My husband and I just finished an exhausting cross-country move from Austin, TX to the mountains of Western, NC. On the last night of the move, we needed some mindless TV and streamed Leave the World Behind, an apocalyptic thriller about cyber attacks, survival, class/racial tension and relationships. The Obamas were among the executive producers, which got me curious. As the story unfolds (I won’t ruin it) there are countless times when the two families who are thrown together to navigate numerous world-ending calamities get to decide if they will approach their interactions with one another from fear… or from love. The fear/love tango was a constant throughout the movie… but ultimately when the main characters were at their most vulnerable, love won.
Most great spiritual teachers and traditions tell us we only ever have two choices in how we approach our lives and day-to-day interactions: from fear or from love.
When relationships are viewed through the eyes of love, we:
- trust—and allow those we love to follow their unique path (even if we don’t agree);
- practice acceptance and let go (of parenting struggles, of who’s right, and so on);
- listen from our hearts in our interactions and respond in the moment;
- communicate openly and are more receptive and flexible;
- come from a prosperity mindset and see that there is always “enough” time, attention, space, and resources;
- see everyone’s true essence, who they really are, not how they’re acting in the moment; and
- are able to feel more compassionate towards ourselves and others.
When relationships are viewed through the eyes of fear, we:
- try to control, manipulate, and micromanage people and situations, thinking we always know best;
- think things are good only when they’re going “our” way;
- operate from our heads and fall into over-thinking, criticizing and over-managing;
- become reactive and get easily triggered;
- respond negatively and see problems first, instead of acknowledging what’s going well;
- come from a poverty mindset and feel like there is never enough;
- punish, judge, and isolate ourselves from others.
Reading these extremes, who wouldn’t want to choose love over fear? We all want to feel open, free, generous and fully available to one another. But often, this is hard. It’s easy to fall into old habitual patterns—like feeling victimized, righteous, resentful or seeing what’s wrong in a situation without acknowledging what’s right. Choosing love over fear takes mindfulness—even vigilance—and a willingness to consciously choose this path, moment to moment. Again and again.
Watching this movie made me wonder how I would respond to strangers if faced with an end-of-the-world scenario. I would love to think I would choose love and connection instead of succumbing to fear. This was a powerful reminder that we always, at any point, have a choice. And if we don’t like where we’re headed we can pause, shift and course-correct.
We can choose to drop our fear-filled backpacks and step into a lighter, more open way of being. We can choose love.
Did this post help you? Please share it with friends/family. I’d love to hear what helps you approach your relationships with love. Let me know how I can support you in 2024. I’d love to see you in person.
SEEKING SUPPORT FOR SELF-CARE & RESILIENCY THIS YEAR? HERE ARE THREE OPPORTUNITIES:
- January 19th-21st Women’s Retreat ~ Ready to step in to 2024 with intention and to explore new ways of being? Join me for Sing, Dance, Pray: Romancing the Beloved women’s self-renewal retreat Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health (Berkshire Mountains, MA). Packages start at just $635 for this deeply restorative winter retreat. The women who come to these retreats are amazing! Learn more/register.
- *Available for a limited time* ~ Still, Dark & Quiet: A Deep Rest Virtual Retreat ~ Winter is here. You’re invited to slow down, go inward and relax in silence. Enjoy this 2.5 hour meditative virtual retreat 24/7 from the comfort of your home. Includes a long Yoga Nidra session. Learn more/download today. Only $49
- Wild Souls Nature Adventures (based in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western NC): authentic movement classes, community song circles, full moon hikes, meditation workshops, women’s circles & more. New offerings are listed each week; have me design a custom experience for your team/friends. Join us Wednesday, Jan. 3 from 4:30-6 p.m. for Wild Souls Authentic Movement class near Asheville, NC. Learn more.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by mindfulness coach/author/speaker and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women find balance through the art/science of self-care, Renee has been facilitating high-impact, interactive workshops for Fortune 500 companies, national nonprofits/conferences and organizations/teams worldwide for 25 years. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Fast Company, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, AARP, Spirituality & Health and more. She and her team have certified more than 450 facilitators in 10 countries around the globe to lead self-renewal groups/retreats based on her pioneering self-care curriculum. She’s the author of two books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life. She and her husband live in Western North Carolina; her latest venture is Wild Souls Nature Adventures. More on Renee here.