Facing Fears

Dark forest

Dark forest

I faced another fear today.  You see, I used to have a major fear of getting up in front of people.  When I was growing up I was forced to sing solo many times in church.  I hated that.  I have the kind of singing voice that goes well with a duet or choir, but solo’s are not my thing.

I was also in drama growing up which didn’t go that well either.  I had some mishaps on stage and most of the time I couldn’t make myself speak loud enough to be heard.  Yet, after I had my kids something changed.  Suddenly I was “mom” and mom’s can’t cower in corners from monsters under the bed, or spiders on the wall, they have to face fears and protect their children.

When my kids were still little I did a Christmas play, I only had a small speaking part, and just as I was about to get that familiar stage fright, I remembered that I had to speak to classrooms of kids regularly, referee, and protect my kids from bullies so why should I be afraid of saying a few words in front of people?

Still, today was a big step for me.  I have felt like I should tell my story to others.  After all when you’ve been through so much in life, you should share your experiences, maybe it will help someone else.  I have gained some confidence in sharing things on blogs and social media, but that’s not the same as truly putting yourself in front of other people.

Today I shared part of my life’s journey in church.  I feel like I did ramble a bit, but over all it went pretty well.  When I stepped up I felt the old familiar fear, and all week I almost talked myself out of it, but there was a part of me that refused. I need to face my fears, they are self-made obstacles that have held me back for far too long.

A funny happens when you face fears, they dissipate just like that, they are gone.  I was nervous going up to the podium, then suddenly I wasn’t afraid anymore.  One fear down, many more to go.  One big step forward to what might be a very interesting future.

Take time this year to look at the things that have held you back in your life.  Are they real fears or are they self-made obstacles?  Take a chance and find out, false fears can’t hold their ground when you stand up to them.  Realize that the only limits you have are the one’s you’re placing on yourself.  Choose to make this year count!

Cherry Coley (c)


Feeling Fear and Going Forward

Funny thing, fear, it can freeze you where you are at times, but there will always be fear and challenges in life.  Fear can be felt in so many different ways and sometimes it is so disguised that we don’t really realize that is what it is until we take the time to really look at it.

Lately I have found myself feeling somewhat disconnected, and at yet another crossroads in my life.  It seems to happen to me a lot recently.  Yet another little known fact about me is that I have always loved dream interpretation.  It’s something I have spent a lifetime studying and learning. 

So when I began to have dreams of walking through forests I started paying attention as that usually indicates a search for meaning and a transition for me.  Then when I started dreaming of looking out over a canyon at sunset I stopped and contemplated where I am.  A canyon indicates deeper relationships while sunset means an ending of a cycle in life.

It all fits with many of the other things that I have been struggling with along the way.  I have decided my next course of action and am now finally able to stand up at the cross roads and get ready to walk the path I have chosen.   It’s interesting how taking just a little time out to meditate and pray can calm the spirit and guide.

Fear and uncertainty stopped me, but it has no place in my life other than to briefly make me pause to check my intentions, and direction.  Other than that, I will push through and realize that with every experience and trial in this life there is given, at the appropriate time, grace, courage and strength to see us through. 

Knowing that there is nothing to fear in what tomorrow brings, because tomorrow, the sun will shine again.  The breeze will blow and greet the leaves, the birds will lift their voices to the heavens, and life will go on.  

Cherry Coley ©

A Personal Story – Law of Attraction – Part 1

When people talk about the Law of Attraction they usually try to promote the positive side; the “what you focus on you will bring into your world,” part. 

There are some that want you to believe that if you just keep that positive attitude and focus on that, then everything will just automatically fall into place, the roses will bloom and all will be well.  Then those that listen and work hard at being positive get disappointed when things don’t immediately turn around and lose hope.

I can tell you this, Law of Attraction DOES work.  It works whether you believe it or not, and it works whether you are thinking positive or not.  What you focus and concentrate on you will bring more of into your life.  I can give you many examples, but feel the need to share an unfortunate one at this time.

About 3 years ago my mom suggested I read a book that was about a woman who struggled to live with, protect her children from, fight for, then run away from an abusive husband.  At that time I was still in the middle stages of my divorce from an abusive relationship myself and the book hit home. 

I was already exhausted from the fight and weary from trying to be strong alone.  I went to bed every night for weeks wondering, questioning, “if my kids were in danger would I be strong like that woman now?”  I felt tired, weak and honestly didn’t know.  The thought bothered me and wouldn’t leave me alone; I dwelled on it, focused on it.  My questions were answered in the course of a week about 3 months later. 

We were living in apartments that were not terrible, but not great.  They were the first apartments we had lived in on the bottom floor.  I don’t like living in bottom floor apartments. 

