How to Transform Fear

by in Counseling, Fear, Holistic Tips, Kitchen Sink, Life Coaching, Mary O'malley, Zen Thinking November 5, 2008

By Mary O’malley

Author of The Gift of Our Compulsions: A Revolutionary Approach to Self-Acceptance and Healing and Belonging to Life: The Journey of Awakening

In his first inaugural speech in 1933, Franklin Roosevelt said “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself…”

This was a profound thing to say given the economic climate of that time and was intended to shake people out of their focus on their material losses.

But what if that is not actually true? What if we don’t need to fear fear. In fact, what would our lives look like if the voice of fear inside of us couldn’t catch us in its web?

This is certainly a time on our planet in which fear is up big time – financial fears, terrorist fears, fear for the future. But what would happen if, rather than being seduced by fear, we could frame this time differently?

Rather than seeing it as a time of breakdown, we could see it as a time of break-through.

Yes, it certainly looks as though things are breaking down, but that is true of all breakthroughs. Think of a woman giving birth. It is challenging and it is messy and it is necessary for her body to contract in order for the baby to be born. What would it feel like to see what is happening on this planet as a time of birth, of going through the contraction of the birth passage so that we can emerge into a more aware level of consciousness?

The key to this birth is a different relationship with fear itself.

Let us go back to the butterfly story we explored last year because it holds the keys to the evolutionary shift we are currently undergoing. For our purposes, the caterpillar represents the old level of consciousness this planet has been living in which is based in fear and reaction.

The caterpillar is, for its size, one of the most destructive beings on our planet, and if you recognize that human beings in the last century killed over 100 million of their fellow human beings in the name of war, it is reasonable to say that we have been in our caterpillar phase.

As the caterpillar’s time comes to an end, it creates a cocoon, and in its dark embrace, the caterpillar turns into goo. Out of that goo comes a wave of what they call imaginal cells – the first appearance of the butterfly. The amazing thing is that the goo kills this first wave of cells! In other words, the old tries to kill the new. Such chaos! And if we looked at all the great evolutionary shifts on this planet, we would see that there is always chaos as the old phase is dying out and the new is being born.

This chaos of the goo killing the new cells of the butterfly causes these imaginal cells to come together into communities that begin to differentiate into the butterfly. This is the place where breakdown (the caterpillar turning into goo) becomes the breakthrough into the new expression of life called a butterfly. The butterfly is life transforming itself as it has done billions upon billions of times as evolution has progressed on this planet. The butterfly is a completely different kind of being than the caterpillar. Rather than being destructive, this new being gives to the world, both beauty and pollination.

I believe that the butterfly of human consciousness is being born – a much wiser, more loving consciousness – and fear is the birth contraction. We are in the “goo phase” where our fear-based perspective on the world is now coming to an end, and more of us are beginning to see the possibility of living from a level of consciousness that is as transformative as the shift from caterpillar to butterfly. This level of consciousness doesn’t divide us like fear does.

Instead it unites.

And at its core it deeply trusts life, so rather than living through fear and all of its reactions (that cause so much devastation on this planet), it lives from wisdom and heart. This allows us to live from the level of consciousness that recognizes we are all in this together and each person is a necessary and integral part of the human family that we are.

You are the place where this evolutionary shift is happening – right there inside of your own mind and heart. Life is asking you to relate to fear rather than believing what it is saying. It is asking you to move from “I am afraid!” to “That is the voice of fear inside of me.”

What would it be like in your life if every time you noticed fear showing up in your mind, you took a breath and came back fully to life right here, right now and said, “I choose to trust life.”

Is this a lot to ask our fear based consciousness? Yes! But fearing life comes from a misunderstanding of life. And trusting life comes from the truth. Life is in charge of life and it is much smarter than our little egos. It has created stars and planets and galaxies and waterfalls and ladybugs and you and me from light, of all things!

To trust life is to step off the cliff of fear and, rather than falling to our death, discover that it is our nature to fly!


The Gift of Our Compulsions: A Revolutionary Approach to Self-Acceptance and Healing and Belonging to Life: The Journey of Awakening are both available through Amazon, and are highly recommended at the kitchen table.

Mary O’Malley, author of “Belonging to Life” and “The Gift of Our Compulsions”, is offering a retreat February 21st – 27th on the beautiful Hawaiian Island of Molokai.

For our readers she is offering a $200 discount on this nourishing retreat that restores your joy, your trust in yourself, and your connection with life. Visit for more information on Mary, and visit the following link for more information on the Hawaiian retreat Waking Up in Paradise Residential Retreat in Hawaii.

Mary’s books are both endorsed by Eckhart Tolle who offered the phenomenally successful web class with Oprah on his book “A New Earth”. You can sign up for her monthly newsletters by going to the home page of her web site. Each month you will receive a letter containing insight and information on how to stay in touch with your peace and joy no matter what is happening in your life.

  1. Life is incharge of Life.
    I’m scared.. What if the old ones kill the new ones. 🙂

  2. I view fear as an unproductive emotion. It holds us back from being the best possible version of our real self. Letting go of fears puts us in charge of our own destiny! Which leads me to the point of isn’t it better to be proactive than reactive?


    Miss MatchMaker’s last blog post..Getting what you want…

  3. I do believe fear is a factor to be charged right on through, like a blizzard, provided we have a torch in hand.

    Jannie’s last blog post..Sometimes in dreams

  4. nice article for the times.

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