Hello, and welcome to the Field Guide to Everyday Magic Blog Hop hosted by Bella Grace Magazine!
The hop consists of a group of about 15 writers who are willing to share their ideas, stories, and photography to help launch the new field guide (and I’m beyond thrilled and truly gob-smacked to be included!)
Inspired by its sister publication, Field Guide to Everyday Magic is filled entirely with the worksheet-style prompts, captivating photographs, and inspirational quotes that Bella Grace Magazine has come to be known for
~Bella Grace Magazine~
I hope my contribution today inspires you in some small way, and if my words resonate with you, please make sure to leave a comment to become eligible to win a copy* of this beautiful guide. PLEASE NOTE: CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED
I Will Not be Afraid and What to Do in Case of Fear (My Story)
It was autumn, about two years ago, when I first started thinking about how easy it is to become afraid of anything and everything.
I remember the morning so clearly; I’d headed out on my usual walk along the secluded country road I call home, the unconfirmed report that a cougar had been spotted in the area running through my head.
It was clear, peaceful, and beautiful as ever.I stood quietly, listening to the rustle of leaves and peering into the shadows of our beautiful boreal forest. I scanned the tops of the trees (cougars are a cat, after all) but only saw a friendly raven. It croaked a quick “hello” and flew off.
I pushed the thought of the cougar to the back of my mind until I rounded the bend where I could no longer see our house.
I stopped. A flicker of unease ran through me.
The road ahead was deserted but that cougar was definitely prowling around (if only in my head) and I couldn’t control my fearful thoughts: cougars stalk their prey … you never see them coming … they can run at speeds of 60-80 km/hr …
I suddenly wanted to turn around and go back, so I knew I had a decision to make. Was I going to turn back to the safety of my home and become a prisoner of my fears? or was I going to continue on my walk and remain free? After a few minutes of inner struggle, a small voice whispered “I will not be afraid.”
Was it possible there could be a cougar lurking in the area? Yes of course. Was it likely? Not really. I’d heard of cougar attacks on humans and the thought is horrific. (Note: after a bit of research I found there has been only one fatal attack in Alberta since 2000 and it was in the mountains.) I do not want to trivialize that terrible statistic, but how likely was it that it would happen to me, on this day, in this place? Not likely.
I went ahead and finished my walk that day, even taking a shortcut through the trees where a beautiful path winds its way to the lake. It wasn’t that I didn’t feel a tiny bit apprehensive (I did), but my bigger fear became how my world would shrink if I gave in!
Don’t let your fears distort your thoughts to the point they paralyze you …As I stood taking in the gorgeousness, I thought about other things that have scared me throughout life: plane crashes, illness, bear attacks, people attacks …
Our biggest fears are related to things that are difficult to predict (and I might add, control)
~Philosopher and Psychiatrist Damiaan Denys~
Later I decided to purchase bear spray and bear bells and I now carry them in a small backpack whenever I walk. It’s a small bit of reassurance and gives me a sense of having control … especially over my fears.
Does this mean I am never afraid? Of course not. Not ever being afraid is not possible. Our brains are hardwired to see threats everywhere, but I take steps to minimize wild imaginings, and move ahead despite the fear.
What to do in case of fear:
- sit down with a cup of tea and write down your fears
- analyze (what are the chances?)
- prepare (carry bear spray)
- trust (all will be well)
- have faith (faith makes you feel strong)
- stay quietly strong and repeat “I will not be afraid”
- move forward
What are some of your fears, and how do you deal with them? I’d love to hear!
Simply leave a comment on this blog post by Thursday, August 31/2017 to become eligible to win one free copy of Field Guide to Everyday Magic.
*Please note: contest is open to U.S. residents. International participants are eligible to receive a free digital edition of Bella Grace. But wait! I also have a secret surprise of my own to send to a runner-up no matter where you live, and I know you’ll love it ;)
I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened
Many thanks to Bella Grace Magazine for including me in this blog hop and for generously providing me with a copy of the guide for the contest.
Good luck everyone!
This is simply a personal account. Do not attempt an activity of any kind based on this blog post. Exercise caution in all activities and do so at your own risk. Keeping With the Times does not accept responsibility for anything related to this story.
