Part 2: Stepping From the Known to the Unknown AKA Moving from Fear to Love
Part 1 of this post talked about a woman who is incapable of feeling fear for biological reasons. I discuss why this happens, what her life is like without fear, and what I learned from this.
In part 2, I'm going to talk about ways the rest of us, who don't have her biological condition, can live a more love based life. I want to jump right into it so you know it's possible, so here's a video to get you started! This is a very easy meditation technique you can use in your daily life to help alleviate stress, anxiety and overwhelm. After a few minutes of the deep breathing, I discuss how making a practice of this can help you even when you're unable to step away to center.
I put this mediation in as a video instead of as a written explanation because one of the best ways to reduce fear is to feel connected to another person (I discuss the power and importance of connection more below). A feeling of connection is a proven way to raise self-confidence and happiness. If you're thinking, 'but I'm just watching the video, it's not like we're REALLY together' - don't worry. The intention to connect to another is enough to shift your energy!
If you weren't able to watch the video above or you didn't feel like it, no problem. There are some steps you can take right here, right now, to get the ball rolling to reverse the fear train. The first is to simply decide you want this. When you decide something, and declare it with certainty, the path you're on instantly unravels and then re-weaves to support your new desire. It happens in a nanosecond and it's amazing. You can feel it when it happens. Your life force surges and you feel a heightened awareness, a deep connection to your ability to create and co-create your life with the divine. So just declare it:
"I'm ready to live a life that is rooted in love rather than fear. I claim with all my powers as a divine creator that I can and will create a life of love, and I command every fiber of my being to begin aligning with love."
If you don't feel ready to do this, then you can choose to be open to it. You can say something like this to yourself, “I'm not ready to make such a dramatic shift. That's way too foreign an idea, and I love myself enough that I choose to be gentle and compassionate with myself. So I'm not ready, and that's okay. But I declare here and now, that I will allow myself to open up to one day returning to being total and compete Love. I call in all of the people, places and events that I need that will lead to me being ready, one step after another, in a way that is perfect for me and only me.”
As you begin changing the momentum of your life to love, try to always be gentle with yourself when the fear comes. I did my little “I choose love over fear...” statement a few weeks ago. Since then fear has risen many a time, but now, things show up that keep helping me to rework my patterns. Books, groups and even the Invisibilia podcast (see part 1) showed up after I made this choice.
The next step you can take is to start thinking about why you would want this in your life. I have seen in my own life a knee-jerk reaction to wanting to hold onto fear simply because it's comfortable. It's a strange thing to fear life without fear. We fear that we have no ability to make safe choices without fear. In order to overcome this, it's important to practice trusting ourselves and tuning into our intuition. We can and do make good choices without fear, and they're usually the choices that lead us toward our passion, our dreams, our goals.
Think of it this way: Any fear based choice is going to hold you back. Any love based choice is going to help you move forward. This does not mean a love based choice equals action. Sometimes choosing from a place of love means you say, "I'm not ready." We sometimes take steps and rush forward simply because we're afraid to stand still.
So get comfortable with your ability to make choices with your heart, and then make a practice of embracing all the good things about this crazy, unknown world of choosing lover over fear. What will it bring into your life? What would the world be like if you felt love instead of fear in all moments? How would you look at people? How would you approach them? How would you treat yourself, and what would you do different? How would it feel to be EXCITED instead of scared when you go for something?
One thing I learned that's a plus from the Invisibilia podcast is that a life without fear makes you more open. You will be more open to people and experiences. This will increase your feelings of oneness and connection in this world. And the more connected you feel the safer you'll feel because you won't feel so alone in this life and what's happening.
The power of connection is an interesting thing when it comes to fear. The more connected you feel the less afraid you are. The less afraid you are the more you open up and connect further, deepening the bonds you do have and building new ones with people who are looking to connect also. It snowballs in an ever growing pattern.
I first learned about the power of connecting in Powers of Two, a book by Joshua Wolf Shenk. It was first and foremost a book about how collaboration is essential for success. What I found so insightful was that he stated we're all following a conflicting belief: we all believe in order to be successful we have to the be the lone wolf, the pioneer, the person who forges onwards fearlessly and without needing anyone. However, he said to try to live up to this ideal is only going to end in failure. We need each other. Nobody, in the history of humanity, has found success by going it alone. Success isn't just about business either. If you want to be successful in your relationships, in your quest for happiness, in anything, you need people.
Brene Brown reiterated this idea in her book The Gifts of Imperfection. She also stated that we all have the feeling that we must be strong and hold it together. If we turn to others for help we feel we've failed. When in fact, turning to others is what helps us connect and be strong. It's a bit of a catch-22. We need others in order to feel safe and to feel loved. But opening up to others is scary and so we don't do it. There's really no way around it though. We need each other.
(Side note: if you have been through a traumatic or violent experience that makes you fear other people, then connecting with others might increase your fear at first. Always be gentle with yourself, and if you can, talk to someone who specializes in this, such a PTSD counselor. If you have been through an experience that makes you want to guard yourself and close off to others, then listening to what you need is your first priority. In time, you will find the right people you can connect to and trust.)
After I read Powers of Two I made some big changes in my life. The first was to join some local groups, and to continually show up to them. I also joined in more groups on Facebook, and I actively participate in them. This way I'm not going into Facebook and scrolling through status updates, but feeling a sense of connection by going in and having fun joining discussions with like minded people.
So can you be fearless in your life? You can, and it doesn't mean you will become an adrenaline junkie and start base jumping off of cliffs, nor does it mean you'll lose your sense of self. It means you will open up to life more, enjoy more connections, and above all, enjoy the beauty of knowing love can be felt in every moment. What it really comes down to is that age old challenge of letting go of what you know for the unknown. You know what it's like to live with fear. But if you're like I was, you rarely acknowledge it or even feel it's a choice to live without it.
If you live with it, you might as well start getting to know it better. This will help tone down the fear of fear itself. Start talking to the fear. Get to know it. And then it won't be so scary. Then it won't seem like this over powering force, but like what it is: an energy, in your body, that isn't you, but is just an energy, and an energy you can embrace and eventually let go of.
I like to say this when I'm getting all tangled up in the gut wrenching, POW feeling of fear and anxiety, “Hi fear. I see you. And I hear you. I want you to know that just because you're here doesn't mean you'll be here forever. You're just a visitor, and you're only here because I'm temporarily allowing you to be. Once again, I see you, I hear you and I love you. When you're ready to go you're free to go. Thank you. I love you.” The love part is kind of essential, so don't skip it.
One last tip: deep breathing should become a daily habit as a means of reducing fear.
Here's a quick recap: 1.) When you get a chance watch the video. It's a simple yet powerful way to reduce fear that we're holding onto, consciously or subconsciously. 2.) Reclaim your power to create your life and your feelings about life be commanding, right now, that you have more love and less fear in your life. 3.) Start to consider what positive things more love and less fear would do for your life. 4.) Find ways to connect more with other people. 5.) Talk to the fear - reduce the fear of fear itself. 6.) Make deep breathing a regular habit (you can also combine this with number one, and continually breathe in love)