Day 17 of the Overcoming Fear Challenge

Develop Faith That Overcomes Fear

Faith is not something that once you get it you can put it in your wallet, stuff it into your back pocket and say that you have it. To have faith you must develop gratitude. You develop gratitude, you must work at making it a habit. The only real way to work at making gratitude a habit is to take the time for gratitude every day.

river meditation

I started a gratitude journal so that I will become focused on gratitude first thing every day. For fifteen minutes I focus on writing down all the things and that I am grateful for. This I do in addition to meditation, doing a Spanish lesson, yoga, and daily hygiene. It happens every day whether I feel like doing it or not.

It has not been easy for me being grateful every day. Since my last post, I lost my sister after she lost a year and a half battle against cancer. Less than six months ago, my brother died of a heart condition, and my father died from a stroke. I am older than both my sister and my brother who died and during the process I realized just how little I have done to accomplish those things that I know I am to do before I leave this life. I have a sense of urgency that I never had before. I have things to do, and I have a limited time to do them.

I think what I find that is difficult for me in having gratitude every day is that I have difficulty understanding why my sister who always seemed to have only kind words to say to people, who showed positivity every day of her life, should have died the painful death that she had to die. Yes, she was surrounded by family and friends and she was loved. The problem is, those family and friends who surrounded her are forever scarred over the hell she went through during her last days. I am having difficulty understanding how a loving God can let someone he loves suffer like that.

I know that gratitude is the right thing for building faith, but for me right now, it is a struggle.  I struggle everyday to remain grateful. It is very difficult for me. I can’t help but feel as though I am pitiful and unlovable. I have gotten to the root of my fear. The fear that I am not worthy of being loved by anyone including God and certainly not myself. I have not been faithful in giving the gratitude for what I have been given. I am not worthy. What scares me is the fact that if someone like my sister should suffer even when she was so friendly and so giving, then what chance to I have for ever being good enough or grateful enough. It is a hard thing to face, but definitely a fear to be reckoned with. I will not stop the struggle until this fear and the pain associated with it are no longer an issue.

About the Author

2014-04-07 07.07.08Cygnet Brown has recently finished her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga Cygnet Brown resides in Springfield, Missouri.

Get a free copy of her newsletter and a free pdf copy of her e-booket: Vegetable Gardening in the Shade.

Day 17 Overcoming Fear Challenge ©2014 Donna (Cygnet) Brown

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Day 13 of the Overcoming Fear Challenge

Excuses: Fear’s Biggest Ally

Why is it that we don’t do what we really want to do in life? We make excuses for why we can’t do what it is that we say we want to do. Why do we do that? We do that because we cloak fear in the shroud of what many call “being realistic”. Its not realistic to dream, we are told and since whoever it is we are listening to cares about us, we internalize “being realistic”. When we do step out and begin to entertain our dreams, the voice of “reality” gets louder in its support of these excuses. In this TEDx video: Why You Will Fail To Have Great Career  by Larry Smith, he examines various excuses that we use and challenges us to step beyond those excuses.

When I started this series, I had no idea where each of these posts would lead. I had no idea what answers I would discover when I began writing. All I knew was that I needed to start this 30 day series for my own benefit. I have heard that when you ask for something, God will bring you the answers to your questions. This morning when I awoke, I had no idea that this video by Larry Smith would be included in this series, but when I saw it, I knew that it was a piece of the puzzle and it was something that I have been struggling with for a long time. I hope you gain new insights as I have from this fifteen minute video.

About the Author

2014-04-07 07.07.08Cygnet Brown has recently finished her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga Cygnet Brown resides in Springfield, Missouri.

Get a free copy of her newsletter and a free pdf copy of her e-booket: Vegetable Gardening in the Shade.

Day 13 Overcoming Fear Challenge ©2014 Donna (Cygnet) Brown

Day 11 of the Overcoming Fear Challenge

exit interview

The best way to get rid of fear is to let hm know that he is no longer needed.

 An Exit Interview with Fear

Yesterday we talked about how fear is like a protective coating that protects us from things that can harm us, but in order for us to grow, we must tell the fear that it is no longer needed.  Its not as though we need to get angry or upset with fear. The truth is, it is best when we address our fear that we are calm and don’t get excited because excitement makes fear raise up its defenses. We do much better if we can address fear with a coolly, rationally and lovingly.