COMMENTS CLOSED! WINNER TO BE ANNOUNCED MONDAY SEPTEMBER 4th!
Dava McCain says
What a wonderful concept for a book! I would love to journal my thoughts, but often get sidetracked with life. These journal entries just get stuck in my head and usually develop into day dreams. Perhaps a book like this would help me be more mindful of making time for ME, and to get these entries on paper!
This looks like a fantastic book…one which I would love to own. Thank you much for offering this to us!
Linda Hoye says
Love this post, Barb. Confession: I’m afraid of cougars too whenever I venture into the woods. Hubby, who is an avid hiker and leader in our local club, tells me that it’s very likely they are being watched when they are out and that’s why the hikers make lots of noise. Like you, I know statistically the chances of tangling with one are slim and I think there’s a difference between fear and a healthy respect and awareness. Anyway . . . enough about cougars! Love Bella Grace’s Field Guide idea. Love Bella Grace!
This is lovely. Thank you for sharing your words and pictures.
It is so easy to lose ourselves in fear, isn’t it?
One immediate way I find to combat fear is singing. Odd, but it works. Not so much when those middle of the night fears hit. Still working on that. Praying, usually. :)
Mary Rawl says
I have put off subscribing to Bella Grace but that ends today. Was it fear of getting a magazine that offer things that were new to me and then not liking or participating and then finding I just wasted my dollars? I want to write along with my photos so this may be the step I need. That fear again! I am buying the Field Guide too! Thanks for pointing out that fear is holding me back. A light bulb clicking on just because there may have been a cougar!
Cheryl Day Schuh says
I love that you have found ways to push fear into a corner. And I love the idea of a field guide that will help us to allow the magic that is all around us to become visible.
I am closing my eyes and visualizing the book in my hand.
Beautiful inspiration and words. I will not be afraid ?
Elisabeth Mayer says
What a lovely idea from Bella Grace, and what a strong and practical post from you. It is easier than we think to let fear creep in, especially as we grow older. I think of how fearless children are, and often wish for some of that sheer faith… tempered with a dose of good old common sense, of course! Thanks for the chance to win the book.
Jen V says
Fear is always waiting around the corner, I guess the trick it to chase it ahead so we never reach it. Bears….in the woods, and yes, Cougars for us also here….I will take your tips to heart, and not let fear worry me when I’m on my own walks. Beautiful post Barb.
Sharon Barker says
This is a wonderful post Barb! Your images afford peace of mind that nature is a beautiful thing and a place of comfort for those who travel in it. There are so many uncertainties and real fears in our world right now that to reconnect with nature with all it beauty is truly comforting and a place where we should travel more often. Thank you for sharing.
A beautiful photo to accompany a beautiful story. I suffer from severe anxiety and fear. My family doesn’t understand. My husband is an alcoholic and for 19 years I have suffered his violent and hate-filled outbursts. He accuses me of everything. Before that my mother was a severe alcoholic most of my life too. Also very abusive. It unfortunately has taken its toll on me and I am anxious about everything. I have wanted to start journaling as a way to help myself. Thank you for sharing Barb.
Nancy(fangles) Brown says
Oh Dear Melissa,
I hope that you will not mind me replying to your post… I read your words and felt so helpless, wanting to give you a big hug! and pray away your fear! I wish there were words I could speak, to take away the fear, but all that comes into my heart is to let you know that someone out there, a stranger and a friend, will be holding your hand from here. Most of us walk in fear of the unknown, your fear is real. Please be safe, and surround yourself with Love!
I think journaling would be a great way to “Look” at your feelings and help you to see your next steps…
I hope you win this magazine, and that your heart heals ♥ Nancyfangles
I always enjoy the photos and thoughts that you share.
What an inspirational book frim Bella Grace and no wonder they chose you Barb! Your photos always make me think. Thanks for spreading the word of loveliness around the world!
Ann Davis says
Gorgeous photography and I love ❤️ your article on fear.
Helen Dee says
Pray to overcome fear…we are never alone!
Susan F. says
Your photos are beautiful. I confess that I love being out in nature and the woods so much that I probably let my guard down more than I should. Having respect for the importance of being alert and aware is never a bad thing.
