Sharing the lessons along the way…

Fear Twice Reflected

HawkYesterday morning, a hawk came to visit me with a message.  Only twice has a hawk come to visit my yard, and both of those times someone else was here, so the message was most likely for them.  Given that I just had the epiphany about fear the night before, the following message added even more to my epiphany. 

Here is the gist of the message, as I understood it, after reviewing several sources on animal totems:I need to step back and get a larger perspective of a situation that has become so stressful for me.  I have let myself become too emotionally attached, and I am no longer the detached observer of my life.  This is the quote from the book Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson that really got my attention:

  “When you allow your emotions to override your perceptions, the message from hawk cannot penetrate the chaos and confusion.  At this point, you are asked to be mindful of the honest observer’s neutral position, which allows the message to be intuitively and clearly understood, without emotion coloring its true meaning.”

What I realized as I read this information was that I have had fear visiting me, not just to remind me of my strength, but also to remind me that when I am emotionally attached to a person, place or situation, my perception/perspective of it becomes skewed.  This emotional attachment also seems to interfere with my ability to access my personal power

I didn’t get the connection between my emotional attachment and fear before quite like this when I wrote my Fear Series (Act II specifically).  If I am truly being a neutral observer, from a detached perspective, I am more empowered to deal with any situation that arises.  I will intuitively know what the next action is needed, even if that means surrendering entirely.

Detachment is an often misunderstood concept.  I used to misunderstand it myself.  If you are able to detach from a situation, then you are able to remove the emotion and see the situation for what it is, right now.  When we include emotion into our responses or reactions to situations, we are also attaching all of our past similar emotions based on similar experiences.  This is just how our brains work. 

To be present in the moment only with the situation, we have to detach to some degree.  Let me give you a simple example.  You are having a conversation with someone about something very important to you.  They interrupt you and begin to talk over you about something that relates to themselves.  You notice that your body is reacting—your face is flushing, you are hot, your heart is racing and your stomach sinks. 

This reaction is based on your past experiences with being invalidated, not being heard or something similar.  Your body may be reacting to the past, but if your mind is in the present, you can observe this physiological reaction and dissect it before saying or doing something you might regret later.

If you are present, you can see that you are reacting to the past.  You can recognize that you are associating this person and this present conversation with some hurtful ones from your past.  In order to observe it and work with it, you have to be detached.  When you are detached, you are present.  When you are detached, you are able to respond rather than react.  You notice what you notice, and without judging it, continue on to the next moment.

Detaching allows you to see your life from a more conscious and more accurate perspective.  Your perceptions and sensations are heightened, and you will find yourself less weighed down by your emotions and the past.  In hawk language, this allows you to fly above your life to see the bigger picture more clearly.

Hawk Fly OverThis concept of detachment used to be confusing because my past idea of it was associated with a lack of emotion.  I can assure you that nothing I do is devoid of emotion as I am a very emotional human being.  Removing an emotional attachment to some person, place or thing does not mean we feel nothing for it.  It means we aren’t consumed by it and that we can see it clearly without all of our past baggage, in spite of our feelings for it. 

Today, I had the opportunity to step away from this situation with some help from a friend.  I was able to shift my perspective just enough to remove some of the emotional attachment.  This made room for potentially creative solutions to the problem that had been clouded by the emotion.  In my next post, I will share more about that.   

In the meantime, tell me about your experiences with emotional attachments to people, places or things.  Did you see the fear connection before I did?


Comments on: "Fear Twice Reflected" (10)

  1. Great lesson from the Hawk. It is very important to not take things personally, especially in the moment that they are occurring. Your example is one that I can relate to. I used to have a real problem with people interrupting me when I was talking, not listening to me, etc. It bothered me so much that I felt like I didn’t want to be around groups of people or certain individuals. Then I started observing more and realized that what I thought was personal toward me was really just a way of communicating that MOST people do. I even found myself interrupting others to talk about myself. ha! Once I stepped back to observe, I no longer had a problem and was able to get back into conversations with those groups of people and individuals. Being in the moment and using whatever tools (breathing, observing, detaching, etc.) work for you, can really save you from doing or saying something you will regret. It can also save you from yourself.


    • Hey D,
      Thank you for commenting! It is how most people communicate in social settings for sure and probably one of the things most people take personally as well. It was the simplest explanation I could think of to relate to detachment even though I was finally seeing the need to remove my emotional attachments to something else when the hawk came a callin’ the other day. I am glad he/she got my attention!


