April 5 at 2:58pm
I’m writing to you about a topic near and dear to my heart (and my stomach), and something that I’ve been experiencing, welcoming, dancing with lately: Fear. Lots has been written about it. I know of many perspectives on fear, and ways to deal with it, and I’m guessing you do, too.
What I want to know is: How is your relationship with fear? Do you ‘handle it’? Presence it? Dance with it? Judge it? Ignore it? Feel it? Play with it? Magnify it? Empathize with it? Transcend it? Transform it? Something else…?
What’s fear like for you? How does it feel? When you’re scared, how do you know you’re scared?
Hmmmmm, I wonder…
Sometimes when I feel scared, I notice it first as a sensation in my body – such as a clenching under my ribs. Sometimes I notice fear as a quickening of my heartbeat, and a (sometimes subtle) jerking, flinching, surging sensation through my body, rather than the flow and relaxation that is often present inside me. Sometimes I experience myself stopping – holding my breath briefly after a shallow inhale, or abruptly stopping / freezing my shoulders – and it is not until the next breath begins that I notice that I had been ‘stopped,’ afraid.
Sitting in my office chair downstairs writing this, I feel some tension under my collarbones. I notice a voice inside saying that I am not ready to be writing to you – that I have not grown and developed enough yet, and that I should wait. This voice wants to protect me and keep me safe, and also to keep my life predictable. Also, underneath this voice is a desire to excel at what I do. I’m breathing, noticing my collarbones expanding and lightening, and feeling a knot under my ribs. As I breath, the sensation under my ribs grows and grows. Now it’s excitement! I’m asking the voice who desires excellence to help me be as excellent as I can in writing this to you, and as excellent as I can be in my life. Yes! I’m writing this to you now from a unified sense inside me, excited, eager to share, open, ready to learn, and ready to accept whatever happens. Feels like I am all here now. Zowie!
I am curious about how fear can affect taking action (or not taking action), and have been wondering what I can learn about fear, action, and timing for the last several weeks. What I’ve noticed is that when I’m afraid and relax deeply into acceptance and welcoming everything happening inside me, sometimes the sensations of fear dissolve within seconds and I easefully shift into action. At other times, it is as if the fear is calling me to rest, lay low, be still, to integrate, breathe, and just love and accept myself as I am in that moment. To love myself just because. I find that taking action, especially forceful action, when something deep within my being is calling for rest creates a split inside me. Through presence, love, and openness to learning, I’m resting into a more trusting experience with life more often than I ever have before. I feel an expansion in my throat and jaw, like a sunrise. Marvelous!
One tangible result of my recent explorations of fear is that I am finding myself consistently able to be more present with the people I am close to, even in situations where previously I didn’t have the capacity. This is a big celebration to me. Right now I am thinking of my children, and how much I like feeling close to them … my heart feels warm.
I’m celebrating all the people who have joined this group so far, celebrating so many wise ones who I know and love from the Para Yoga, NVC, and Conscious Loving communities. Will you share something about how you experience fear and what that is like for you?
I feel so happy when I imagine us sharing about fear, learning, being in community.
P.S. This letter was originally posted to my 'Celebrate Life with Rhonda' group on facebook.