I have a strange relationship with the horn of a car when I drive. I know some people are really comfortable honking their horn and honk a lot. They honk when they are frustrated, they honk to say hello, they honk to get other driver’s attention, they honk if someone is driving badly, or about to drive into them. I don’t like to honk at people. I have this fear that I will offend, or cause road rage. I generally avoid honking at all costs.
Recently I was driving alone in a car. A number of cars were coming toward me and a car moved into my lane to pass the car in front of it. The car just darted out into my lane and was coming right towards me. I felt this panic rise up in me and true fear that the car was going to crash head on into me. But it was able to pass the car in front of it and get back into the proper lane in time. Still…. uncharacteristically…. I honked at it.
Then not only did I feel the fear of thinking I was about to have a head on crash pouring through me, I also felt the familiar feeling of guilt and fear that the car would turn around and come after me because I had honked at them! It is an irrational fear, but one I feel at times.
I took a deep breath and felt the fear and then asked myself why I had honked anyway, even though I was safe. The car coming towards me missed me easily; it wasn’t even close. My honk was a honk of judgment that the other car just wanted to go faster. My honk was a honk of irritation. My honk was a honk of fear.
If the honk could have spoken it would have screamed, “Hey! You scared me! Don’t do that again!” When I acknowledged the fear and the intention of my honk, I began to imagine what it would be like if we humans had a horn we could honk every time we felt afraid even when we are not in our cars!
Want to go on a date? HONK! Wonder if I should change jobs? HONK! Should I invest in that? HONK Let’s have a kid! HONK! I began to giggle at the thought of humans all over the Earth honking whenever they were afraid. It lightened my fear to giggle about this.
Then I began to wonder if there might not be a constant drone of a honk continuously on the planet. Would there be honking from most homes and places of business. Would the honking in our churches, temples, mosques and synagogues drown out the sacred music and messages as we fear God and life itself? I wondered if I have too little faith in the courageous heart of humanity as I pondered this.
Yet, the reality is that we are often taught much more about being afraid than we are about being courageous. It is no wonder that we often find it difficult to step forward and take risks and make new choices with our lives and conditions.
Many times, the adults in our lives, out of love and wanting to teach us to be safe, drilled into us the dangers of this life. The system of authority that exists in education, religion, laws and government often breeds fear in us. It is not that these people, or systems are wrong or unnecessary in my mind. It is just how we are taught to work with them. Fear becomes a habit. So, we walk through our lives honking our fear and don’t even realize or hear the constant drone of it.
There are ways to begin to step up and out of it though, if we are willing. Just like I asked myself why I honked even though I was safe in my car, we can ask ourselves why we feel afraid when fear arises. We can acknowledge our fear and own it.
Once our fear is acknowledged and owned, we can explore it a bit. Where did I learn this fear? Who taught me to be afraid of this? Is this a habitual fear, or a new fear?
If there is a person in my life who told me or modeled to me to be afraid in this situation, I may need to examine their life and show myself if what they fear has ever come upon them or not. Many times, humans have big fears about things that never happen, yet we persist in being afraid! I may need to forgive the person who taught me to be afraid. This may mean affirming over and over that I forgive ______ for teaching me to fear ______. We may need to affirm or say this to ourselves over an over until we feel it. Yet, a very effective way to heal is to say a positive statement that is the opposite of the fear when the fear arises in us.
Lastly, we may need to accept that we will need to move forward and take a risk or be courageous even though a part of us is afraid. This is the energy of some of the most profound moments in the life of a human. To courageously move forward toward my new job yet have some fears I might not do it perfectly is normal. To walk into a deeper commitment in a relationship courageously even though I have fears it might not last, or might end badly, is part of the vulnerability and sweetness of love.
Though I felt the fear in my car, I did not pull off to the side of the road and just stop driving. I kept going. This is what we all have the capacity to do. When we feel like honking because we are afraid, we can honk away. Yet we can also keep moving forward with awareness and courage. Our Spirit was made to keep moving despite any and all fear.