Episode 17: Navigating the Rapids of FEAR. A Candid Conversation.

Transitions are never easy even if it’s a change for the better.  And it’s even scarier when we are taking a leap of faith.  But what if we let the FEAR guide us rather than hinder us?  It’s been an interesting journey.  FEAR has become a frequent friend (I didn’t see this coming!) and I’ve been doing a lot of getting to know it better.  And I do…I think.  It sticks its scary face all up in mine but rather than running away, I’ve developed a relationship with it.  Afterall, it still counts as a feeling. And if it’s one thing that I know for sure, our feelings are here to guide us.  This one’s a bit crasser than the others, but it’s still here to shows us something.  When we take that perspective then we can begin to get curious rather than hide.  I recently had such a good conversation with my friend Alison about this.  Being the wonderful soul that she is, she ended up recording it for me to do with it what I will.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to make an episode out of it because it's such an intimate look into my journey.  Oh the FEAR of being SEEN! But here's the thing, it really was a great conversation and I think it might spark something in you too this so with excitement much anticipation, I’ve decided to share my journey with you!

When I took a leap of faith to follow my heart's calling, I thought the leap was going to be the pinnacle of it all.  You know, the hardest part is just getting started right?  What I didn't realize was that while the grass is greener where my soul can breath, it's also completely new terrain that I need to learn to navigate.  For one thing, fear likes to get real snug with me over on this side.  It's like an overprotective mother that would prefer it if I lived in a bubble.  I guess it's needier now than ever since I decided to break out for some fresh air.  It's only been a few months since I took a leap but I've sure learned a whole lot about FEAR.  I had to! Otherwise it would've coerced me back to a place where I'd suffocate.  Here's what I've learned:

  • First off, to give fear some credit, it isn't completely bad.  As a feeling, it really does help us understand ourselves and what's happening around us.  The trick is to understand if the fear comes from the reptilian brain (basic flight or fight system) or if it's resistance from our soul.  Reptilian brain is here to keep us safe.  Perfect if we're trying to avoid running into a bear or if our house is on fire.  Unfortunately it's not high tech enough to decipher between caveman struggles versus 21st century modern people struggles.  It's just trying to keep us alive and out of danger.  So if you want to try something that your brain already perceives as somewhat risky....say giving public speaking a try or starting your own business, your reptilian brain does the same thing as it would if you had run into a bear "STRANGER DANGER! STRANGER DANGER! RING THE ALARM!  This man/woman is going to try something that might not go well.  This is madness! RETREAT! RETREAT!"

Our inner caveman is just trying to keep us safe, but our struggles are different than when we had to build our own fires and kill prey with sticks and stones.  That's when we need to look inward and align with our soul calling.  Our innermost selves know the way, we just need to learn to listen.  I'm working on that right now.  I've spent so many years "powering through" and listening to my external environment that I've numbed my ability to hear messages from my innermost self.  Unless it's really obvious ex. I feel like I'm suffocating and my chest is crushing against a ton of bricks, I can't hear it that well. I'm learning though, and know that I'll find my way back.  We all can, it's innate within each and everyone of us.  If you can't hear that well, start small.  Noticing how it feels even with the most benign decisions - oatmeal or eggs for breakfast?  dinner with friends or date night? And then veer towards what feels good.  Open.  Aaaahhh.    

  • Fear is scary.  Our natural instinct is to run away from it.  Shove it deep, deep down or avoid it altogether.  Exactly the opposite needs to be done in order to find relief.  You need to become aware of it, acknowledge it and make friends with it.  Knowing what you're afraid of in the first place gives you a wealth of insight.  It usually unveils a false limiting belief (stories you believe about yourself that's not true but you let it hold you back) or buried hurt that needs healing.  It doesn't end there though, you need to begin to develop a relationship with fear.  What message is it giving you?  What does it mean? Is it true or is it the confused reptilian brain?  How have you negotiated to sit with it if you appreciate it, but definitely don't need it as you forge forward?  For me, when I my inner self is sending me a message to "go get 'em!"  (by feeling open, free, happy, exhilarated and excited) but my reptilian brain floods me with fear, I imagine myself in a car.  I am in the driver's seat, steering the way, and fear (which I've decided is a friendly albeit worrisome lizard) is strapped in beside me.  If it has something to say, I listen, smile and then continue driving.  As they say about our marital spouses "you can't live with them, but you can't live without them".  Strap in. Smile. 
  • Lastly, the secret sauce.  Find your meditation - that thing that drops you into inner peace.  You are so engaged that the buzzing in your mind stops and so does time.  In a way, you fall into nothingness.  Nothingness is absolutely perfect.  Nothing is everything.  As the wise philosopher Lao Tzu says
"We mold clay into a pot,but it is the emptiness inside that makes the vessel useful." 

So find your meditation.  It doesn't have to be meditation.  Yoga, singing, dancing, painting....   Do it often.  It will reconnect you to your innermost knowing.  Then, listen.

I hope you enjoyed the podcast!   What's your relationship with fear?  Meaningful conversations are my jam and invite you to leave your comments below. Namaste.