Looks like a very inspiring publication, thanks for the chance to win one!
What an encouraging article Barb! And written so beautifully! I felt the same fear and was talking myself out of it with you! I tackle fear very similar, I analyse my options and then take a step forward in the direction of facing my fears and walk in prayer. Thanks so much for this article
Lovely pictures and post, Barb! What a beautiful publication and it would be a delight to win it. Yes, I think survival has hard-wired us to think of worst case scenarios. I also think that the more we tend to dwell on fearful thoughts, the more likely we are to attract something negative. Not always easy to get beyond, though. I also think about the possibility of bears on my walks, and rattlesnakes, and fear as much for my dog as myself. But she has a very good danger antenna and will stop short if she detects something and bark if it’s nearby. I usually never see or hear anything in those instances. We’ve only come upon a bear once on our walk in our area, (though we’ve seen them occasionally in our yard even). My husband was with me and we had another dog then. The dog and I heard something (and she no doubt smelled it), and we were at a turn in the path. My husband crept around the bend in the path to look, the dog stayed back not wanting to get near it. My husband came back, said, ‘It’s a bear.’ The bear took off in the direction from where it had come and we hightailed it back in the opposite direction. They really are more scared of us than we of them. I have to remind myself of that. As for cougars, the natives are extinct in our neck of the woods on the east coast and the wildlife people insist that if one is spotted it is an escaped captive one from the west. But rumors persist on our mountain that a native one lurks and all sorts of evidence has been credited to it, but no one has been able to prove it.
Michele Hebrank says
What an inspirational story paired with beautiful photography. Who wouldn’t want a copy of this? Thank you for the opportunity to win one.
Congrats Barb it looks a great project to be involved with! Gorgeous styling as always too.. woudl love to be in with a chance to win a copy!
Your field guide looks wonderful and inspiring! What a great gift!
Hi Barb, how are you? Thank you for always being a positive and inspiring person. ox
I’m sometimes fearful of what the future will bring so I try really hard to ‘live in the now’. It’s not always easy to control your thoughts but looking back and looking forward is pointless. Now is what matters. …and Melisssa, I feel for you – please make a change and do what’s right for You!
Barb my thoughts are stuck on your words ” how my world would shrink if I gave in”. There is more than one occasion where I have had a discussion with my inner self trying to decide if I should take that next step or try something new. A fear of a different kind, but a very big part of the journey.
Thanks for sharing this on your blog. I’m so glad that you did. You always have such a heartfelt message, and it’s perfect for this publication.
Thank you for a beautiful post. To see the wonderful people I have come to admire through a still life class also loving Bella Grace wonderful. Fears, I have faced my share, developing my photography skills and sharing with others. Fear of failure really should be, didn’t get it quit right let’s try again. I love your list and will keep it handy and when fear takes a hold I will go through the list and look at it for what it is. Thank you for your words and art.
What a great post and your photos are gorgeous as usual. We don’t have any really dangerous animals nearby, but I can understand your fear as I am often afraid of being mobbed/raped while walking alone in dark or secluded places. Haven’t overcome this fear yet, but I’m well aware it limits my ability to travel and experience the life freely, which makes me want to risk and venture more into unknown. So I hope I’m moving in the right direction.
This is fabulous Barb! Congrats! Fear is such a stealer of life’s fullness. Something I know everyone has to battle at one time or another wheaten we admit it or not.
Michelle Moore says
Fantastic and very raw post, fear can absolutely paralyze, but being able to push through it always so rewarding…that’s where the magic happens! Great post Barb:)
A beautifully written post, Barb! I love your ideas for facing fears, especially. Try to control what you can, be realistic about the actual risk, and move forward bravely. Thank you!
Kathy Pardell says
Lovely post about living life on your own terms. Way to go Barb. You really transported me to the trails with you and reminded me how often we can let our fears start racing, especially when we are alone. Can’t wait to get my hands on a guide. I’m writing my own Field post right now, and those prompts would be handy…)
Barbara D says
The world has become a fearful place, if we let it. As a child I had no fear in cutting thru a small woods on the way home from elementary school. You are so correct in your words and thoughts about how to really LIVE life. The guide sounds wonderful and hoping I win.
