Lana January 22, 2010 Reply

    Robin, I so loved the names you gave those states – Fear Mode,Denial Mode, Awareness Mode and Survival. I truly believe that our planet is shifting, slowly but surely to Awareness and Survival. I see more and more people every day who don’t want to live on autopilot anymore, who want to stop living their lives merely reacting to lives circumstances, who want to face their fears. And I am so inspired by this.

    Of course there are still lots of those who are in fear and denial, but I am hopeful that soon they will be minority instead of majority.

    Thank you for a wonderful post, Robin and thank you, Jonathan for introducing me to this powerful lady.

    • Robin Easton January 22, 2010 Reply

      Dear Lana, What an inspiring comment. I love the hope and belief in humanity that you share here. It resonates highly with me. Although I have been involved with helping to protect the rainforest at times, and hence was the horror of destruction was very in-my-face, I NEVER lost my hope and belief in humanity. I think there is a huge difference between burying our heads in the sand, and acknowledging the good in the world, the positive changes in the world that ARE happening.

      I think it is important to acknowledge these positive changes BECAUSE it encourages the people who are changing or those who want to be part of the change. We hear so much “bad news” that people often feel hopeless from it and feel there is no point in doing anything. But if encouraged and “seen” they strive to do good things. Thank you for sharing here. It means so much to me. And thank you for your kind comment. Hugs, Robin

  8. Fatibony January 22, 2010 Reply

    Interesting post as always Robin, awareness is so magical and powerful like you have highlighted and lack of it could mean ignorance. And you are right it’s time for change, time to fine-tune out of the fear and denial mode into the survival and awareness mode. You are obviously one in a million Robin and talk from experience -one of the best teachers. Thanks for sharing this awesome article here :)

    • Robin Easton January 24, 2010 Reply

      Dear Fatima, Thank you from my heart for your kind words. I just LOVE how you said: “…awareness is so magical and powerful…” YES!! That might seem a simple phrase, BUT we often hear more about the “pain” of being aware, and the “effort” and “strain” and “fear” and so on, and yet we hear little about the powerful magic of awareness. I agree! The rewards of being aware far out weight the potential pain of being aware. Sure, leaving our comfort zone can always be unsettling, for some terrifying…BUT if we can hang in and take it one step at a time, get support if we need it, we eventually “shift over” into a vast new world of potential (that was there along). The world is our oyster, so to speak. Like Bern says here, we become ONE with everything, as opposed to “isolate from” everything. Thank you my dear friend for sharing your inspiration and reminding us all of the joy of awareness. Hugs, Robin

  9. Gail @ A Flourishing Life January 22, 2010 Reply

    Hi Robin,
    I’ve heard people talk about survival mode as being about fear – fear of death or dissolution of the body motivates surviving. But I totally understand your perspective. Survival fueled by fear is actually running from the fear. Living in awareness doesn’t exclude fear. In fact, if fear is present, then that’s what we are aware of in that moment. What a lovely way to flow with life – no part left out.

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful perspective and for sharing from your heart.
    Love to you….
    Gail

    • Robin Easton January 22, 2010 Reply

      Dear Gail, You raise something here that is a way of life for me, but I’ve not had someone yet reflect it back to me. You said:

      “What a lovely way to flow with life – no part left out.”

      YES!! “…no part left out.” That is SO important in my life. People often become perplexed by me as I am able to embrace all emotions, and often several at once that “appear” to contradict each other. I have little need to contextualize my feelings. I tend to NOT operate from a place of right and wrong, either/or, and so on. I just let myself explore in a constructive way WHATEVER I am feeling/experiencing.

      As I read your comment it made me realize that I am this way BECAUSE I don’t run from my fear. The more we are able to look at and embrace our fear, the less we are narrowly confined (or defined) by it. So we become very vast emotionally and have a huge space to comfortably “be with” all kinds of emotions. It doesn’t mean that we never have any fear, it just means that we don’t run from it. We explore it and understand it. In doing so we forever expand our capacity to embrace all kinds of emotions. AND we waste precious energy trying to “control” the world around us, trying to control other people, and our own feelings. Instead it all just washes through us but doesn’t take hold.

      Thank you, dear Gail, for being a beautiful mirror for me. This was an exciting comment you shared, which allowed me to claim more of myself. Bless you. Love, Robin

      • Robin Easton January 23, 2010 Reply

        Sorry Gail:

        Typo – That was supposed to read:

        AND we *DO NOT* waste precious energy trying to “control” the world around us, trying to control other people, and our own feelings.

    • Robin Easton January 22, 2010 Reply

      I had another thought in response to your comment, Gail. I think there is a distinction between running from our fear, AND facing our fear, looking at it and seeing if it’s a real bodily threat and then, if so, removing ourselves from that “real” threat.

