Since the coronavirus known as COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, there has been so much FEAR around it. If you have felt fear, stress or frustration during these unprecedented times, you are certainly not alone.
I could definitely relate to fear. For me, my deepest fear lived in unknown water. However, that fear was in the past tense. I was so fearful of water until Candie came into my life. She is an Athena Angel, the Goddess of Courage.
During COVID-19 when I first founded Athena Sisterhood, a thought came to me to do FB live which I had never done before -- the idea was, every morning to just show up. Showing up so my daughter could see me while she was in self-quarantine; showing up to be a stable force in a world that just went upside down; showing up to shine a light to those who might need it during this challenging time. The truth was that I didn’t know the next step on how to help others in the pandemic. I just kept on showing up every morning.
Then Candie showed up at my doorstep, a big GIFT from Divine, on 3/22/2020, one week after I started Athena Sisterhood FB group, with a bright smile, after a long drive.
On 5/3/2020, I began to invite sisters who exhibit the four pillars of values of Athena: Wisdom, Courage, Inspiration, and Peace and formed Athena’s Angels. Each Angel was invited to choose a Goddess name that was close to their hearts.
“I am the Goddess of Courage.” Candie smiled.
Yes, of course, she is!!! That is how she shows up in life.
I was so scared of drowning for as long as I can remember until I met Goddess of Courage! Candie became my coach, a stranger turned life-long friend, someone I now consider as family.
I have always wanted to swim like a fish. An unbelievably difficult task, which at one point in my life was considered completely unreachable for seven years -- it only took seven consecutive days.
So what is Courage?
Courage is not to not be scared. Courage is owning fear but doing anyway.
I have never ever felt comfortable in the water. Swimming was like playing in some foreign space that I just didn’t feel that I belonged in.
I have had swim coaches in the past. I have made some progress but never conquered the fear. So what made the difference this time?
For one, this time I made a solid decision. This time I chose to trust Candie completely.
Before she said that she was a lifeguard, I hadn’t even seen Candie swim. I just somehow trusted her to be the one to help me. Courage is having Faith!
I trusted her because of how she showed up in life. Candie is a giver. She gives 100% of her heart in everything she does. When I showed her my mind movie, she said” I guess you know what we have to do every day from now on.” “Yeah”, I replied. Massive Action time!!
My goal was to learn to tread water and float with ease so not only would I not drown but also learn to enjoy the water.
Then when I saw her in the water, I was totally blown away!! She and the water were ONE!
Well, if only you could picture it! Candie was sitting like a buddha in the water. Her legs were not moving at all. They were touching each other, in stillness. Her hands were barely moving, maybe a couple of inches of movement, her fingers gently sliding across the water. And there, she looked so peaceful in the water, smiling and talking.
Me, on the other hand, was using all my strength, legs kicking, arms flapping, breathing heavily as if I was fighting for my life, six inches from the smiling sitting buddha in the water!
Then Candie said, “WeiLi, you are one of the fittest women that I know.“ ‘But how come I am totally exhausted after two minutes?!’ my mind responded. I couldn’t say anything, afraid of choking.
“I am here. Relax.” As if she could read my mind, Candie barely moved, floating in the water and encouraging me with her full presence. My body was still tense. I could barely tread water for 10 seconds, then would desperately reach out to hold onto the wall, panting and out of breath….
So what took out all my physical strength? It is a psychological Fear. Fear of what? Fear of dying. Even though I know there’s no actual danger of dying because I could easily get to the side of the pool.
Then I remembered: Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. It is fear that decapitated me from moving forward. Courage is to call oneself ‘s bullshit out. Just at that moment, I began to relax.
Courage comes from within. I believe it is the inner strength that gives us courage.
So here is how I freed myself from fear:
1. First, make a decision to face fear. It is in the moment of decision, you are shaping your destiny.
2. Have a visual of a compelling future without that fear. In my mind-movie, I became the Goddess of Water. I put “I love swimming. I swim with dolphins and I swim in the Bahamas to celebrate my birthday!” I watched that over and over again, reprogrammed my mind with the image and music that I actually love swimming.
3. Learn from a coach and find inspiration. I have never ever heard or seen anyone who can just sit in the water, like a buddha. That level of mastery really inspired me.
4. Take Massive Actions to train the muscles and rewire the belief system! Yes, every day we were in the pool for 30 minutes. In total after 3 hours, by the 7th day, when she had to leave, I was already swimming. I felt like I was dancing in the water with such ease.
5. When an opportunity presents itself, seize it. Candie came to live with me and my family. She is a friend of a friend. They had no place to go due to the sudden breakout of the pandemic so I took them in. We had no idea how long they would be with us. They were welcome to stay as long as needed but if I waited for 7 more days, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to conquer my lifelong fear of swimming in the ocean.
6. Surrender and just trust.
So what is courage?
Courage is not procrastinating.
Courage is taking on the challenge, knowing that it is not going to be perfect, knowing it is out of the comfort zone, and doing it anyway.
Everyone has dirty laundry. Everyone has things that we are not proud of. Courage is the willingness and strength to face them and do the inner work!!! One day you will find how much lighter you feel! And that is the beautiful reward of being courageous.
Facing oneself can be the most challenging. Courage is to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and accept this beautiful soul no matter what cards that she/he has been given in this lifetime.
Courage is to smile in the adversity all around and say bring it on. This is what I am here for.
I am here to live a peaceful and joyful life no matter what the circumstances are.