Within about 5 weeks of moving in we had a man jump onto our balcony area and try the side door with the girls and I sitting in the living room.  I had called the office, made a report and we didn’t have any more trouble, other than being stared at like dessert by the construction workers that lived across the hall every day.

That summer my kids were going to summer school.  I hated that I couldn’t pick them up, but found a parent of another child also going to school who was kind enough to drop off my kids every day.

It was a day in early June when my oldest daughter walked up to the door of our apartment and found it kicked in and off the hinges.  She immediately ran back to the car with Mr. Duke and told him.  He got the baseball bat out of his car and went to see what was going on while Casey called me.  I left work without saying much of anything.

I was very thankful that Mr. Duke stayed with my kids, kept them calm and made sure they were safe until I got there.  On the way I was on the phone with police and apartment personnel telling them my kids needed protection and they better do their job.  There were a lot of people in our apartment by the time I got there.

They repaired the door, replaced the locks, took statements and checked for fingerprints.  The intruder had gone through all our closets and clothes, but the only thing they took was my laptop.  It didn’t make any sense and we all felt violated. 

We huddled close to each other for nights, praying for protection, double checking windows and doors, and checking on each other.  I realized then that I would fight to the death for my kids if I had too, without asking questions or hesitation.

Tragedy and stressful situations can bring a family close or tear them apart depending on how things are handled.  I had not been sure how I would handle such things with it just being the girls and I, and I had received my answer.  Yet, this was not the end of the lesson, there was an even greater test in store just 3 days later.

—to be continued—

Cherry Coley ©

Related articles:  http://thinkcoffeemedia.com/2012/04/19/the-problem-with-the-secret/

Comfort Zones and Anxiety Attacks

I have had so many major life changes these last few years if I were to list them I would need an Excel spreadsheet.  In fact, I did list them out for a counselor about two years ago and she just read it then looked at me and asked if I thought I needed medication.  Ha!  No.

 Change has been such a part of my life for so many years; I have truly come to think of myself like a surfer on life’s ocean.  It’s a visual I have come to hold on too when things get rough or I get in over my head.  Like a surfer, I have learned to float, to ride the waves, watch for the storms, get knocked off my board and go under swallowing water, climb back up, and now and then I get to ride the tide in and walk on the beach. 

 This year I decided to take more chances on ME.  For too many years I have been a caregiver, a people pleaser, a taxi, giving to the point of exhaustion, then giving more without taking enough time to develop my interests, follow my dreams, or having enough courage to try just for me.

 Taking more chances on me sounds great, but it’s hard work.  Even while unpacking and sorting through remnants of my parents’ lives, I have been pushing my limits in different ways, continually doing things that are outside of my comfort zone.  Oddly enough, this has sometimes caused a chain reaction of weird fears and anxiety over strange things. 

 I will be having a good day with everything going along fine and some odd senseless fear will crop up and I wonder “what the heck?” and “where’d that come from?”  The other day a friend of mine asked me to get on Skype.  I hadn’t been on Skype before and out of the blue this stupid fear of the unknown hit me, so I pushed it aside and took the plunge trying out something new.  I am still here. 

I have had a lot of creeping fear and anxiety following me around like shadows lurking, but I have been teaching myself not to give in, not to dwell on it, just see the fears for what they are – more obstacles trying to keep me from moving forward.  I put them in their place and find ways to work past them. 

 The hardest part of facing fear is the actual facing part.  Once you stare fear in the face and denounce it, it tends to shy away or disappear.  I pick up my copy of “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway,” by Susan Jeffers Phd. and remind myself now and then that life is about making choices and taking chances and our greatest underlying fear is that we won’t be able to handle things.  I love her perspective on how to balance the different areas in life and how to face fears.

Then there are my journals.  I don’t know what I would do without the journals, or how I made it without them before.  My journals are a place where I brain dump everything that is bothering me, jot down potential solutions, work out ideas, and keep track of my progress in different areas.  Journals are a valuable resource.

Comfort zones are nice, but I am in the process of changing, adapting and moving forward in a new direction.  I will take the fear and do my best to identify it, then channel it and use it to learn from and grow.  Life is a journey and I’m thankful I am still here to experience it.

Cherry Coley (c)


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Self Reflection with a Taste for Chocolate


photo by Casey Keal

When I was a child, I was allergic to dairy and chocolate.  Or at least that’s what the doctor said.  I couldn’t drink milk, but half and half didn’t bother me in small amounts.  I wasn’t allowed to have chocolate as it was believed that this contributed to me having asthma attacks.  So until I was a teenager, chocolate is not something I really got to eat.  My candies consisted of rock candy, peppermints, taffy now and then, and at Christmas my mom would make divinity.  I still love divinity.