      • Gail January 23, 2010 Reply

        That’s my experience also, Robin. Some fear is realistic and needs to be paid attention to if it is a real threat – the fear that limits us and keeps us from living full lives is a different story. That fear is asking to be welcomed as is – not doing anything with it or in response to it. When I drop the story and meet the fear, it seems to lose its oomph.

        • Robin Easton January 24, 2010 Reply

          Wow! You summed this up REALLY well, Gail. I read this and thought, YES!!! That’s it. Thank you dear one. :)

  10. John January 22, 2010 Reply

    Hi Robin,

    What you say — it needs to be said Robin. The masses change slowly. That said, I think we are emerging from denial and to some extent, fear.

    We have made huge advances in technology in the last 50 years, and that is part of the problem. But the interesting thing about that is the speed at which it has accelerated; how our abilities have increased.

    Perhaps our global awareness (well, almost global) is increasing at a similar exponential rate. It’s not so flashy and loud as technology, but I think it has been growing fast, and it will reach its own critical mass soon.

    Almost everyone I meet now is more aware and less fearful than everyone I knew 40 or 50 years ago. I see a bright future. We need to keep moving further into it.

    Cheers :-)
    John

    • Robin Easton January 23, 2010 Reply

      Dear John, This comment thrilled me. It made me aware of several things. I am 56 and also see an increase in awareness, more than there was even 12 years ago. Ten years ago when I wrote the first draft of my book, Naked in Eden (that will be out later this year) my agent — a very aware and evolved soul — and I had a hard time finding a publisher who even knew what I was talking about. But not so anymore. There has been enough increase in awareness in just ten years that when we sent my book out to publishers this time it was snapped up within days. I really believe, like you, that it is in a huge part due to a shift in awareness that is happening over much of the globe.

      Sure, it may not be as flash as technology, as you say, but I can honestly say that for the last year or two I have FELT it in my bones. Its feel like a great lumbering dinosaur awakening and lifting itself from primal ooze into a more light aware state. Slowly it shakes off somnolence and gathers momentum.

      I know many would ask how I can say this with all the horror that still exists in the world. All I would say is, yes there still is much horror in the world, but that does not negate the shift I sense happening. Nor does it negate the need for each of us to continue to create awareness and positive change in the world, each in our own way.

      Thank you John for such a thought-filled comment. I really appreciate your insight. It confirmed something I too sense. Hugs, Robin

  11. Stacey January 23, 2010 Reply

    Robin,
    You explain this so beautifully and clearly for people to understand the difference. It is such an important aspect for people to understand within themselves. Because as you state, when we are living in a state of fear, we are reacting in an chaotic and unpredictable way, which nature naturally will react to with like energy.

    This is an aspect that we face often when hiking long distance. When ever someone first immerses themselves in nature, there is typically some form of fear, but as with your experience, when you start to flow with nature, and begin to understand its rhythms, there is nothing to fear, just to respect and enjoy. We are often asked by people if we are afraid of any of the animals on the trail. “Don’t you see bears and rattle snakes, and cougars? Aren’t you afraid they are going to attack you?” No. These animals are truely beautiful friends, and I am Honored when I get the chance to see one! If I meet one of these animals along the trail, and hold myself in a calm, centered, loving state while I watch them, the animals will either pay little attention to me, pause for a moment to witness me, or flee from their own fears. When one fears wildlife that they meet out in nature, they will feel that energy, and may move into the same state of being.

    When one practices awareness and respect in all aspects of life, we will naturally find the world presenting itself in a beautiful and centered state. And you might just be awe struck by a moment you have in nature if you release your fears (in what ever form they might be) and bask in the pure beauty of earth and all her wonderful beings!

    • Robin Easton January 24, 2010 Reply

      Dear Stacey, What a stunning comment. I am so grateful you took the time to express all this. Yes!! You have a truly rare and remarkable connection to the world around you. You are “part of” and not “apart” from the world. Last summer we explored some Ancient Pueblo Ruins here in the southwest. I was walking toward the remains of an open Kiva (ceremonial building) to look down inside it. There were a few people around me, a family with teen kids, a few couples. I was ahead of them and spotted a rattlesnake coming out of the nearby tall grass, toward me. It hadn’t yet “heard” me as I was walking very slowly and lightly (as you probably know snakes can’t here most airborne sounds only ground vibrations).When I told the other people to slow down, that I spotted a rattlesnake, they started to freak and run about. I told them to slowly and calmly back up, because I was only two feet from the snake I didn’t want their erratic energy to alarm the him. They all took off running, which of course alarmed the snake (so much vibration — I sensed he was very confused — he’d “walked” into a stampeding herd of humans and didn’t know what was happening or which way to go.). So I l just calmly stood there because I was too close to move without alarming him further. In fact, I wasn’t going to move until he knew he was safe. Then to see this young rattler calm down and slightly lift it’s head, stick out it’s tongue to “smell” me, just moved me deeply. When he “smelled”/tasted no fear coming off me, he was so calm; I could tell he was curious. We just stood there for several minutes looking at each other. Finally he slowly returned to the grass. I knew there was no way he was going to bite if he felt no threat from me. He needed to save his venom for killing prey. Everyone of these interactions with my wild brethren in a deep honor for me.

