The Person and The Pea: How Fear Stops Us from Living

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli
The Person and The Pea: How Fear Stops Us from Living

In this week's post, "The Person and the Pea: How Fear Stops Us from Living, Erika discusses how little things can quickly become big deals...
I never understood the story of The Princess and the Pea. I always thought, “What’s the big deal, anyway, and who honestly could be so bothered by a tiny little pea that sits twenty mattresses away?”

Until a suspicious pea-sized lump on my body left me anguishing for nearly two weeks.

Ah! I realized. So that’s the big deal about a pea.

Peas may look small, but they can, in fact, be enormous. The princess’ pea left her bruised and lacking sleep.  My pea also left me lacking in sleep, plagued by fear, unable to focus, and playing out ridiculous doom-and-gloom scenarios—on replay, no less. My pea demolished my appetite and made me shrink from the world. My pea was all I could see.

And that is simply ridiculous.

Because here is the truth: even if my pea had turned out to be Very.Bad.News (which it didn’t), leaving me with a difficult uphill battle ahead, I could still walk out the door today and be hit by a falling tree. Even if my pea had turned out to be Nothing.To.Worry.About (which it did), another pea could be lurking just out of reach but wreaking yet unseen havoc on my body. We never know how our story will unfold—some even argue our story has already been written for us—so what on earth is the use of worrying about what may be?

So the real “pea” that bothers us so much? I think it is fear. And fear, even when it is unseen and twenty mattresses away, can literally cripple us. Fear stops us from living far sooner than death.

Someone sent me this quote right in the middle of my fear-riddled pea-fest:  “My friend, stop searching for the why and the how. Stop spinning the wheel of your soul. Right where you stand at this moment everything is given you in the utmost perfection. Accept this gift. Squeeze the juice of the passing moment.” (credit: Dr. Faouzi Skali)

Squeeze the juice of the passing moment.

Oh, I love that so much. How can I stop letting fear shrink me away from life, even in the face of the battles and bad news and bleh parts of life? How can I squeeze the juice of every moment, delight in the everyday joys? I think if I can figure that out, then no matter what “pea” I feel lurking in the night, whether right beside me or twenty mattresses away, I can still roll over and close my eyes and let peaceful sleep arrive.

No matter what peas are lurking, how can you squeeze the juice from each passing moment?

Write in the comments section below or tweet me @ErikaPetrelli1

Still looking for some further ways to squeeze the juice? Here are "5 Ways to Conquer Fear and Anxiety."


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"The Person and The Pea: How Fear Stops Us from Living", The Leaership PRogram, inc. 2016

Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.