  2. luvallbeings said:

    weird Teresa, I had the same thoughts about detachment and Tawny; felt the same confusions and came to those same eventual conclusions. Trying to explain detachment to someone who doesn’t ‘get it’ is difficult because it does come across as being unemotional or uncaring about people or things you should care about or be bothered about. I was recently trying to explain it to a friend struggling with their personal issues to help them get beneath their emotions and reactions to see where it was really coming from so they could then at least be aware and change their perspective on their particular outlook on their life and life in general. Tawny, you explain it so well in common sense terms, wish I could have explained it as well as you do here. They felt much the same way we all felt: that it means we don’t care and you have to be uncaring and unemotional; however the conversation has been transcending for them in the long run, thankfully.

    I myself still struggle with the whole idea of detachment, so I am glad you touched on this again as in past blogs. I am very good at it in some areas and am able to convey certain things without emotions getting in the way but in other aspects, my emotions and past wounds still come into play. In fact, even when I am able to see a situation rationally and with detachment, and know exactly what I need to do or not do or should do, my emotional self gets in the way of actually doing so. At least now I am able to step back and know exactly when and why I am reacting a certain way, I know where it is coming from and try to go from there with a new understanding and perspective.

    By the way, I see hawks often but not in my own backyard, that is pretty awesome! Thanks for sharing these ephiphany’s!


    • Hi Nina,
      I am fascinated that you both found me oxymoronic. (ha!) I think the best way to think about detachment is Don Miguel Ruiz style–Don’t take things personally. When it becomes personal, there is a clear emotional attachment. I think it is great that you can be aware of it and as I said to Teresa, we aren’t going to get A+ grades consistently. Fear is at the core, so really all we are doing is removing fear as a bad thing from the equation, right? Maybe we should let go of the word detachment since it seems to have such a negative association with it for us and simply call it what it is–fear of something? The thought just occurred to me, so I shared it.

      Thank you, as always, for your honest and thoughtful sharing in your comments (and of course for reading the blog in the first place)!


      • luvallbeings said:

        It is fascinating isn’t it? Ha! The four agreements are a good reminder not to take things personally and it’s them not you etc. I think there is danger in becoming too detached though so as with anything, there needs to be balance. We cannot deny our emotional self and what it has to tell us either, I know you know this. I don’t think there is anything wrong with feeling your emotions fully, as Ohotto says, you can’t pretend you are not angry or sad or depressed, you just can’t remain in that space; it is a learning space, an opportunity to explore and work with your shadow.

        I think listening to what your emotions are telling you about yourself then stepping back from any given situation to look at it without emotion and what it really is then going forward is important. Then, your next action will be coming from a place of love, understanding and empowerment. So, acknowledgement and awareness of your emotional attachment first, then detachment from fear, then the creative solutions come as it did for you.

        Anytime, fear is replaced with love, there is so much more peace (NDW and Marianne Williamson-Return to Love–so good, wow). This helps when my buttons are being pushed. I can step back before I react or respond defensively or with anger, I can now respond from a place of love–most of the time.

        One of the endings to your blog stuck with me too: What would you do if fear was not part of the equation? I said that to a friend just the other day ( and you re-posted this one today by chance) to help them decide what they wanted to do and fear was holding them back, it was like a light bulb went on for them. Then we discussed what fear really is, their agreements and where it was coming from. They had never thought or heard of that perspective.

        This stuff is so helpful for so many Tawny, I am glad you are in your groove and flow and I can share your insights with others to help them. I can only imagine what the book will do for so many others who need to hear what you have to say. You are gonna be a light in so many, many others’ darkness…you have only scratched the surface here in the blogs!

        Friday is only a day away, I hope you get an email stating you made the top 30!

        Sorry, this was so long but I guess I had a lot to say as usual!



        • Hi Nina,
          Yes, balance is definitely important with everything–certainly detachment is no exception. I was just resonding to Teresa’s comment that everything that evokes an emotional response in me (it has hit a button) provides me with an opportunity to grow. Being a very sensitive and emotional person, I tend to have a lot of opportunities. 😉 I am getting faster at stopping as soon as I feel the emotional reaction internally, stepping back and figuring out just where it is coming from–sometimes Ohotto style, sometimes just in quiet reflection. It is happening a lot lately leading me to more epiphanies and insights. I have opened more boxes in the past few months than I have in years and Fear is right beside me (with her tea) sifting through them with each situation. I am loving the insights and loving how so much of writing the book has opened my eyes to seeing my life more clearly.

          You and Teresa make me more motivated to grow this blog to broaden its reach. The facebook page is phase one, but getting more people to “like” the page is going to be a challenge it would seem. Thank you (again and always) for your support and encouragement!


