Do you ever have that sense that you want to do something or know you need to do it intuitively, but there’s a big fat NO in your head, like you would be eaten up, left in a cardboard box on the street, or laughed at for the rest of your life?
You’re not alone. It’s fear. Fear of being seen, fear of not being liked, fear of failure, fear of humiliation, fear of success, fear of getting hurt, fear of being intimate, fear of losing everything you’ve gained…
The list goes on…for miles. That’s the gift and curse of having a human mind. We can think in the past and future – for planning, for creating, for reflection; and we can also get caught up in the “what if’s” of the future.
I remember when my teacher Matt first said, “I’ve forgotten what it’s like to worry,” (which is another word for fear). My eyes became the size of saucers and I think my jaw needed to get picked up off the floor. “Was that possible?” I thought to myself.
Well, I can now say that it is possible because I’ve nearly forgotten what’s like to worry (I do still feel nervous excitement sometimes!). It’s so rare that I feel it any more that when I do, it’s like a foreign object in my mind and body. Really.
So let’s get down to business on working with fear.
There are two types of fear: the one that protects you physiologically – like not stepping in front of a moving car, or running from a wild boar, and then there’s the “what if” kind of fear. Which is not based on rational thought or intuition. It’s based in the fact that we don’t know. We don’t know what will happen a moment from now, much less a year from now. And it’s freakin scary sometimes.
Here’s the thing: fear cannot exist in the present moment. It can only exist in thoughts of the future. So there’s a conversation to be had in your mind and heart. The mind says, “What if I lose all my possessions, don’t like this new job, or make the wrong decision?” yet everything in your heart says, “GO!”
What to do with when fear comes up:
- Acknowledge that you feel fear. Fear is here. Yes. Where do you feel it? In your chest, throat, stomach, where in the body?
- Ask what the fear would say if it could talk, what are the “what if’s” running through your mind – write those down.
- Tell the truth. Do you know those things will happen for sure. For sure? No. You don’t. And what if they did? Would your life truly come crashing down? Would you really end up in a cardboard box on the street? Or the laughing stock of the town? Really? Check again…
- Take a deep breath and come back to THIS moment. This moment right now. Look for yourself. Can the fear exist when you are present in this moment?
- Check with your heart after you tell the truth and come back to this moment. Does it feel more expansive or open or relieved when you imagine doing/not doing whatever it is that the fear is telling you the opposite of? Your body never lies.
- Trust. Trust in your self that your heart always knows the way, even when the mind wants it all laid out in front of you like a neatly placed dissertation on the table. That’s not how life works. Ever. Trust that life always works out. Always. You’ll feel a lot more peaceful and happy when you trust and follow your heart. It knows the way.
- Each time fear comes up, go through steps 1 through 6. Through this, you slowly and patiently train your mind to take a different pathway. After awhile, fear won’t be the driving force any more – I guarantee.
The goal isn’t to get rid of the fear, but to work with it. Fear can point you to exactly where you are ready to be stretched, to grow, to expand, to awaken even more to your true essence. Listen – with every cell in your body and every corner of your heart. Do it scared! That’s courage.
Categories: Heart Centered Living