      You raise another KEY point here when you say: “…when you start to flow with nature, and begin to understand its rhythms, there is nothing to fear, just to respect…” It’s the word RESPECT. We truly can learn to respect other species, even ones that could (IF they wanted to) eat us. I think many humans find it hard to think of “respect” in terms of other species. To respect them for their unique and amazing survival skills, to respect their ability to survive in a world dominated by the most skilled and voracious predator on the planet: Humans. To respect them because they have the ability (if we let them) to bring about our deepest and most profound awakening. To respect them for THEIR need and right to eat, just as WE eat. We can learn to respect them simply because they are as important in their own right as we are, regardless of what they can teach us. The potential, as you express here, is limitless. Thank you for your “wild voice”. It goes deeply into me and resonates with every single word. Hugging you dear Stacey. Robin

  12. Steven Aitchison January 23, 2010 Reply

    Hi Robin, great to see two of my favourite bloggers in the one place.

    “When we cover our eyes and don’t want to “see” we risk our health, our children’s health and the health of the planet.” was a line which struck me about the way we are living today, although attitudes are slowly changing our very existence is being poisoned by the ‘I am okay for now’ crowd. I am not a believer of the global warming theory, but I do believe we are damaging our world slowly with the choices we are making, born out of fear.

    This is another fantastic post Robin and I am so glad Jonathan and yourself have come together, you are both making such a difference in my life – Thank you.

    • Robin Easton January 23, 2010 Reply

      Dear Steven, you are such a gem. It has been so inspiring for me to connect with you and Jonathan this year. WOW!! It’s made all the difference in the world for me.

      Life is interesting for me because the more aware I become and the more I’m able to look at the evolution of humans and their impact on the entire globe (on every level) the more fascinated and intrigued I become. Although the world is in chaos in so many many ways, I see change (like John – Zen Moments said). It’s like there are two rivers flowing side by side. I would love to be here to see where it all leads. I pray the river of positive change over spills its banks and floods into the river of chaos and suffering.

      Regardless, I am so please to see you here and to call you “friend”…no doubt about that. Thank you for taking the time to stop in. I really do appreciate it. Hugs, Robin

  13. Hilary January 23, 2010 Reply

    Hi Robin and Jon – good to meet you ..

    As always you bring things into their true perspective .. we do get unnecessarily frightened of things and that flags up our anxiety. If we can calmly react we help ourselves let alone others. I just love the setting for your fears .. and look forward to reading your book and hearing more of your experiences.

    Have great weekends –
    Hilary Melton-Butcher

    • Robin Easton January 24, 2010 Reply

      HI dear Hilary, Fear is an interesting thing. As you say, “…we do get unnecessarily frightened of things and that flags up our anxiety.” Yes, fear unexplored and let run rampantly definitely breeds more fear, until we lose ourselves in it and have lost all perspective….AND are living our whole lives from a place of perpetual fear.

      I chuckled over your words about the “setting for my fears…” Ooooh ya, it was a wild and larger that life setting, one I never regret having been part of. It TOTALLY healed and change my whole life. I’m not even the same person that went into the rainforest…and yet… I AM the person that somewhere inside myself I ALWAYS knew I was. LOL!! :) Hugging you dear Hilary. Thank you so much for all your encouragement. Robin

  14. Lance January 23, 2010 Reply

    Hi Robin,
    Awareness is something I’ve really focused on over the last several months, including a three day workshop specifically on self awareness. This has been, by far, one of the most transformational few days I’ve had. How I look at things now, is different. It’s through this eye of awareness. And while I still don’t always get it right, what I am is aware during it all. And I’ve found this to be such an eye-opening experience for me, as I focus on that awareness.

    Robin, what you have experienced, firsthand in that rainforest, what an experience. And how beautifully it has shaped you and your thinking. Your soul is filled with a calm, and that’s something that I am sure relates back to this awareness you have in your life. So wonderful to read this today, thanks for sharing it here.

