Oriah Mountain Dreamer's
FOREWORD TO EMBRACING FEAR
(Hardcover Edition, HarperSanFrancisco)
One of the great things about having a book published is that people start to send you stuff --- books, tapes, CD’s, poems, stories, photographs of their dogs and children, home-made candles, and short-bread cookies. Thom Rutledge sent me some of his writing. It was, as much of the writing people choose to share with me, good. But what made it stand out was that in addition to being the kind of writing I like --- wisdom born of experience from an author who does not seek to hide his or her human foibles --- it was useful. I found myself using Thom’s insights and meditations in my own quest for self-knowledge and in my work with others. A story he shared about returning to his college campus lead me to reflect on how I had or had not changed in the last thirty years, to question how much freedom from fear I had really achieved. A meditation Thom had written using an image of moving beyond an imaginary wall lead participants in a workshop I was facilitating into a new relationship with their own fears of moving forward.
Thom has included both of these pieces and many other stories and suggestions that can help us find our own way out of the fear that often unconsciously dictates our choices. His writing is not only insightful and honest, it is useful for all of us longing, learning and sometimes struggling to lead ordinary human lives, consciously.
The Native American elders with whom I have studied say that the only real freedom is the freedom from fear. If this were true, it would seem that almost all human beings live in bondage. In a time when technology advances mean that actions dictated by fear could result in the unprecedented mass destruction of human beings and many other species if not the biosphere of the whole planet itself, finding a way to be in relationship with our fear instead of identifying with and acting out of it, seems particularly critical.
But you don’t have to be motivated by desires for world peace and the preservation of life on this planet to want to live a life that is not shaped and colored by the incessant inner voice of fear. Maybe you --- like myself --- just want a break from the voice in your head that is forever giving dire warnings, predicting possible disaster and making it nearly impossible to simply be in the present moment. Maybe you --- like all of us --- just want to be happy. If so, Embracing Fear offers you valuable insights and practical suggestions for living in relationship to the fear that is part of a normal human psyche.
Thom Rutledge does not pretend to have all the answers nor does he tell us that he is leading a perfect, fear-free life. That makes him one of us: a fellow human being looking to live life fully awake. Thom does not pretend that he has not and will not repeatedly fall back to sleep, at least for moments. That makes him capable of teaching what we all need to learn as we struggle with our fear: self-compassion. Embracing Fear does not promise to fix all that is broken or hard in your life. It offers no deals, no guarantees that if you learn not to let your choices be dictated by fear everything will work out the way you want it to. If you find the courage to act despite your fear there is no guarantee that the raise you ask for will be granted, the woman you invite to have dinner will say yes, the creative work you long to do will be greeted with wide acceptance, critical accolades and monetary reward. But as Thom says in one of my favorite parts of Embracing Fear, you can learn to say to the voice of fear that threatens to paralyze, “I’ll risk it” and live your life fully.
-Oriah Mountain Dreamer
Bestselling author of The Invitation
from the Foreword of Embracing Fear
(HarperSanFrancisco) ISBN 0-06251-774-0
Oriah Mountain Dreamer is the author of the several inspirational bestselling books, including The Invitation, The Dance, and What We Ache For. Oriah has shared her insights and stories with audiences throughout the world at conferences and retreats and through radio and TV appearances (CBC, TVO, Oprah, NPR, PBS, Wisdom Network.) Blending ruthless honesty, humour, insight and compassion for our human struggle, Oriah draws upon her years as a facilitator of spiritual retreats, as a social worker assisting women and families in crisis and as a student of philosophy in seeking to understand how we can be all that we truly are. Her name was given to her by the elders with whom she apprenticed and means "one who likes to push the edge."
To learn more or to purchase books by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, visit http://www.amazon.com/Oriah-Mountain-Dreamer/e/B001IGQFFY/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1