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What are you afraid of?

As a child everything terrified me.

I remember so many sleepless nights. I was afraid of the dark, getting hurt, sudden death of my parents, closets, monsters under the bed, bad people coming in the windows, being poisoned, being rejected, getting in trouble, disappointing my parents, . . . the list goes on and on.

In fact I don’t ever remember not being afraid.

I still struggle with lots of fears. I have a pretty long list of common things like heights, spiders, dark alleys, and guns. I also have fears about money, failure, rejection, isolation and monkeys.

Yes, I said monkeys. I’ve never been attacked or harmed by an actual monkey, unless I count the time I was at the zoo where one screamed at me from his cage as he threw his poop. I'm not sure when this phobia began, but I just know those creatures scare the living crap out of me!

Is this fear a bit irrational? Probably. But the symbolism is way too obvious.

For the majority of my life I’ve allowed too many irrational fears control my actions and reactions.

So I’m curious. What if I replace my monkey fears with monkey curiosity? Picture a little monkey face tilting to one side like it’s questioning an idea, instead of bearing his teeth as he prepares to pounce.

What is it about monkeys* that I’m afraid of? That’s easy. They’re unpredictable little creatures who look friendly, but could tear your face off. Don’t you watch the news?

What would I do if I wasn’t afraid of monkeys*? I wouldn’t cringe every time I see a picture, video or stuffed animal. I would feel compassion for their little monkey problems.

What do monkeys* really represent in my world? I suppose they represent the things that I can’t control or don't understand.

What is the lesson this fear of monkeys* might be teaching me?I’m allowing a negative feeling with no actual evidence to control me. They only have the power I’ve given them.

What’s it going to feel like when I’ve embraced my fear of monkeys* with acceptance?Freedom - I can begin to appreciate the cute symbolism of the happy faces of these non threatening creatures. I can accept them without negative judgement.

I’m ready to try an experiment. I’m going to replace the word “monkeys*” with all the different fears I’m facing right now. I'm going to look for some clarity and explore new ways to move through and past these self imposed obstacles.

original watercolor by Karen Richards
"Don't be afraid"

I'm going to replace fear with curiosity.

I’m ready to accept monkeys into my life and live in harmony with them. They aren’t put on this earth to hurt or intimidate me. They’re just little creatures staring back at me with curiosity.

I might even look for one I could pat on the head.

Are there "monkeys" in your world who are controlling you?

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