    • Robin Easton January 24, 2010 Reply

      Dear Lance, this is a very important comment because you touch on something that is so crucial. You say: “…while I still don’t always get it right, what I am is aware during it all.” I had this thought, Lance. I think we often focus too much on “getting it right” and not enough on just being aware, and allowing ourselves to be aware WITHOUT judgment. This doesn’t mean that we can’t observe what we might like to do differently and then change it, it just means that we can have a larger and more objective view of ourselves and Life…if we don’t judge our unfolding.

      “Being aware” encompassed a LOT. It is a state of being that I see you bravely embracing. I have watched you move deeper and deeper into awareness in the most beautiful and earnest way. No matter how daunting it may feel at times or how unfamiliar, you keep moving closer to the core of Lance. I SO admire you for this. Awareness is an interesting thing. I found it to have NO rules. It is a state of being where we enter the field of limitless possibilities. As we slowly (or rapidly) let go of fear and enter this infinite field (that just IS) we discover that in our new found calm and clarity…we can CHOOSE what we want or don’t want….to be, do, think, feel, see and so on. In essence, like Bern says at the end of his comment on Nature, “We then become a child in the biggest playground we could ever imagine.” Thank you dear Lance for your true and striving heart. It is beautiful. Hugs, Robin

  15. Stephen January 23, 2010 Reply

    Jonathan and Robin, what a delightful surprise to see Robin’s article on Jonathan’s site! :-) What a powerful combination!

    “I believe it speaks directly to the present emotional state of my culture (and many other cultures) in that we currently live in Denial and Fear Mode on nearly every level of our busyness.”

    I think we fear because we are living in a world in which we were not designed to live in. But even worse, fear is such a powerful emotion that politicians and marketers (media or otherwise) are constantly preying upon those fears we already have or creating ones we don’t.

    Just like we overreact to snakes we overreact to these false fears that others create in us. If you feel like X, please ask your doctor for this miracle drug. The terrorists are coming the terrorists are coming. Buy this software and protect your children from online predators. Barricade your home and subscribe to our security service because murders, rapists, and molesters are lurking outside. The stock market is like a new god. When it is down, the god must be angry with us and when it is up the god is saying all is well with our world. The end of the world seems to be predicated upon the falling stock market. Whatever it is, they stoke it and we overreact to it. It is our reaction which is the real problem.

    I love they way you said “our busyness”. We are so busy denying and fearing that we have lost touch with what is important – mainly our connection to our natural world and other human beings. We have abstracted everything to non-existent corporate like entities. Our connections and loyalties are to brands (e.g. Apple) and not to other people. We destroy our natural world so we can drive on asphalt, stand on concrete, and work inside glass and steel. We are turning into technology addicted aliens and we are most certainly in denial.

    Sorry I rambled on so much, but every time I watch or read Robin something wants to spill out :-)

    • Robin Easton January 24, 2010 Reply

      @Stephen, I am so excited being here on Jonathan’s page that I put my response to your comment in the wrong place. LOL!! :) It’s just below. Thank you my friend. ;)

  16. Robin Easton January 23, 2010 Reply

    LOLOL!!! Aaahhhh, Stephen I love this WHOLE comment. It rocks! You should turn it into a post. It is so loaded that I hardly know where to start! WOW! You should always pour your heart out like this.

    Some very core insights you make:

    One: We have certainly grown aspects of our development, like technology, changes in air, water, new drugs, chemicals, and the effects all these things have on us…without really knowing WHAT effect they have on us. The human species has changed the face of the globe faster than any other species. We are currently in the Earth’s 6th great extinction. But what is new about this extinction? It is caused by one species. Humans. Like I was telling Steven Aitchison, these are indeed fascinating times. In many ways we have developed parts of ourselves faster than other parts. Now, we need to develop the “undeveloped” parts. :)

    Two: I just love the points you make in regard to how we buy into the fear that is pumped at us daily through all forms of media. YES!! On a physical lever fear often paralyzes. I saw this in the rainforest. Not ALL animals when under attack will fight or flee. Most do but some become absolutely immobilized when confronted with fear. I’ve seen this with birds, mice or other small creatures that suddenly came face to face to with a snake seeking it’s dinner. The prey simply becames frozen with fear.

    I tell you this as it ties in with what you said about humans buying into all the things we are told/taught to fear (and you made a great list ). My point being that we often have so much fear thrown at us that we too become immobilized and no longer think or act clearly and consciously. We slip into the same state the mouse sometimes does, which is immobilizing fear, hopelessness, lack of clarity. As a culture we are sitting ducks for a government to easily “prey” upon.

