3:30 AM now.
Insomnia has hit me. I have yet to fall asleep. Do I fret? Do I worry? Do I deeply fear not getting ample sleep, becoming ill and being in a horrible mood tomorrow? No, I do not.
I simply made myself a bowl of warm oatmeal and wrote this guest post.
Decades ago, insomnia triggered all types of fears in me. I feared getting sick due to lack of sleep. I feared going to a job I hated the following day on no sleep. I feared being in a horrible mood the following day.
I have since faced, felt and released each one of those fears and a host of much deeper, more powerful, more seemingly crippling fears, but only because I hit rock bottom.
Down and Out in Laos
I could spot a few moments as being my rock bottom but one stands out.
My wife and I experienced rough patches with our businesses. We were in Laos with $5 about a decade ago. Literally; we had USD $5 in my wallet. I recall observing the cleaning women in our hostel knowing how each had more money than my wife and I; this being one of the most poverty-ridden countries in the world.
I had called my dad to ask about my mom's test results. She had been acting strangely for the prior few months. My brother-in-law – who had already been suffering from the early stages of brain cancer – answered the phone. I asked about my mom. His brain already being riddled with cancer, he casually, matter-of-fact-style, noted my mom's diagnosis as if she had a runny nose. She had a terminal illness, would lose her memory and virtually everything else.
He said nothing more. Silence ensued for a few seconds. I thanked him, then hung up.
My rock bottom moment forced me to face and feel two of my deepest, most pulsating, most frightening fears at once:
- the fear of knowing a parent will suffer from a terminal illness for a long time
- the fear of not knowing how you will eat or find shelter in a foreign land with $5 in your pocket
We had been living off of my wife's credit cards but at that point, she had hit her credit and cash advance limit.
I sat in bed and cried.
Eventually, the financial situation worked itself out. My mom became progressively worse.
I proceeded to face another deep, pulsating fear:
- fear of rejection from family
Having $5 at the time – then a tiny bit more – we could not afford a flight home. But beyond that, I knew that I had to face my fear-demons abroad to take my journey of growth, fulfillment and ultimate liberation.
Some family did not approve. I barely spoke to them for many years after I did not fly back home on hearing my mom's diagnosis.
The ultimate rock bottom of facing two powerful, nightmarish fears at once, then the subsequent fear I suffered through for quite a long time with some family, made me feel these fears, clear these fears and become largely calm, serene, and more and more fearless over the years, to where I rarely stir, these days.
The dominant news story since March has not stirred me for a minute. I feel compassion for humanity but am not bothered by the illusion. Nor do presidential races, stock markets, or pretty much anything upset me. Hitting rock bottom AND feeling rock bottom fears, however terrible the experience, made life largely easy for me because once you face, feel and release the big fears, all the little fears and manipulative machination fears instantly vanish.
What Is the Downside of Not Hitting Rock Bottom?
If you duck fear, engineer your life to live completely inside of your comfort zone and have yet to come close to hitting rock bottom, all the deep fears festering in your being enslave you to a life of unhappiness, melancholy and limitation.
Deeply scared, depressed people living in their comfort zone hand over 40 years of their lives to working jobs they dislike – minus weekends and a little vacation time – for their overpowering fear of poverty and sickness. Does wasting 40 years of your life to avoid facing the fears of getting sick and poverty sound like a fun, freeing life?
I have been broke. I have almost died. Once you face these fears dead on and stare the fears straight in the face, life gets easier and easier because your changed habits, health, wellness and abundance free you from the miserable chains created by your fear shackles.
Hitting rock bottom feels agonizing but feeling and releasing these nightmarish fears liberates you to be happy, healthy, prospering and at peace.