This post is for my beautiful daughter who is struggling with some internal and external fear factors. Hope this helps, darling.

Fear remains like a shadow that follows. Here along the Oregon coast, I am going to compare it to the dense fog that comes and goes. It can be a gorgeous, blue sky day and then a thick fog can roll in within a few minutes and take over. It is fascinating.

Since I am new to the Oregon coast it has taken some getting use to the weather here and still I struggle with the fog, the lasting days of grey, but I also have been in awe of the quick changes that can happen and I often refer to the weather here as “a surprise.” If you can view things as a good surprise, things can seem better, right!?

My daughter just started her second year of college last week and it has been a tough ride. She broke up with her first love of seven months and started school days later. The week has been an emotional roller coaster and her inner fears seem to rise and fall like the tides here at the coast.

Our daughter is an incredible, outgoing, bubbly, fun, smart, beautiful girl that has so much going for her, so it has been so hard to see her fall victim to the struggles of the various fears that are on the rise within her world. She has been viewing her life from another perspective–that of needing external factors to make her happy. [ie: being with her boyfriend makes being on campus better, she would be happier with people giving her praise, her worth seems to be based on so many things outside herself] Her ego seems to be having a party and taking over in a negative light.

She seems to be allowing the fear to freeze and immobilize her. The campus ambassador job she has been so excited about & loved training for—is no longer of interest. The ocean club she is in leadership for is not giving her the attention she needs. She feels she has no friends. She feels alone. She feels she will never find people who are capable of being her friend…the feelings, the fears seem to be enveloping her and she is beginning to drown.

Our strong daughter is crumbling under the pressure of a campus she chose and she seems willing to sacrifice her happiness to make it. In a conversation with her yesterday she said, “I want to want to be here.” as tears rolled down her face.

As a mom you just want to fix everything and make sure she is safe emotionally and physically. It is tough. Today, she cried over the phone and said, “I have to make it work here. This is the place I chose.”

I stopped her and gave her my pizza analogy. I said, “You know I love pizza and I get sooo excited to try various places with yummy pizza, but IF I go somewhere new and I get a pizza that does not taste good, does that mean I should sit and suffer through the rest of the slices? There are plenty of pizza places out there. There are plenty of other life experiences you can get out and enjoy and not suffer through. I suggested study abroad in other countries.

Life is a journey, the fears will come, but it is how you manage them. It is how and what you allow them to do for your life. You can either fall victim to fears and get stuck or you can package them in a new “surprise” outlook and have them help challenge you in a different way with a new opportunity.

My husband and I listened to part of a podcast with the free solo climber, Alex Honnold. He had a great perspective on fear. He explained that he still gets afraid and sometimes the fear takes a firm grip during moments of his climbs. He talked about how people need to look at fear like they look at hunger. He said, we all know when we FEEL hungry and we then give our body what it needs. We need to look at fear the same way. We need to FEEL our body and the fear that is holding on and decide to put it to the side for a moment until we can handle it properly. Just breathe through the fear, set it aside and not emotionally react to it. Then, when you are calm and ready to handle the fear–then face it once you are in a better space to do so.

I sat and looked at the ocean after a tough conversation with my daughter. I just watched the ocean waves slowly roll and had this thought, I shared this with her as well, “The ocean comes and goes, up and down. You need to do a couple things: You sometimes need to dive deep below the surface to find a deep stillness, to find a calm within for yourself. Then on the flip side, you need moments that you take on the fears and emotions that are hard and show yourself that you are strong enough to ride them and see where you end up in the journey.” I felt that was a great analogy of our emotional journey–the ups, the downs.

I heard another interesting fact about our emotions—they can only last in our bodies for 90 seconds.

“Feelings are like ocean waves,” says psychologist Alyson Stone, “they rise, crest and recede, all day long.” We can all relate. But according to brain scientist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, these waves last just 90 seconds. After that, we’re simply re-stimulating our internal circuitry. 

Explains Taylor: “When a person has a reaction to something in their environment, there’s a 90-second chemical process that happens in the body; after that, any remaining emotional response is just the person choosing to stay in that emotional loop.”