    Well, I’ll stop there. BTW, my comment really wasn’t needed here as your thoughts were so complete, but I couldn’t help myself as I found your insights very exciting. Thank you my friend. It’s an honor that you took the time to share. Hugs, Robin

  17. Linda Wolf January 23, 2010 Reply

    Robin,

    Amazing post, on a topic dear to my heart and on my list for reflection and writing, denial. I’d add – from denial to survival to REVIVAL – meaning, really living not just existing or surviving. I am fascinated by the mechanisms by which we free ourselves from denial. I believe it is only possible for each individual to do this for him/herself. No other person can lift the veil for one. So what motivates someone to look beyond their fear and denial?

    Denial serves a purpose – it protects us from truths we are not ready to face. Too often, though, we carry it too far and forget once we get past the trauma to go back and look more rationally at what we were avoiding. As you say about the rainforest, you could just run away from the animals, or you could study them and understand their true dangers so that you can behave appropriately.

    I think what we fail to really understand is that though it seems more painful and scary to face ourselves (what we are avoiding with denial), it is the only way to release the fear and pain. Perhaps it will be more intense pain for a time, but once dealt with, we can let it go. Whereas, by staying in denial, we are experiencing low level pain for much longer.

    So I guess it’s a choice – lower level long-term pain and living in a gray world or intense pain and then bright joyful freedom.

    Thank you, Jon, for having Robin post here, I truly enjoyed it.

    Best,
    Linda

    • Robin Easton January 25, 2010 Reply

      Dear Linda, What a loaded and amazing comment. You raise some VERY important issues and insights. I was held spellbound.

      First: YES! To REALLY be alive and free within ourselves I too think we need to move beyond surviving to THRIVING. Absolutely. When I finally came to terns with my fear in the rainforest, I started to look around and wonder, “Okay, all this life has brilliant survival skills. They all live constantly in a hieghtened state of awareness like I’ve never seen in my own species (they have to so as not to be eaten). BUT do any of them ever thrive, experience joy, vitality, peace and so on?” The answer I found was YES; they do. Very much so. In fact, although everything in the rainforest is eating or being eaten, it not only experiences joy, but looking at the overall rainforest as one organism…it THRIVES beyond our wildest imaginations. From that realization I grew to see a life force or organism (the rainforest) that was SO in love with itself that it consumed itself daily to simply to create more life, more love. Within that I felt VERY safe, very loved.

      You raise another crucial point here: Denial and Fear can both serve a purpose. They are not “bad” emotions…I don’t look at any emotion as “bad”.. They just ARE. We experience them for a reason. I learned in the rainforest, as you say here, that the fear or denial I took on at one point in my life might have actually kept me alive — whether that was physically, emotionally or mentally, or on a soul level. But then later in life I no longer needed that fear or denial to remain alive and intact. This very insight you make can help us be aware that we might need to explore fears and denials as they arise. In this way we can shed that which we no longer need, just as a snake sheds it outgrown skin.

      I agree with you in that we each set ourselves free. Sure, maybe things that people say or things we read or even experience might help, but I think the final choice to face our fear or denial comes from within each of us. — I enjoyed your insightful comment here so much that I am headed over to your site as soon as I ‘m done here. I felt a real kinship and am SO glad that you stopped in to share. It’s an honor to meet you. Robin

      • Linda Wolf January 25, 2010 Reply

        Robin,

        Thanks so much for your reply, loved the descriptions of the rainforest as one organism and you a part of it and therefore unafraid. Also loved the idea of an organism in love with itself. Reminds me of the movie Avatar, whose story was saved from cliche only by the earth acting to save itself in the end. I have really enjoyed this post and all the comments. Thanks again to Jonathan for hosting it. And if you’re interested in my take on denial, you can check out my guest post for James Richmond, The Infopreneur, at http://bit.ly/8I27lI. I look forward to getting to know you.

        Linda

  18. Linda Wolf January 23, 2010 Reply

    PS I loved the picture too!

  19. ZuzannaM January 23, 2010 Reply

    Dear Robin, I have to apologize as I have made a mistake, it shall read: “You are a true inspiration and FEARLESS soul and this attributes make you unique and special. “~~ Sorry for this…Much enjoyed reading this special post!

    Zuzanna

  20. Zeenat January 24, 2010 Reply

    Darling Robin,
    I wanted to be the first one to comment on this…but life came in the way ;) And apparently so many awesome comments too ;)
    My god this is an awesome awesome awesome post! Awareness is indeed the key to all enlightenment. Be it fear or denial or the mixture of both. Where there is awareness..there is no fear…just the all longing thirst of knowing more learning more. Awareness brings calm awareness brings peace and most of all awareness brings strength in the heart and soul.
    Powerful and Wild Robin has done ti again!! A power packed post! Loved it.
    Much love to you both Robin and Jonathan,
    Z~

    • Robin Easton January 24, 2010 Reply

      Dear Z, Thank you for your kind kind words and encouragement. You are a wild unrestrained wind-of-Love that sweeps off a clean mountain top and magically opens every closed window to refresh and heal everything you touch. Just LOVE that about you.