The best way to get rid of fear is to let hm know that he is no longer needed.

Imagine that you are an employer and that fear’s job has been terminated. Treat this conversation like an exit interview and fear is getting the ax. Here is how such a conversation could go:

In an interview room, two chairs are facing one another. I am sitting in one. Fear enters the room. He is standing very militarily. His eyes are ever watchful. He is proud of the work that he has been doing.  I motion fear to take the seat facing the one in which I am sitting.

Me: Hello fear, I see that you have been very busy taking care of business. I see that you are trying to protect me from failure, and I appreciate your efforts.

Fear: Well, thank you. It is nice that I am appreciated.

Me: You’ve come to work every day, did your time, did your job well. Too well in fact. However, I have bad news for you. The job that you have been do no longer is needed so I have to let you go. It is time for me to grow, and the job that you have been doing is hindering that grown. I’m sorry, but I have to let you go.

Fear: But I like it here. Please keep me on.

Me: The truth is,Your job was supposed to have been a temporary one. I have kept you on far longer than I should have.

Fear: But if I leave, you’ll be more vulnerable. I won’t be here to protect you.

Me: But if you stay, I can’t grow and grow I must.

Fear: I see. I understand. I wish it were different. I really liked working for you.

Me: And you did your job well. It is just that I no longer need the services you provide. Good-bye fear.

Fear: Good-bye.

(Fear gets up. He is stooped over, his head low. He walks out of the room. I sort of feel sorry for him, but I know that it is for the best. It is time for me to grow.)

About the Author

2014-04-07 07.07.08Cygnet Brown has recently finished her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga Cygnet Brown resides in Springfield, Missouri.

Get a free copy of her newsletter and a free pdf copy of her e-booket: Vegetable Gardening in the Shade.

Day 11 Overcoming Fear Challenge ©2014 Donna (Cygnet) Brown

Day 8 of the Overcoming Fear Challenge

Discovering Our Options for Overcoming Anxiety

Yesterday we identified an area where we felt stuck and identified what we were afraid of losing in that area where we felt as though we were stuck. Today, we are going to look at this even more and determine exactly what we can do with the power that knowing what we are afraid of losing can do for us. It is the first step in discovering our options for overcoming anxiety and overcoming fear as it relates to feeling stuck.

glasses

Seeing that you have options is one of the first steps in overcoming the fear that has you stuck.

Let’s look at the example of:

Feeling stuck in my current dead end job. (This isn’t the area where I am currently stuck. It may not be the area where you are currently stuck,  but it is an area where many people are stuck. It is a good example, so I will use it. )

What am I afraid of losing if I decide to leave my current dead end job?

Our home?- Probably

Our 401K- probably

Our self respect- possibly

our spouses respect-possibly

our spouse-possibly

not being able to pay my own bills-if you’re like most people who work paycheck to paycheck, most definitely.

Well, I don’t know about you, but losing those things could be pretty devastating. This is a dose of reality. No wonder you’re afraid of leaving your dead end job. So the next question that comes up would be: How could I keep from losing all those things and still leave my current job? The answer to this question starts opening other possibilities.

Discovering Your Options Empowers

The quickest way of leaving your current job might be to write a resume and sending that resume out to various other jobs that perhaps are not so dead end.

Another option, which is a far more drastic measure, would be to say to heck with it all, sell the house, leave the wife, leave the job behind, and go live under a bridge. None of it was worth keeping any way.

Other, less drastic means of breaking out of the rut take a little longer. For instance you could go back to school, get a better education and then fill out the job resumes toward a better job.

Another might be to start your own home business while still doing the current job. Go to part time after a while and gradually work into working the part time business full time.

Another might be to study short term to get a real estate or insurance license, sell a few things to tide the family over and try to live on the wife’s income until you really start making an income.

By going through this exercise, I realize that I don’t have to stay stuck in a job that I hate. I may have to continue doing it for a while, but refusing to stay stuck in a dead end job isn’t my only option. I have ways of getting myself unstuck if I simply look at all the options that might be available to me.

