Monday, January 10, 2011

Emotions - Part III - Fear

Moving on from anger, lets look at another issue of our time - fear. Just as a reminder, I'm using Gill Edward's Stepping Into the Magic as a basis for this series. I think the combination of being a working clinical psychologist, with one foot in science and the other in spirituality, makes for a well-rounded look at emotions and their effect on our lives.

I could write a chapter on fear, but for the sake of keeping it brief, I just want to remind everyone that fear is a good thing. It keeps us moving when we need to move, it keeps us safe from taking dangerous risk, and prepares us for action. Without it we would not have evolved. Research shows that we actually do better when moderately anxious - fear and excitement hone our instincts. Whenever we face growth and change there is an element of fear that usually goes along with it. She suggests how we label it - may be the defining factor between experiencing it as exciting or frightening. She says that when we choose to grow through joy we need to learn to enjoy fear. Reaching for our dreams means constantly facing new challenges - and new fears.

How do we do that?

"Fear comes from our illusion of separateness. It comes from forgetting that we create our own reality. When we walk in the remembering - knowing that we create it all, knowing that we are loved, knowing the only true Reality is love - how can we be afraid?"

She suggests one way to befriend fear is to do something that scares us - parachute jumping, firewalking, speaking in public, asking for a promotion, stroking a spider - you get the picture. Another way is to imagine the worse case scenario in fine detail, and then imagine yourself handling the situation and moving beyond it. I personally think of the logo NO FEAR, and that helps me move beyond worry.

"Fear is a magnet, so whenever we worry about the future, we are attracting that future towards us. Every thought is a prayer! So it is important to acknowledge and release our worries and fears. If I hear a worry run through my mind I sometimes blow that fear into my hands, as if I am holding a frightened bird. Then I attune to Spirit, inhale trust and optimism - and breathe this into my hands to heal and transform the fear. Or I simply put a red cross through the mental image - and gently smile, to reassure my Basic Self that its fears are groundless. Shining the light of awareness upon our fears is often all that is needed to dispel the shadows."

I could not have said it better. 

Since this was longer than expected, next time will be shame and guilt, doubt and confusion. Are you still with me? Am I boring everyone with this series? What about you - how do you deal with fear?


California Girl said...

Nancy, may I take the liberty of posting a poem my son wrote when he was around 16 years old? It still grabs me.

No Fear

Everything's so easy, when you're a kid,
No pressures to worry about, you can just live.
Everyone's so nice, you never see mean,
You can feel safe, living as a human being.
You go to play in Little League games, while people cheer,
You can be out, and live a life of No Fear.

Every now and then, a problem comes across,
It might be that you fell, and caused your team a loss.
But its over and its done, within a couple days,
It doesn't leave you scared and confused, in an endless maze.
You can go over there, you can be over here,
You can live the life of No Fear.

Then you get older and the pressures come down,
You don't feel like the king anymore, wearing your golden crown.
Your friends and your family, say two things far apart,
Stuck in this position, it's hard to follow your heart.
Should I do drugs?
Should I drink beer?
What happened to my life?
My life of No Fear?

You see when you're a kid, everything comes to you so easy,
No decisions to make,
This might sound a bit cheesy.
But don't forget that you had the life to live,
Everything that you did came out pretty positive.
You didn't have to do drugs, or drink beer and be a fool,
Back in the days with your friends, you could always be cool.
When you're a kid, you don't have to worry about bad things being near,
You go on living your life, your life with No Fear.

DJan said...

Wow, that is some poem, and some post. I can't help but think of the Dune series, where "Fear is the mind killer" is used over and over again.

As a skydiving instructor, I was always more observant of those (usually male) students who exhibited no fear, because I suspected that it was the idea that if you didn't acknowledge the fear, it wouldn't exist. But of course it did.

Fear is our friend, as long as we treat it with respect, not neglect or give it undue attention. That's what I think, anyway.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Terrific post.

Fear was the Bush administration's greatest weapon against we, the people. On a personal level, when I'm afraid, the first thing I ask myself is: What's the worst thing that can happen? From there, I can usually talk myself out of it or, at the very least, understand it.

Brian Miller said...

there is good fear and bad...we can not let it cripple us...nice poem by cali's son too!

The Good Cook said...

I am learning to live without fear. I have experienced the worse thing that could happen - now, everything else is cake.
On another note, a seed has been planted in my brain as to what my future may look like. I'll expand on it more but in the meantime f you could offer up some plea to the universe on my behalf (and my path) I sure would appreciate it. I'll expand more on it when I have a better understanding of what I think my future will look like. No Fear. On, On.

Whitney Lee said...

What a great poem-and so true.

You're definitely not boring me. In fact, the more I read the more certain I am that I need to get this book.

I can remember a few years ago, after looking the worst in the face, I began to jump out of bed each morning ready to tackle the day. I no longer let fear hold me back from trying new things or attempting what I'd always hesitated to attempt. It was a heady feeling.

It does help me to ask myself what the worst case scenario is.