      It’s interesting what you say about living in awareness and there being no fear. Since living in awareness I have found that — even if I feel fear, which is very rare — I feel NO fear of my fear. LOL!! What I mean is: fear, if experienced at all, is just taken in stride just as laughter, tears, joy, peace, love or any other emotion is taken in stride. I don’t even consign fear to a lesser level on the unspoken hierarchy of feelings. For example: Joy = Good, Laughter = Good, BUT Anger = Bad, Fear = Bad and so on. LOL!! I seem to have NO hierarchy of feelings. Living in a state of awareness allows me to just let whatever I feel exist comfortably within and wash through me with no attachment or judgment to it. It’s a hard concept for me to explain, but if I ever do feel fear I am very comfortable with it and even find it fascinating and eagerly want to explore it. Hope some of this makes sense. Thank you my soul sister for your beautiful unbridled burst of love. Love back to you. Robin

  21. Bern January 24, 2010 Reply

    I love your words Robin: ” I feel no fear of my fear” since it is not to be feared but to be resolved by feeling it. We are taught to hold back what many consider are bad feelings. The feelings are there for a reason. The fear can even perhaps be looked at as the karma that we can dissolve to open up to Love and to the acceptance of the personal Nature that we are experiencing both inside and out. When we face fear or see through the illusion, there is only Love and acceptance. When we avoid or hide from fear, it persists and shows its face at every opportunity till we pay attention to it. Its not because the feeling is bad, but because it is feeling neglected. The feeling isn’t negative, we are being negative by seperating from it. For example, if we see a snake, it is transmitting energy to us. Its energy isn’t negative. But since we block it out, a bubble seperates us from it. The bubble and seperation is uncomfortable and so we want to avoid that feeling instead of resolving and forgiving that feeling. The energy from the snake wasn’t bad to begin with, because when we process the fear, we see that the snake only wants to be loved too, and that the barrier was what was doing the talking. The barrier is akin to the ego and it gets stronger as the polarity between the two objects increases. Reduce the polarity, and one reduces the ego, until one can step into union with the object of our attention, producing a reunion with Love and one’s greater Self.

  22. Robin Easton January 24, 2010 Reply

    Dear Bernie, I am THRILLED that you got that (” I feel no fear of my fear”), as I was not sure I explained it clearly. It is such a simple awareness or state of being that it’s almost impossible for me to put into further words . I was dancing knowing that you not only understood that state of being, but that you did a MUCH better job of explaining it than I did. WHOA!! What you wrote is fantastic! It is so exciting to have something reflected back to us through another soul. Amazing.

    Just love your use of the word “illusion”. That has been my experience as well. Such a fabulous word in this context. And then the part about fear repeatedly showing itself as an opportunity for us to pay attention, to awaken, is just priceless. I love the words, “…our fear is feeling neglected.” Yes!!! It truly is, and in our fear-caused separation we often grieve the loss of both “other” and self, which when allowed are really one and the same. But usually we don’t know why we grieve or sometimes that we DO grieve. Instead we feel some vague (or not so vague) form of depression. When we can be “with” we fall madly in love with ALL of Existence. We too want to devour every drop of Life whole and alive. Such a beautiful and compassionately encompassing way of living that you share here. I am deeply grateful for this further sharing. It is a HUGE gift. Robin

  23. Dorothy Stahlnecker January 24, 2010 Reply

    Robin as usual you are so right, I even thought of going into a high level negotiation while I’m working on a sale of a property in the millions, I go into the meeting in the survival mode I think about where I even should sit and when I can speak, and how prepared I must be in order to survive the meeting and make the sale. This was fascinating to apply to every day life…as well although the forest and jungle with all those creatures…not for me…hugs to you.

    Your the best, Dorothy

    • Robin Easton January 24, 2010 Reply

      Dear Dorothy, I found your comment fascinating!! The fact that you took what I wrote here and shared how you use it in your life is very creative. I had to laugh because what you describe is very similar to what I went through in the rainforest when I was learning to be aware. There are many different types of jungles. Just reading your wise words here reminded me of when I came OUT of the rainforest. One day it hit me that when I reentered society I had entered another type of jungle. I had to get to know it all over again, but I did so through wild eyes. …And man, you talk about a new and astounding experience, wow! It was as incredible as going INTO the rainforest. :)

      More and more I simply come from a feeling of overwhelming love and compassion within myself no matter where I am. And it is that love that leaves me feeling at ease with the world around me. However, it was in looking at my fears and no longer letting them confine me or limit my life experience that allowed megatons of love to flow through me.. — I really enjoyed this sharing and new insight into your life. Hugs to you dear friend. Robin

      • Dorothy Stahlnecker January 25, 2010 Reply

        Thank you Robin, and I really enjoyed and loved pondering your words.. Blessings my friend this blog stuff is so good for so many things.