We now have an example of an area where a person could feel stuck. We have identified what we could lose if we were to simply let go of where we are stuck. Finally, we have identified ways that we can become unstuck. Now it is time for the real work. Where are we stuck? What are we afraid of losing? What could be done about it? Finally, we must weight the options and determine which option we will take in order to move past the fear into freedom.

 

2014-04-07 07.07.08About the Author

Cygnet Brown has recently finished her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga Cygnet Brown resides in Springfield, Missouri.

Get a free copy of her newsletter and a free pdf copy of her e-booket: Vegetable Gardening in the Shade.

Day 8 Overcoming Fear Challenge ©2014 Donna (Cygnet) Brown

Challenge Day 3: Fear Disguised as Procrastination

I observe myself procrastinating things that I love doing all the time. I do it because I don’t want to have to face the new thing that I have to face that will bring changes in my life. For instance, I have three books that I am currently editing for publication.

procrastination flowchartOne of them is the still unnamed book of poems that my Dad R Leonard Swanson when he was alive that I am adding memories that relate to those poems. Another is my book Simply Vegetable Gardening.

Dad’s book I have been procrastinating because I really don’t want to call his life’s work finished. Yesterday I was thinking about something that my Dad had told me about. I had some questions about it, but then I realized that I had no way of asking him because he is no longer with us. I have no doubt in my mind that this procrastination is my fear of letting go of him. Coupled with that is the fact that six weeks later, my eldest brother died. He was my first playmate. Finishing Dad’s book means saying good-bye. It also represents the idea that by having finished that chapter in my life brings me that much closer to “putting nails into my own coffin”. The fear of death keeps me stuck so that I am not finishing this project.

nVtbMzg7Cdd_9820955(2)

Here’s the cover of my new book Simply Vegetable Gardening. What do you think?

My book Simply Vegetable Garden is my first nonfiction book and it is already a month later in publication than I had first intended for it to be. Part of the fear in that book is that I am afraid that no one will buy it. This is one fear that I am plunging through this week. By this weekend, I will have the Kindle version available online and will have the print version ready for review. The sales campaign to my friends and family will begin next week.

Another area that I have been procrastinating in is in finishing my class assignments for school. I am not saying that I am not getting them done on time, because I am. What I am saying is that I have been putting things off until the last minute and then rushing to finish on time. The fear behind this procrastination isn’t really about the school work at all. My fear is related to the fact that I am into my last four classes before I finish my degree. July 30th marks the completion of my last class. Once I finish my degree, I will be facing the challenge of transitioning from student to someone who needs to find meaningful work. I am afraid of this change, but if I intend to reach the goals that I am striving to reach, I must move forward. I must press on.

To combat the temptation to procrastinate because of the fears that I am facing, I must meet this temptation head on. To do this, beginning today, I am going to plow through these projects. Before looking at my e-mails or social media, before working on any other projects, I intend to work on each of these projects at least for fifteen minutes each.

Have you been procrastinating? Have you been putting things off because of some sort of fear? If you have, determine that you will stop procrastinating in those areas today. Do the projects that you have been procrastinating first rather than last. Break through the fear and see what victories lie beyond the veil of procrastination.

 

Diving into April with a 30-Day Challenge

Can you believe that it is already the last day of the month? How time flies whether I’m having fun or not! Tomorrow starts a new day, and I am diving into what is called a 30 Day Challenge. Every day I will be facing a challenge that has been plaguing me so much that I have devoted a whole month to conquering it.

skydiver

This skydiver certainly has learned to face his fears and this month, I am planning to face a few of my own.

I have decided that the biggest thing I need challenged right now “FEAR”. Everyday, for the next thirty days, I am going to something to help me face some fear in my life. Everyday I am going to post some intent and then post what I did to face down that fear and overcome it. No, I am not going to face my fears concerning bungee jumping or skydiving, I plan on being a little more practical than that. So everyday for the next month, you will be seeing a post from me concerning some challenge that I am putting out there. If you know of any unique ways of facing fear, comment below. I would love to hear your insights.

Do you face areas of fear in your life? Perhaps you too would join me in this challenge.

bungee jumping

This will not be on my list of fears that I plan to challenge this month, but the ones that I face will definitely be as frightening for me as bungee jumping!