Lori said...

Even though I haven't gotten to comment much on these posts in this series you are doing, I have really enjoyed them...they have given me much food for thought...and the length is not a problem to me either...fear has kept me from living my life at times and there was a time I allowed it to control my every decision, which is not really living...I pray and I use visualization when I am fearful and that really does help. Since I have resolved to face my shame this year, I am really looking forward to reading your thoughts on this area.

susan said...

I think her advice about how to deal with fear is very wise. We experience fear in a very personal way because nobody shares it with us but it's good to understand that everyone suffers from fear. I tend to use prayer to quiet my mind and thus stem the gut reactions that can make us ill. It's worked for me for a very long time.

No, I'm not bored. I think the subjects are very worthy of discussion.

L'Adelaide said...

i have enjoyed your take on this book and have been reading right along, not finding it boring at worries, my dear :)

the words you quoted are absolutely stunning, a visual i can see doing myself...fear and worry are very powerful emotions or at least provoke them into a flurry of reaction and to have simple ways of turning them into something else, is worth the price of the book if not much more. xox and thank you for your comments on my blog post recently, it was very much appreciated.

ds said...

I like these posts, Nancy. They promote thought & examination--two good things. I also like the poem by California Girl's son. Too often, we don't give our teens enough credit, or believe what they are "supposed" to be experiencing, rather than their actual, individual experience (guilty, here); if we listen--really listen--to them, they can tell us so much...

I do feel that a little fear is healthy, for just the reasons you describe. Those times when we allow it to control us, rather than the opposite are the dangerous times...

Nancy said...

California Girl - Thank you! Love it! Your son is as gifted as his Mom.

DJan - I think you think right. :-)

Trish & Rob - I do the same thing. Fear certainly worked for the Bush admin - we now are close to a police state. When they want is to start carrying a "national card" or want to insert a chip it's time to run!

Brian - That's the hope - that it doesn't become crippling.

Good Cook - You certainly have faced the worst. On, on! :-)

Whitney - It's great that you had that reaction. Healthy, I would say.

Lori - Thanks Lori - glad this isn't boring. Shame is coming up - it can be debilitating if left "untreated."

Susan - Thank you. I have used different ways to deal with fear and prayer has been one of them.

Linda - Thank you. I like the way she deals with things, too. I think you would like this book.

ds - I so agree with you on teens. They are so much smarter than we give them credit for. A little fear is good, too much is crippling.

Anonymous said...

Well, I've always been one to embrace fear and face it head on, but the events of the last few days showed me a fear beyond anything I've ever known before.

This was not a fear I wanted to embrace or befriend. This was a fear I wanted to hide from, and run away from, and certainly one I never want to experience again.

But, on the other hand, it did keep me aware and vigilant and on edge, so I guess fear did serve its intended purpose.

(All is well now - read my latest update. Thanks, Nancy, for your support).

Reya Mellicker said...

I think of all the "negative" emotions as functions of the survival instinct. In small doses, at the right moment, they serve us well.

As with everything, too much of any one of them is not good.

No I'm not bored! More please.

Nancy said...

Jeff - You faced the most terrifying thing anyone could ever face - and you came out the other side. Wow.

Reya - You point well taken - everything in small doses is good - especially fear. Glad you're not bored!

JeannetteLS said...

The worst bout of fear I ever had was that my daughter would, in fact, succeed in her self-destruction. I prayed. I was pro-active. I acknowledged that terror. She died. They are not connected and I never DID feel that had I handled my fear differently things would have been different. In fact, I am very grateful that I was verbal about this fear and why it was there. Sometimes, when you do not voice a very real--OR unreal fear--you cannot find out whether or not your biological fear stuff was working! My daughter acknowledged to me that I had reason to fear, but that she had to decide what to do about her illnesses. She was right. I think that acknowledging and TRYING to slay the cause of the fear, albeit unsuccessfully, was a good thing.

Jess and I were honest. Fear can be born in and acted on out of love for another. I know her mom (Oh. I'm her stepmom) and dad never VOICED what they saw happening and they got mired in guilt.

Your topics make me think--ALWAYS a good thing. Worry, Paranoia, Fear--all different things and hard to separate at times. THANK YOU


yes, on a personal level, the same as trish, [and one of my daughters taught me this little lesson, actually], always ask what's the worst thing that could happen - and then, from there, i can move forward more easily - what's that thing about "from the mouths of babes" - in my case, so true! great post, nancy!

Reya Mellicker said...

Nancy did you see this?

California Girl said...

Thanks to everyone for the nice comments re: my son's poem, "No Fear". I am going to email Nancy's post & ask him to read your comments. Positive feedback!

Nancy said...

Jeannette - You lived my worst fear - the fear I have for my children's safety. Thank you so much for sharing such wise words.

Gypsy - Our children are old souls in little bodies. Something we forget sometimes. :-)

Reya - Thank you!

California Girl - Great idea!

Natalie said...

I hand it over to my higher power.Knowing that whatever happens is for my greater good.