Fearless Living


“Hope and fear come from feeling that we lack something; they come from a sense of poverty. We can’t simply relax with ourselves. We hold on to hope, and hope robs us of the present moment. We feel that someone else knows what is going on, but that there is something missing in us, and therefore something is lacking in our world.”

~Pema Chödrön




Reading this quote, I was bowled over by how much truth it contained.  And yet I wasn’t sure I could wrap my brain completely around it…or if I even agreed wholeheartedly with the idea.  So this was a tricky subject for me, but one I knew I needed to explore.



DSCN3187How could hope be from lack, and how could it rob me?  After all I count on hope to lift me up.  And then it hit me…..I am holding on to hope sometimes for dear life.  Waiting for it to show up.  Never quite satisfied with life as it is, or how I am in my own skin.



And once I started to warm to this idea, however strange it seemed, I received another Joyful Wisdom Letter from Sandra Pawula, at Always Well Within.  Her theme was also about this notion of hope and fear; specifically how both can be unhelpful to us.



As I read through her words, I was struck by this notion:

hope for gain and fear of loss can turn into an endless search for the pot of gold”


And as I read these words, I thought there was such an immense truth in these words that churned deep in my belly.



DSCN3190The fear of loss is easy to understand.  It happens to each of us as loved ones leave us, and we worry or even fear their loss.  And it can transcend to losing jobs, or other things that we think are so important in our lives.  And this fear paralyzed me many times as a child….so much so that I could not leave my mother’s side.



While I thought about the fear of loss, it began to dawn on me that I had an equally tight grip on hope.  It was what I had pinned my dreams to; that elusive hope.  Yes, I hoped for a dream job with good pay….I hoped to find a relationship that would be ‘the one’, my true love.  I could go on and on here with my hopes.  But in the back of my mind, there was that other shoe waiting to drop with hope.  The fear that once I got what I wanted, it would all be taken away.



DSCN3173I thought that I had let go of these notions of hope and fear years ago, but realized that many have stuck with me, especially those around hope.  There were still many hopes I was attached to….I could hear them in my everyday language.  Even small ones like, ‘I hope the weather warms up soon so I can get started in my garden’.



So what to do?  Well it all became abundantly clear I had to do something, when not too long ago I was deeply down.  I woke on a Monday morning to a gray sky that was becoming white with snow.  Snow in April-ugh!  Snow that was not supposed to still be coming down.  And while I started becoming depressed thinking about the snow, and all my flowers being buried, a plumbing problem reared its ugly head to heap upon the gloom.



DSCN3178I just wanted to dig a hole and bury myself.  My hopes for spring were dashed with the forecast for more cold and snow, and what did I have to look forward to?  A big plumber’s bill!  As I realized I was in this downward spiral, I allowed these feelings to wash over me…to feel them as they came up.  But I didn’t perseverate on them.  Instead once they presented themselves, and I recognized them, I let them go.  I focused on more important issues (living with no water for the day), and after a while I felt a load being lifted off me.



Eventually the day brightened…the snow still remained for several days, but I was no longer attached to spring coming NOW.  I knew it would get here.  And with this I also began to remember other times I let go of my attachment to hope.  Meeting the right person…that happened when I let go and moved on no longer worried I might never marry.  Even that dream next job came to me when I let go of pursuing it.



DSCN3183So is it wrong to hope?  I found that there is a distinction between what I call hope and dreams.  Hoping may not ever get me to my dreams.  Hoping to get there doesn’t move me there.  But moving on, letting go have helped me in pursuing a dream that is within reach….. as long as I don’t hold on to it too tight!



This is a new notion I am exploring….what has been your experience with hope and fear?  What new lessons are you learning?







Special Note:  The pictures here are of my dwarf willow trees blooming, showing me spring is here no matter the weather.




I leave you with a few additional words fearless living.  I welcome you to download this photo and share it.

fearless living

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

20 Replies to “Fearless Living”

  1. How did you know I needed to hear this today!!! Hope has to be about having eyes wide open, reality, light and shade……but sometimes it really damn well hurts!!! Beautiful images Donna!

  2. Hope for gain and fear of loss … I think it’s only human to experience these feelings … it’s hard to let go of attachments … but life somehow seems to work out just the way it’s meant to be, with a little perseverance to achieve our dreams and keeping a positive attitude.

  3. My deraest Donna,
    what an enlightening post, inviting to reflexions … and so inspiring too !
    Thank you for sharing your feelings with us, actually mine aren’t so very different … nowadays it’s so easy to feel fear, probably more than to feel hope, alas !

    I’m sending blessings and dear hugs to you


  4. Be careful what you wish for. It may come true.

    We once wanted a large garden – till it became too big, too much work.
    Now the hope for a happier place, is so.

    But fear and anxiety feel like my second name on the in between days.
    Especially city traffic!

    1. I do remember the times I have gotten what I wanted only to find it wasn’t what I really wanted….I had that all along. Now fear….I still work on that.

  5. ‘Hope and fear come from feeling that we lack something; they come from a sense of poverty. ‘
    Sometimes. And sometimes I think they come from greed. Feeling that we lack something (material or in ourselves) is a refusal to accept that what we have is enough. That who we are is enough.
    A complicated thing – which is a how long is a piece of string question. Answer? It depends.
    I wish I had the answers but (mostly) am enjoying the journey. And learning all the while. Which is a gift.

    1. Oh absolutely true Soosie…not accepting what we have and who we are and feeling gratitude. These are all so important aren’t they. I am enjoying the journey too!

  6. Hello, great quote and post. It is so true, we can not live in fear and let it stop us from living and enjoying life. I do not understand how poverty comes into though.
    Lovely images. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

    1. The poverty comes in when fear and hope come from our feeling we lack something in our life….that we need more…we hope fro more or continue to fear the lack.

  7. A very thought-provoking post. I have often struggled with fear of failure, which they kept me from trying something that might enrich my life. Interestingly, retirement seems to have helped me to let go of some of that fear. I’m having more trouble with the idea of hope as something that keeps us from living today because we are waiting for something better tomorrow. Hope just doesn’t seem like the right word for this (although I can’t come up with a better one at the moment). For me, hope is the opposite of despair; it’s an optimism about the future that is still grounded in reality and doesn’t keep one from living in the present.

    1. I agree Jean…that is what I think of as hope but not sure what to call it….gratitude for what we have and living in the present…they are the ticket.

  8. Dear Donna,

    This Pema Chodron quote seems more right on than ever! I like the distinction you make between hopes and dreams. I think the key, as you have said so beautifully, is moving forward but not moving on too tightly. I’m glad this topic engaged you so deeply! It’s very big for me.

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