What is it that you fear? What do you think that you need to do to conquer your fears?  Write in the comments below what fears you have to face, and perhaps list a thing or two that you will use to confront it. If you can’t think of way to confront your fear, write down your fear anyway. Perhaps we can both gain a better perspective by dialoguing about it.

If you haven’t yet received your copy of Vegetable Gardening in the Shade, do so now by clicking on this link and receive a subscription to my newsletter Cygnet’s News as well. In this newsletter, you will be able to keep up with events that I will be attending, updates on my books, and articles that bring the conflict of the American Revolution to life as well as timely gardening tips from what to plant, how to plant it using organic methods, how to keep it growing and how to use it after harvest.

© Copyright, 2014, Diving into April with a 30-Day Challenge, Donna (Cygnet) Brown

Procrastinating to Delay Change

The other day a friend of mine was talking about writers and procrastination. I am usually not one to procrastinate,  but lately I have been procrastinating about things that I normally am very proactive and keeping done. I realized that the reason was that I would soon be finishing something that I have loved working on and hate to move on. Just the idea that change is in the air is causing me to procrastinate!

me_on_the_laptop

Lately I have been writing articles about and writing my book Simply Vegetable Gardening. I am almost finished with it. Just a couple more weeks of editing, and my kindle copy of the book will be ready for publication and a couple of weeks after that, I should have the print copy of the book ready as well.

I also have my Dad’s poem book almost ready. Dad died last November 19 and I have been working on adding memoirs to the poetry, I had hoped for more help with memories from other family members, but its hard to get anyone else to write. Obviously, this is my project. I can see why I am procrastinating this. I am dealing with having to let go and as long as the book is not finished, I don’t have to put it all behind me.

Another aspect of my life that will be coming to an end soon relates to the fact that I will have finished my college degree July 30 of this year. It is certainly one aspect of my life that I will miss. I have always done well, so I will miss the accolades of my education process.

No wonder I am procrastinating a little. I like what I am doing and I will have to figure out something else to fill up the time.

At least I recognize the reason behind the procrastination, so I am able to push through it even though I feel anxious while I’m doing it. Are you procrastinating in any area of your life? Do you know why you are procrastinating?

On this Day in History as It Relates to the American Revolution

March 26, 1777 was a sad day for the patriots when they discovered that their fellow patriot Samuel Ward had died of smallpox. Mr. Ward had been a farmer, politician, Governor of the Rhode Island Colony and a delegate to the Continental Congress. He was the son of an earlier Rhode Island Governor, Richard Ward and Samuel grew up in a large Newport, RI family After marriage, he moved to Westerly Rhode Island where he got property from his father-in-law and began farming. He then entered into politics. He got into a controversy with Stephen Hopkins concerning a paper money/specie (hard) money. He favored hard money.

As a Rhode Island politician, Ward founded and became a trustee of Brown University, Rhode Island’s first college. During the stamp act, Samuel Ward was the only colonial governor to refuse to uphold the act. This threatened his position as governor, but solidified his recognition as a great patriot. He finished his last term as governor in 1767 and retired to his farm in Westerly, but in 1774 he felt it his civic duty to become a delegate to the Continental Congress. He devoted all of his energy to the effort. After the battles of Lexington and Concord, Ward made his famous statement “Heaven save my country, is my first, my last, and almost my only prayer.”

Declaration-of-IndependenceDuring a Constitutional Congress meeting in Philadelphia, he collapsed and later died of small pox, just three months before he would have signed the Declaration of Independence. He remains were buried in Newport, RI.

If you haven’t yet received your copy of Vegetable Gardening in the Shade, do so now by clicking on this link and receive a subscription to my newsletter Cygnet’s News as well. In this newsletter, you will be able to keep up with events that I will be attending, updates on my books, and articles that bring the conflict of the American Revolution to life as well as timely gardening tips from what to plant, how to plant it using organic methods, how to keep it growing and how to use it after harvest.

Why I think I Know Enough About Gardening to Write a Book About It

broccoliSince before the beginning of the year as you know, I have been working on a number of articles on Hubpages on the subject of gardening. In the process, I have been rewriting the information and adding additional topics in creating my book Simply Vegetable Gardening different from and more informative than anything that I have online.