        Dorothy

  24. Alex Blackwell January 24, 2010 Reply

    Yes, being aware of our reality is the first step to overcoming fear!

    • Robin Easton January 24, 2010 Reply

      Dear Alex, thank you for taking the time to stop in and leave a comment, one I obviously resonate with. I just popped over to your site and it is a joy!! I will check it out again when I am not on my lap top. I love the whole “inspiration and faith” theme that you have going on there. Just wonderful, very refreshing and up lifting. Thank you for that. Robin

  25. Wilma Ham January 24, 2010 Reply

    Hi Robin,
    The fear that is killing me is fear of fear.
    You showed us that there is healthy fear that makes you intelligent and let you make use of all your God given senses.
    That is beauttiful fear and allows us to explore the unknown and get excitement in our lives, real life stuff not the arm chair stuff.
    Big hug for showing us this lifegiving difference, my adventurous ‘feaful’ friend, xox Wilma

    • Robin Easton January 24, 2010 Reply

      Heeey dear Wilma, you are a dear to stop over here and meet Jonathan and see me. SOOO good to see you here. You wrote something here that I thought I’d see sooner, but has not yet been mentioned: “fear of fear”. Fear of letting our bodies explore and embrace what “fear” feels like. ….And using our minds to help us realize that in most cases “in this actual moment we are safe, nothing is happening to us.”

      In doing this we are learning to “be with” fear. At the very least, we are learning to not try and make it go away. Just let it “be” there. This can slowly give us emotional muscle. Something else we can do is be aware of old habits. For example: what do we DO when we feel fear? Do we go eat, do we get angry, do we become controlling of others and situations, do we push people away or cling excessively, do we drink, do we tense up our shoulders, clench our jaw. We could ask ourselves: “How do I respond to fear? And not just give ourselves a casual answer, but really examine how our body feels, what thoughts we have and so on. We can ask, “What is this thing I call fear?”

      Wilma, you are such a dear, as you say, it is in exploring our fear that “…allows us to explore the unknown and get excitement in our lives, real life stuff not the arm chair stuff.” I LOVE the distinction you make here. When we can move toward our fear (or the unknown) we DO have “real-life” excitement. We are no longer limited and held in bondage by fear. Hugging you dear friend. Robin

  26. Mike Foster January 25, 2010 Reply

    Fear is one of the biggest motivators for most people, and, as you so succinctly state, often leads to the worst in us. Love your stuff so much I followed you here.’

    peace,
    mike

    • Robin Easton January 25, 2010 Reply

      Dear Mike, wow! I get to see you twice in two days. What a treat! :) I am honored by your kinds words. Also, I really like your use of your word “motivator” in relation to fear. As I thought about this I realized that it can work both ways. For example: when some people receive a health “scare”, like the possibility of cancer or heart attack or other, we are ignited by this fear and are willing — maybe for the first time in our lives — to make drastic and healthy changes. We might change our diet, stop smoking, drinking or other behavior that is potentially harmful. So in essence we use fear as a springboard for change. Then in other instances fear can ignite some people to act with rage, violence and so forth. The point to all this might be for each of us to look at how fear “motivates” us in various situations. And ask ourselves if we can USE fear as a tool, a guide, an “indicator of”…. I do this with any fear I feel. I harness it in some way, until I understand it and no longer need it. —Wow! Thank you, Mike, for inspiring me so much. Hugs, Robin (“Peace” LOL!)

  27. Jonathan Figaro January 25, 2010 Reply

    The comfort zone can be the death of us, and usually is? Robin where did you become so educated on self growth? what books do you read?

    • Robin Easton January 25, 2010 Reply

      Dear Jonathan (Figaro), Wow! What an honor you give me in asking your question as to what books I read. I am deeply touched. I’ll tell you why; I don’t read ANY self-growth books.

      When I was about twenty-seven I worked out that if I stayed in my comfort zone it would be the death of me. I asked myself what are the things that threaten my comfort zone? Although I lived in much fear, I had a deep hunger to know Life firsthand. Not what I’d been taught, or been told. But, who was “I” in relation to Life itself? If all else was taken out of the picture how did “I” feel? NOT what I thought I should feel, or what others might WANT me to feel, or what I might have been told was the RIGHT way to feel.. No, simply what did I feel? And to look at it all without ANY judgment .