  3. Won’t be as long a comment as I first thought, and hope it relates in the positive way it is intended 🙂 This is what I meant when I wrote you not so long ago about the early blogs, and ‘getting it’. Back then I didn’t know you at all, and from the blogs I felt that you had an almost unhealthy attachment to detachment, and didn’t realize it. Of course I am no super wise-woman, and have…or tend to have…an unhealthy attachment to attachment, lol, so must admit there was some time spent going around about it my head and trying to sort it all out cuz that’s what I do 🙂 What I knew about you was mostly gained from FB posts, but knew you were an enlightened, intelligent, soul who had overcome much in relation to your illness and the consequences and challenges you faced because of it. You were even more confusing since what I perceived was a person who avoided emotional attachment or feeling of any kind….and yet you held your friends in high regard, had such a great love for your animals, and spoke often of universal connections. The love for your dogs is what led me to decide that you weren’t as truly emotionally detached as it first appeared. It was like some sort of oxymoron. This led me to realize that there must be more involved than what I knew, and I did feel there must be some some sort of fear of attachment involved just as I was afraid of detachment. When I saw your posts and blogs change a bit to allow in the word and emotion ‘love’, it made me really happy because I hold you in high esteem, and had begun to think less of myself because of the inability to detach from love even when it isn’t known, or even for those who dislike me. This blog post lets me see clearer what you mean, and is on target with what I’ve been figuring out too. You’ve helped me learn, through your blogs, and your personal journey to right now, how to emotionally detach a bit from situations, and not give so much at the expense of myself, while still allowing the great love inside to be. Of course it’s a struggle at times, and always a work in progress, but without even realizing, you’ve taken me on your journey and are helping me learn similar lessons from sort of a flip-side of the situation. Thank You, 🙂


    • Wow T! Thank you so much for sharing this with me and for coming along on the journey. We are all in this together, afterall. In our emails a while back, I had a sense that this very topic was what you referring to when you said you wasn’t sure I “got it”. Like you, I have been overly emotionally attached to everything in the past. It wasn’t until my early 30’s and this illness that I started to understand the value in being able to step away from the emotional involvment/investment to be able to see what is happening more clearly. Even so, I still couldn’t quite adequately express in writing what I meant in those early blogs. I knew what I meant, and as I continued to write, my understanding became deeper because I was actively practicing what I had learned in my daily life.

      Love is what we are, so we cannot very well detach from that. We detach from expectations of others, insecurities developed from our past experiences, what we label chaos or being “done wrong,” fear of loss, etc. By doing so, our day to day lives become much more rich. Each day gives us some practice and I am not sure that any of us mere mortals ever get 100 percents on these exercises. I consider it an A+ day when I can be aware of it faster and faster. The last few days I give myself good grades. 😉
      Thank you T! Hugs!


      • 🙂 Well hindsight being what it is, I’m glad the words took the time they did for me to understand. At first, some time ago, I tried the not caring approach to the whole detachment thing, and that really didn’t work out too well. Plus I found myself selectively detaching, lol. And it took the whole process for me to get it. I’ve had the love part figured out…sort of, because my version of loving everything got me a whole bunch of hurt feelings most of the time, and frankly, many people don’t understand if you say or act the word love. It’s often seen as creepy or dumb, etc, or that it means ‘in love’ when it’s really human equal love. Plus sometimes people use that as power because everybody really isn’t inherently ‘good’ no matter how I try to make it so. I have a strong fight or flight mechanism, really flight because I do not like to fight, and now I can see it has been my way of trying to detach. It is,or hopefully was, impossible for me to step away from the emotional part while still being in the situation physically. So that’s another thing your writings have helped with 🙂 That I’m still in Tallahassee is proof that I’m getting better at it because a few months ago all I wanted was to get far away from here 🙂 Still not sure I’ll stay, but it won’t be running from fear, and I honestly have you to thank in large part. It didn’t start off too pretty, and I did do the work, but you definitely provided the fuel. Wow, there’s so much to say, might have to write in my own dang blog, lol. So when do we get to read your book anyway????


        • Hi T,
          I love that you have been open to receiving and applying the information/lessons I have shared in my blog. When we are ready to receive or understand something further, the tools and teachers come to us. What we do with those is our choice. I consider everything that provokes an emotional response in me to be a potential lesson and that is what I write about. Writing is basically my therapy and I highly recommend it to everyone! Have you read the book “Writing Down Your Soul” by Janet Conner? She is actually a local author who made her name with this book (she has more now). Nina has my copy now.

          I was thinking about the flight or fight situation yesterday because Darras mentioned it in his comment to an earlier post. Perhaps I will incorporate that into a post soon as well. You girls make me want to grow this blog so that it reaches more people and I think you are one of the first people who actually read my blog. I wasn’t promoting it at all when you found it. I cannot wait for everyone to get an opportunity to read my book and it is so much closer than it ever was to being a reality!


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