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What are you feeding – fear or joy?

I’ve been ruminating on this topic — What are you feeding? — for a while in my private time because I think it’s a pretty big deal. If we feed our fears, if we feed our anxiety, if we feed relationships with people who don’t really care about us or, even worse, make us feel “less than,” we throw a spark on the dead leaves lying around on our spiritual doorstep. Eventually it becomes a raging forest fire of self-doubt or unhappiness and, if we’re not careful, it will siphon off all the energy that should be feeding the good things in our lives. 

So as I was driving to yoga class this morning at 5:15 a.m., energized by the cold air and cheered by the twinkling lights that still decorate many front porches and trees in our town (Thank you, whoever you are!), I was writing the headline for this post. Because that’s what I do, even when I’m driving, even when I’m showering, even I’cleaning bathrooms or raking leaves. I write. It doesn’t always end up here or anywhere, for that matter, but I write almost non-stop in my head. And so I walked into yoga class knowing that I would come home and write a post titled “What are you feeding?” and I had already planned to use that graphic up there, the one that says, “Please do not feed the fears.”

I sat down on my mat in the dark and quiet yoga studio and entered into that silent sacred space that exists wherever we want to find it, if we’re willing, even at the YMCA, and I waited for class to begin. And then this is what my yoga teacher read to start our practice:

Listen. Love laughs
at fear. Can you hear it?
And fear fades in the face
of laughter. Let nothing
distract you from the fact
that fear will grow if you
feed it, and shrink when
you pay it no heed. There.
See? Fear disappears, and
leaves love laughing.

— From “One Soul” by Danna Faulds

By the time she got halfway through that poem, I was smiling on the inside. By the time she got to the end of that poem, I was smiling on the outside. How did she get inside my head this morning? Not sure, but I’m glad she did. At the end of class, I went up to my teacher and asked if I could have a copy of what she read and she said something like this (might not be exact but close enough), “I was sitting in my car this morning picking out this poem and I thought to myself, ‘I hope Mary is in class today,’ because I knew you would love this.” Talk about a soul connection, and just when I needed it most. Thank you, Spirit. You never fail me.

I came home from yoga class, went directly to my computer, and unfriended someone on Facebook who was taking energy I didn’t have to give, a “friend” I didn’t even know but who had entered my life through the magic of social media. Why feed the negative? Because we humans tend to have a weakness for that kind of thing, I think. We want to be loved, we want to be understood, we want to be successful, we want, we want, we want. And so we continue to try to make a connection with people who don’t deserve our time and energy, and we focus our hearts and minds on the fears and worries rather on the gifts and blessings. We think by focusing on those things we’ll become stronger, we’ll overcome the fears, but just the opposite happens. We end up feeding that fire of negativity, and it will burn our joy to the ground if we let it. So don’t.

Today I challenge you to let go of one fear you’ve been feeding, one negative thing that takes more than it gives, and use all that energy to feed something good in your life. Focus on one blessing, one person who deserves your attention and love, one joy, and see what happens.

Peace, blessings, joy, love, namaste.

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. I thought of this from Frank Herbert’s “Dune”:

    “I will not fear.
    Fear is the mind-killer.
    I will face my fear.
    I will let it pass through me.
    Where the fear has gone,
    there shall be nothing.
    Only I will remain.”

    Which he cribbed from St. Teresa of Avila, which is best of all:

    “Let nothing disturb you,
    Let nothing distress you;
    While all things fade away,
    God is unchanging.
    Patience overcomes everything.
    With God in your heart,
    Nothing is lacking.
    God alone suffices.”

    Or, since you’re involved in a musical:

    “Feed me, feed me, feed me
    Feed me Seymour
    Feed me all night long

    That’s right, boy!
    You can do it

    Feed me, Seymour
    Feed me all night long
    ‘Cause if you feed me Seymour
    I can grow up big and strong”

    January 31, 2014
    • Mary DeTurris Poust #


      When she was reading that poem, I was thinking of St. Teresa of Avila too. I have her words hanging right next to my work computer as a constant reminder.

      I’m kind of loving the Feed me Seymour connection. Ha. Thanks! 🙂

      January 31, 2014
  2. Sasha #

    Guess I needed to hear this today. I have a milestone event next week and my heart is so heavy thinking about it, about time passing, and about all my fears about what I didn’t do.

    It is completely unlike me to do so, but I think this time I might try letting go of this fear by asking a few trusted friends for help. That’s not focusing on it, is it?

    January 31, 2014
    • Mary DeTurris Poust #

      No, that’s exactly what you should do. Ask others to take some of the load.
      I’ll add you to my prayer list! So often people want to help us and they don’t know how. Prayer is a perfect way. And I find when I’m sort of overwhelmed, I find some sort of peace and grace by focusing my prayers on the needs of others. Somehow it works to pull back to a peaceful place.
      I’m going to go pray for you right now. 🙂

      January 31, 2014
      • Sasha #

        Oh, Mary. How kind – know that your prayers are greatly appreciated!

        January 31, 2014
  3. Arlene #

    I think we all needed to hear this today. I woke up this morning feeling a heaviness in my heart. Fearful about some testing one of my children needs. Knowing that I really can do nothing but pray, but as we know, I have a hard time letting God take it all. Worry, frowning, fearful, they all accompanied me while it was getting ready for work. A friend texted me asking how I was dealing with the situation, and how my child was. My response? ‘ I always go to the dark place, but it’s all good’. When I looked at the text I had sent? It said ‘ it’s all God!’ Enough said.

    January 31, 2014
  4. Kathleen #

    Exactly what I needed. I feel like I’m falling apart – everything in my life seems a out of kilter and full of fear. I’m joining your blog today. I saw your name on Christine Valters Paintner “The Wisdom of the Body”. Thank you God! Thank you Mary!

    October 7, 2019

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