      I also consciously decided I wanted my OWN intimate relationship with Life…more than anything else. Without it I was lost, following others, and out of touch with Robin and Life itself. I wanted an “experiential” life. One where the learning wasn’t held only in my mind, but something that I experienced and felt with my entire being. Something SO complete in understanding that I BECAME the knowledge, insight or awareness. It was something imprinted on every cell of my being. Some might call it the “school of hard knocks”, but I thrived in it.

      I would have to add, that I have found this to be who we ALL are. We are wisdom itself…already. We only need get out of our own way and listen to, trust and “act” upon our hearts. Today, I think with my heart. I realize this can take an enormous leap of faith in our own “god-given” perfection (for lack of a better word). But I was willing to take that leap of faith. I had to for the very reason you state: to not let my comfort zone be the death of me. I have never regretted those early decisions. —-Thank you for your wonderful insight and question. I’m blessed to have shared here with you. Robin

      • Jonathan Figaro January 26, 2010 Reply

        Wow thanks, your right we all wisdom itself. Thanks a lot!

    • Robin Easton January 25, 2010 Reply

      Jonathan, an added thought re: my choice to live an “experiential life”. I figured I’d make mistakes along the way, BUT that if I kept my heart and mind open I would learn as I went. And I did. I also figured I’d make the biggest mistake of all if I stayed in my comfort zone. I’d waste my entire life and not contribute Life and Love to the planet and those around me….simply by loving all whom I came in contact with.

      • Wilma Ham January 25, 2010 Reply

        Robin, what you say here; THAT is living!
        THAT is what we are supposed to do here, BE the experience, BE your own unique experience. THAT is also what unique means.
        Oh, I love how you word things that my heart feels.
        I so love you for that. xox Wilma

  28. Amit Sodha January 26, 2010 Reply

    Hi Robin,

    I haven’t read through all of the comments as yet so I’m not sure if I’m repeating anything that has already been said but I’m with you 100% on facing our fears. I’ve always said that fear is the mechanism that tells us what needs to be addressed in our lives because most of that fear is an illusion. It’s the beliefs that something can harm us that cause us to act, as you said, irrationally.

    Well said and that must have been a truly awesome experience. You’re wonderfully brave for doing it and have left me with an even greater sense of adventure!

  29. Robin Easton January 26, 2010 Reply

    Dear Amit, Good to see you here!! I enjoy seeing that happy alive face of yours around the internet. Don’t ever worry about repeating things already said; more often than not it does us ALL good to hear them again. However, you said something in a very unique way that I just LOVED: “…fear is the mechanism that tells us what needs to be addressed in our lives” YES!! That is a powerful insight. and very well worded. I admire you for already having this realization. Once we can see feer as a tool or guide then we can truly harness how we respond to it, use it, grow from it and so forth.

    When I saw fear as this type of “mechanism” I actually found myself feeling excited. Facing fear became a wonderful challenge for me, a bit like an initiation of sorts. I’m not saying that in a foolhardy way but in a very dynamic and whole way. In my culture we have almost no real initiations. So one day it hit me that I could literally use “facing my fear” as a continual form of initiation to test myself, to strengthen myself, to grow tougher, wiser, more calm and at ease with life and myself. It was a way that I could take back my dignity, integrity, inner strength, courage and faith (in myself and Life).

    Also love your use of the word “illusion”. Bern ~Walking in Stillness used the same word in his comment above and I was so glad to see it here again. I find it a POWERFUL way to look at fear. It helps dispel so much of what we think is real. Often with fear we TOTALLY believe it’s real and don’t even stop to question that it might be an illusion. I think we do that, in part, because the feeling of fear is such an all consuming one.

    Thank you for your kind words and input here my new friend, I really value it. You’re very wise and filled with a contagious enthusiasm. I have no doubt that you will embrace many adventures. Just a sense I have about you. :) Thank you. Robin

  30. Nea February 2, 2010 Reply

    As always, Robin, your wisdom blows me away. I absolutely love this post. Awareness is definitely the key to it all. When we learn to practice conscious living rather than simply existing in a state of fear and denial, the journey of life becomes so much sweeter.

    Thanks so much for sharing this article.

  31. Richard February 8, 2010 Reply

    Awareness mode is where we need to be! Awareness of the present moment. Lots of comments on this post.

  32. Jane May 20, 2011 Reply

    Hi Robin! Your post is so inspiring… Acceptance for me is seeing the things as what they are and not as what we wish or desire what they need to become. You need to see everything clearly for you to start the process of acceptance. Through accepting, you can create the solutions to the things that you fear. Denial from truth must be faced up to make it acceptable. Acceptance is powerful and denial can give your power gone to whatever you are holding on to. For me acceptance is the main reason to letting go…

  33. Lorii June 25, 2012 Reply

    This is a great post, Robin. Yes, it is really amazing when we conquer our fears and be aware of the moment. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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