I was visiting family in Montana and was walking a beautiful short trail near their home with my small dog. A family friend issued a warning to us about a mountain lion that was in the area. No one else had heard anything about it but to be sure I became very apprehensive of the walk. While we still went along this path — it was never the same for me. Fear kind of got the best of me even thought I didn’t avoid it all together. The peace and beauty was gone, replaced with an urgency to get through the area quickly. It can be very hard to overcome fear once it gets hold. I am still working on it!
Beautiful words, reminders & photos! Thank you!
I always learn something from your writing Barb . Thanks so much for sharing :)
Kelly Kardos says
Yes yes yes!! It’s the control and prediction concept that has gripped me lately. But to take back some control, I went to see my Dr. yesterday abs he ordered as many tests he could to allay my fears. Just the simple act of making an appt and talking who understands my concerns took a weight off my shoulders that I’d been carting around. Thank u Barb for this beautifully written piece-with photos equally as beautiful…and a chance to win the field guide!
oh yes…fear! so happy you kept going and found a way to feel a sense of control. I always adore your photos and the one of the path…is so peaceful!
as far as me…journalling…i must start!
thanks for always inspiring, xo
fear, oh yes it can be crippling. Thank you for sharing.
I love the idea of this Bella Grace Field Guide blog hop! Thank you for the words of wisdom and lovely images. I have come to realize that I am afraid of writing. Every morning I vow that I will do some writing while I have my coffee but I always seem to pick up my phone or camera instead. Writing is hard, and requires such vulnerability! It’s easy to hide behind the camera and make things look pretty but picking up a pen and writing from my soul, for me takes courage. What does Brene Brown say? Choose courage over comfort. It’s just so very hard to do at 7 in the morning when all I want is to crawl into bed. :)
I love this, Barb! Thanks for sharing.❤️
Beth B says
I have an irrational fear of failing / getting hurt when learning a new skill or attempting a heavy lift in my sport. This is common in atheletics. What works for me is a mental routine. First I take care of my environment, making sure everything is where it should be and all the equipment is set up properly. Then I think of one coaching cue that is going to help me be successful. Next, I visualize myself successfully attempting and completing the lift or skill. Finally, I get aggressive. I repeat a mantra in my head, slap my thighs three times and then clap my hands. Sometimes I give out a yell. Then I go for it. I believe you can apply these principles to other, non sports related fears.
My biggest fear is driving in winter weather! I grew up in CA but now live in Iowa where winter driving is a must. I have come along way since my accident in 1997. I remind myself it was not my fault and I haven’t had one since which means I am more experienced now than I was 20 years ago. Thanks for hosting the blog hop. I really enjoyed the post!
Cheryl Crotty says
First of all I love all the photo’s…your path looks lovely and calm. Who would think you would be afraid. I would. I know about the dark side of the woods but I also know about the beauty, peace and healing of Mother Nature. So, like you, I go and yes, I have bear bells also.
Lately my fears are more about the world and how sad I feel that because of the violence in our world, my world has gotten smaller. A medical issue has also contributed to that. Lately though, I have reversed my thinking…our 50th wedding anniversary is next year and I so want to get back to Paris…the city of Love and then to travel on to Portugal. I need to feel the freedom to do this. So after my own thoughts and your article, I’m going to tackle that trip…but I need to stay strong.
Thank you Barbara for a wonderful reminder that fear is real, it lives in all of us, but we don’t have to let it become debilitating. Your post was wonderful and the new magazine feels right for these times…
Enjoy your day, your walks and the rest of the summer…
I can so relate to your story of the cougar. There’s a place I’ve always loved to go by myself to walk. It’s a public place, but isolated, and I’m often quite alone when I might run into one or two people. I’ve never worried about it, assuming they are there for the same communing-with-nature reasons I am. Until someone near and dear to me got upset about it, and insisted that I need to carry pepper spray to protect myself, and now I think … well, maybe I should be scared, and maybe I shouldn’t go there alone anymore. And yet, nothing really has changed, and I am just as safe … or not-safe … as I ever was. But the seed of fear has been planted. // Your photos here are beautiful, and I especially love the still life at the beginning. Thank you for sharing your experience and your wise and comforting words. I’d love to win the field guide. Fingers crossed!