  At the age of three years old and just after I had endured the chicken pox, I was signed up for allergy shots.  I still remember this vividly.  I can describe the doctor’s office, the way it was set up, the murals on the walls and the fact that during the “scratch test” they had my mom go sit in the waiting room while they tortured me.  Ha.  I remember too jumping down off the bed, running up the hallway, ducking under trays, hopping over the scales, dodging the nurse, only to get to the door and not be able to reach the handle and pull it down to unlatch it.  I screamed and banged on the door as loud as I could, but they must’ve had some major sound proofing in there because my mom did not rescue me.  I was picked up and taken back to my room where I was put under house arrest and forced to endure the rest of the tests, and then take a breathing treatment for good measure. 

  It was determined I needed at least two allergy shots per week, plus breathing treatments and my mom (brave soul) agreed that she would be the one administering them at home.  This was not an easy task as for at least two years I fought like the devil was trying to kill me each and every time my parents tried to give me a shot.  Twice a week my brother would chase me and get me cornered, my dad would grab me and hold me down and mom would stab me in the arm with the needle.  I look back on this now and realize how incredibly hard that must’ve been for them. 

  Somewhere along the way I decided that I could handle anything if I could see it coming.  I sat down and told my dad this and he listened carefully to a five-year old reason out why this would work.  He respected me and much to the surprise of everyone else in the house, just called me when it was time to give the shot.  I came and sat down on his lap, because I was too short for mom to give it comfortably with me just on the chair.  Mom looked at him and then at me, there were questions in her eyes, but she didn’t voice them.  She rubbed my arm with the alcohol swab then said, “You might want to look away.”

 I said, “No, Mommy, I can handle it if I can see it coming.”

 I could tell she was nervous and my dad was sitting quietly, he whispered in my ear, “You can do it, Cherry, just don’t fight it because if you do, you could get hurt.”

 I watched her give me the shot and it stung, but it didn’t hurt.  I didn’t cry, I didn’t flinch, it was over and done with and it wasn’t bad at all.  I hugged my mom, kissed my dad and went off to play.

 How many times in life have I learned this same lesson?  That running, fighting and struggling against something doesn’t solve anything, in fact it just makes things harder for everyone involved, can cause me to get hurt along the way, not to mention the whole process is not as beneficial because I’m so stressed and tensed up that nothing is learned or absorbed the way it should be. 

 I was five years old then, but I have held true to the thought that I can handle anything if I can see it coming.  Now life doesn’t always play fair, after all there might be some hints along the way, but you can’t see everything coming ahead of time.  So, then it also becomes an exercise in faith and trust in yourself that you can and will handle everything that is tossed your way.  You get to decide how and if you will live a life of reacting to things, or if you will learn to go with the flow, adjust and keep on moving. 

 Many times I’ve let fear of something hold me back.  In the end, in every single instance, it has become clear that fear is a warning, but you don’t have to let it control your life or your dreams.  In fact, as in the case of taking the shots, fear, once faced, dissipates and simply falls away of its own accord. 

 So then flash-forward to the current time and the question I have now for myself, and for you, is this:

IF you are serious about your dreams and you REALLY want the things you say you want, THEN are you doing everything possible to make them happen?  If not, why not?  What is holding you back?  Is it an underlying fear of the unknown?  That’s a perfectly human response, yet it is also one that will decide the outcome of your life.  So, then join me in asking yourself, “What is my life worth to me?”

 Then take a moment and think about where you’ve been, and all the things you’ve been through already.  You handled each and everything that was tossed your way on this journey.  Sometimes you handled things better than others, but life is learning process every step of the way.  What’s important is to keep moving forward.  Just remember, “You can do it, just don’t fight it or you could get hurt.”

 Step back and take a look at the choices that are available to you right at this moment.  There are always choices and those choices lead to more choices.  There are no bad choices, only different one’s that lead in different directions and as long as you keep this in mind, then should you wind up making a choice that you don’t like, you can always change the direction by making a better one. 

 By the way, after I stopped fighting the shots, I began to respond much better to the treatments.  Within about six months I went from two shots a week to one, and with another year to twice a month, then once a month, then wound up not needing the shots anymore.  The last major asthma attack I had was at the age of 14.  Along the way I also learned to listen intently to my body and realize when I am getting too tired, when my lungs feel stressed and when I need to back off before I start getting sick.  I’ve learned to eat healthier, exercise more, keep weight down and take time to relax and rejuvenate.  I am very thankful to still be here and still have more choices and new opportunities each and every day. 

 Cherry Coley ©