You may wonder why I think that I know enough about gardening to write a book about it. Well, I started gardening, specifically organic gardening over 40 years ago when I was twelve years old in my parent’s backyard. I didn’t have much money to work with, so I learned to use what I had. I learned to use what many people would consider garbage, but that the earthworms and other subterranean flora and fauna considered food. I learned that a fancy compost bin wasn’t necessary. Bury household garbage in the ground and in less than a week, where there had been garbage now contained a large earthworm population. I graduated high school, joined the military, and after getting married and having my first son, I had another backyard garden, this time instead of the sandy loam of my mother’s backyard in Northwestern Pennsylvania, I was practically starting my garden on a beach on the Virginia coast. The soil was sand, no loam. I began adding household garbage to that garden as well. Because it was a warmer climate and the soil wasn’t that good, I made the garden smaller and by the time my tour of duty was completed, my garden soil looked fantastic. Next I moved to the Missouri Ozarks where I lived on a commune for several years. There I learned even more about organic gardening. I learned that it was possible to eat what I grew in the garden. While I lived there, I learned that what many people thought was true really wasn’t. Sawdust could be used as mulch in the garden without poisoning the soil. Sawdust just needs to be aged a couple of years before using. After leaving the commune, I lived on rental properties and at every different home, I built another small, organic garden on soil that I often joked would only grow rocks. Every time I left, I had to leave the soil I had created. I learned one thing from all this, mixing my household garbage in the form of compost into my soil worked magic on any soil. It didn’t matter if the garden was already loam, sand, clay or rocks. It didn’t matter. organic soil was the answer to improving any soil type.  In a sense, I had become a Johnny (or should I say Joannie?) Appleseed of organic gardens.

A few years ago, I was in nursing school and one day I was reading an old book by J. I. Rodale from the 1950s which he had written about organic gardening. At the same time, I was studying my anatomy and physiology book and studying about the human cell. Talk about an epiphany! Reading the information in tandem as I was, I discovered that many significant similarities existed between the human cell and the actions of a compost pile. What I realized was that just because we add nutrients to the soil, does not mean that those nutrients will be accessible by the plants in the area. Thinking of the processes of the earth as chemistry, was not accurate at all. As I compared the various organisms of the compost pile and the earth in general with the human body, I realized the synergy that occurs between the various organisms. One cell in the human body had a synergistic and interdependent connection with every other cell. In addition, in the earth, as in the human body a buffering system exists which creates homeostasis. A compost pile will start out acidic, but if allowed to mellow, will neutralize if given the proper elements with which to work. The processes of the earth are biological, not chemical. It is as though, just as the human body is made up of billions of individual cells, because of countless organisms on our planet all working together, earth is truly a living breathing organism.

Though I came upon that realization on my own, I am not alone in this perception nor was I the first to think this way. In 1978, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren came up with the word permaculture which stands for “permanent culture,” as it was seen that social aspects were integral to a truly sustainable system that included humans dealing with nature on its own terms. It is certainly how I see this relationship between the earth and her inhabitants. This idea was inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka’s natural farming philosophy. During the past few years I have also been studying the principles of this philosophy.

On This Date in History as It Relates to the American Revolution

On this Date in 1765, the Britain enacted Quartering Act, required colonists to provide temporary housing to British soldiers. This was a very significant event not only in history, but also in my book Soldiers Don’t Cry, The Locket Saga Continues. When Phillip returns to Boston as a British officer in 1774, he is quartered at the home of Peter Mayford, a Boston merchant. Phillip specifically positioned himself into that home because he wanted to rekindle a friendship with a young friend that he had met when he was a young orphan boy in the American backwoods. When he is reintroduced after many years to his friend, Elizabeth Thorton, also an orphan living with her sister’s family, he is smitten by her beauty. Little does he know, Elizabeth was spying for the organizers of the uprising that the British government had assigned him to subdue.

If you haven’t yet received your copy of Vegetable Gardening in the Shade, do so now by clicking on this link and receive a subscription to my newsletter Cygnet’s News as well. In this newsletter, you will be able to keep up with events that I will be attending, updates on my books, and articles that bring the conflict of the American Revolution to life as well as timely gardening tips from what to plant, how to plant it using organic methods, how to keep it growing and how to use it after harvest.