She goes on: “Something happens in the external world, and chemicals are flushed through your body which puts it on full alert. For those chemicals to totally flush out of the body, it takes less than 90 seconds. This means that for 90 seconds you can watch the process happening, you can feel it happening, and then you can watch it go away. After that, if you continue to feel fear, anger, and so on, you need to look at the thoughts that you’re thinking that are re-stimulating the circuitry that is resulting in you having this physiological reaction, over and over again.”

Sarah Chauncey weighs in: “What keeps emotions lingering are the stories we tell ourselves about them … Because we humans are story-making machines, we often tend to interpret our body’s signals as emotions, when in fact, they’re just … processes, happening. They will pass – unless we attach a story to them and keep them alive.” -thedanielislandnews

STRESS STRATEGY: try this Consider practicing the 90-second rule this week. When stress hits and you can feel yourself launching into full-on fight or flight mode, go back to the principle of the pause. Inhale. Exhale. And allow yourself to feel the tension in your body ease, without expecting yourself to respond immediately to the situation confronting you.” -same news as above


“Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.”
–Judy Blume

Every single one of us has a different capacity to take on various fears. My daughter has already swam in a tank full of sharks & that is one thing that would put my fear levels on high alert. But, some people may be afraid to get out of their comfort zone to take a community education class, go back to school, sign-up for golf lessons and for many that would be no big deal. While others would be terrified to stand up and give a talk, others light up at the opportunity. To each their own is a level of varying fears. So, we need to look at our own fears individually and find ways to face them. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do something that scares you every day.” Maybe you find one thing today that would scare you and take a step. If you can’t take a full step, put your toes as far to the edge and prepare to step tomorrow. smile. smile.

“Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.”

Fear is resistance. period. Yoda is so wise. all of the things that fear breeds—creates a basis for nothing good and stagnates the soul.

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
–Dale Carnegie

I have especially seen this with my daughter on her college campus. She can sit in her dorm and not leave, breeding her doubts and fears, but as soon as she gets busy for a class or work, her energy swings and she is in action, the fear subsides.

“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.”
–Henry Ford

I love the great word, SURPRISE. The English noun surprise comes from late Middle English, from Anglo-French and Middle French surprise(e), a noun use of the past participle of surprendre “to seize, grasp,” literally, “to overtake,” from the French prefix sur- “excessive, over

Maybe if we can look at overtaking, seizing or stopping fear with Surprise—it can shift us to something greater. May we think and shift our way of thinking from Fear to WoW! We need to push our perspectives from the small person we become with the fears that reside and take on the Wow, I can do this and live from the confident person who seeks adventure in the surprises found.

Now–think of it like this. Think of all the things you have been afraid of—could be physical things like scuba diving, parasailing, zip lining, rock climbing, etc. It could be speaking in front of people, going to a party and having to socialize with a room full of people. It could be fear of failing in your marriage, your job, your life. NOW, step back and evaluate different situations where all of these things have happened to you in your life—in the end how did you FEEL? honestly, I bet more than not you were SURPRISED by the outcome!! You probably ended up loving your parasailing trip, you met some new friends at the socializing event, the job you did fail at led to something better suited for you. More than not, the things that fill us with the emotional fears are many of the things that end up leading to great life surprises.

“Run towards your fears. Embrace them. On the other side of your greatest fears lives your greatest life.” -Robin Sharma

Seek to make fear a friend. Embrace the surprises that come in the ups and downs of life tides. Ride the waves of emotions and find those things that make life worth living. Challenge and Change bring fear, but those are two of life’s greatest teachers.

“Write 10 times: ‘FEAR’ is my friend. Fear is the energy to do my best in a new situation. You don’t have to believe it; just write it.” -Peter McWilliams

Sometimes you fake it to make it. You just begin–you write it down and seek to believe you will find the best in any situation.

“Run towards your fears. Embrace them. On the other side of your greatest fears lives your greatest life.” -Robin Sharma

Run TOWARDS fear to fearlessly find your courage, your confidence, your best self. Run AWAY in fear to find your smallness, your insecurities, the smallest places of your self. Who do you want to be? Fearless or Small? It is a choice.

Peace, Love and Light to you in all you do. xoxo. -H