I’ve learned a good acronym for fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. Of course, the reports of Cougars wasn’t false but so often our fears are more about the unknown with little basis in reality. Great post on actions we can take to combat our fears.
Lovely photos too Barb.
Great post. We face these fears everywhere although the source might be quite different depending on where we live. I believe being prepared is so important to calm our fears( I was a Girl Scout after all). It’s reassuring that we are not alone in dealing with what life throws us.
How much time and energy we spend in preparing for an event that never occurs.
Karen Olson says
I have many fears, most of which I now pay little attention to. But one that I often see lurking deep in the shadows is depression, and physical and mental illness, all of which has plagued myself or my family at one point or another. I fear they will return and pounce like a cougar and catch me unprepared.
This is an insightful posts. You always make me think!
Like others, I have many fears. Sometimes I face them. Most times I don’t. Hahaha. I am very good at running away. Perhaps it is my upbringing, I always fear failure while setting very high expectations of myself. This creates a stressful situation for myself. Oh the things we (I) do.
Fear really does hold us(me) back and your list of “what to do in case of fear” is a really good practical guide. I will certainly be giving it a try.
Such a beautifully written post and the photographs are gorgeous. I couldn’t help but smile as I have all but given up walking to the top of the mountain up at our mountain cabin because there have been tales of bear sightings. I have always loved hiking along the stream and enjoying nature and I have allowed fear to stop me. Your post has given me the inspiration I need to once again enjoy my long walks practicing caution of course.
Karen White says
What beautifully written and inspiring words. It seems to me that I am always fearful of something. If I allay one worry or fear it is immediately replaced by another. I am going to try your approach and I’m hopeful it will help me.
sally papin says
Beautiful Barb, you are always inspiring here and over on IG.
Aina Apelthun says
beautiful pictures and great words. your work inspire me
Fantastic post Barb. I loved your words and photos, as always! I do have fears, but my biggest fear is that I will become sick again. For anyone who has had cancer, that fear is always inside of us. I try to live my life without dwelling on it and as time has gone by, the constant thought becomes less and less. But it is always there, lurking.
Jo-Ann Blondin says
Barb, what a beautiful story of overcoming your fear.
My fear has been a bird of prey or fox or coyote or mink taking our little dog and not being able to protect him. Sadly we lost him recently when he sprang out of the safety of strong arms to chase a cat. He fell funny and it was his last leap. All my worries about protecting him were for not.
Now I can sit peaceful not worrying about him and watch the hawks sore above and see their beauty without fear.
It’s quiet without our buddy.
Kim Swanson says
Hello Barb, this was beautifully written and thanks for sharing. I am living in a new home, in a new state, and a different coast in the US. I’ve been thinking about fear a lot lately since I am on my own for a while. I’ve been learning new things like mowing the lawn and chopping wood, cooking and eating by myself. There is one main road I travel on and one day there was a detour between me and my home. Even though I had gps, the car always wanted to take me back to the same route. I drove through mountain roads for almost 2 hours instead of my route that would have been 15 minutes. I could feel a panic attack forcing its way to the surface so I kept talking to myself that I will be ok, just relax, you can do this, and I finally did.
I appreciate hearing from other people to know that I’m not alone or unique to these situations.
Carolyn Watson says
Really wonderful post! And your photos are gorgeous! You were so brave! I don’t know if I would have been. Good for you though … you conquered it!
Lovely post Barb! The quote says a lot; I always try to think that worrying is a waste of time since you never know what life brings. The photo is so beautiful I almost get teary-eyed! Came here via IG. / Charlotta / Globatris
Henrietta Richer says
Hi, you live in such a beautiful place. How wonderful it is to be immersed in such beauty everyday, as I am too..
My biggest fear these days, as I live near Paris, France, are terrorist attacks. We’re going to a concert soon in Paris and my fear wants me to cancel and stay home safe in the country.
But terrorists want us, by definition, to be terrified, which makes me angry. So fuck them. I’m going to the concert and trusting that the security measures will be sufficient to keep us safe.
Lovely words and photos. Thank you for sharing.