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Fear

Fear is often nothing more than our subconscious trying to protect us and keep us safe and alive. In our modern world, for most of us we, more often than not, we experience perceived fear as opposed to actual life threatening fear. The problem is that our ANS (Autonomic Nervous System) doesn't know the difference and physiologically sets your body's responses into motion. Stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline are released. Your blood pressure and heart rate increase. You start breathing faster. This physical response to an energetic or emotional feeling like if you miss a deadline at work, is triggered in the same way as if a tiger were chasing you. This life saving reaction is designed to give us what we need to escape death and now we are left sitting at our desk with no release for the energy that was just produced.


What if we rewrote the narrative and didn't listen? What if we used fear as our friend or compass to let us know that we have arrived at our next ceiling that we are ready to break through!



So many moments in my life, I allowed fear to make my decisions for me and allowed my nervous system to get the best of me. If those moments, I can tell you that I truly believed that the choices I was making by running away or avoiding, were for my best and convinced myself that I was "protecting" myself. All I was doing was allowing myself to stay stagnant and even though I saw big things in my life, especially in romantic love, I kept myself safe and guarded.


More recently, when I feel fear creeping up, and it does often, living at the edge of my comfort zone, I simply do nothing. Nothing might look like taking a deep breath or three. Nothing might look like turning inward to my highest self and connecting with the only truth which is love. Maybe asking myself, "what would love do?" Nothing might look like withdrawing and taking some space to gain deeper clarity. There is nothing to figure out. In the stillness, peace and clarity unveil themselves.


“There is no illusion greater than fear”

~Lao Tzu


 

In my Yin Yoga class, my instructor read this beautiful short story about fear from When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chödrön and I would love to share it.

"Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly.


But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle.

The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful.


They both had their weapons. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?”


Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.” Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?”


Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say.


If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.”


In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear."

 

  • What if instead of fighting, we asked fear why with wants and needs to be seen and heard?

  • What if the next time we wanted to flea a situation, we paused for just a moment, closed our eyes and played out the what if game from all perspectives and from a more grounded space, made a choice based on what our highest self and values feel connected to.

  • What if the next time we froze, we reframed it and congratulated ourselves for taking the pause when we needed to and allowed ourselves the grace of a moment before jumping forward or backwards.


If there is one thing I have learned in the last three years of continuously pushing myself into the realm of discomfort is that growth, expansion is that change ALWAYS feels uncomfortable. Learning to find the equanimity within discomfort is the journey. I understand that as humans, we will feel fear and dis-ease. It's the decisions we make during those moments that pave the path for our future. I have learned to not make any decisions when I am in a state of confusion.


Confusion to me, only means that I have not yet received enough information to gain full clarity. Once clarity appears, there often isn't a decision to be made at all, there is only one logical choice or direction. Be patient, and wait for the story to unfold. Tell fear that you see it. Let it know you are grateful for the protection it provides but then let it know that you are driving now and it can relax in the back seat.


All the love,

Pamela

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