The most important step is the one beneath our feet.
I love growth and evolutionary processes. I named my business Transformation Playground because I like remembering that there are a multitude of ways to return home to ourselves, restore, discover, transform, create and connect. I like remembering that transforming can be playful!
And, sometimes I get impatient and want to have a different experience, be further along in my journey, or for other people to be different. In the moments I am not accepting and inhabiting where and how I am right here, right now, fear is present.
Fear is a big deal, and must be met, felt, respected, and responded to. Suppressed fear fragments perception and diminishes possibilities and presence. Another way to say it is, suppressed fear creates absence, and when we are absent, we turn away from connecting to what is.
Fear is an emotion which provides an important developmental, evolutionary function -- protection and connection. In early life, when we've crawled or walked as far from our caregivers as we're ready to, fear calls us to reconnect and return to the lap of our caregiver.
As adults, when we're not aware that we're afraid, we can't respond appropriately as it's hard to respond to something we're not directly aware of. Also, when we're not aware that we are afraid, our capacity for discernment about what's happening in and around us is reduced -- increasing our vulnerability to manipulation or danger. Depending on how our nervous systems cope with fear, we may shut down, avoid what we need to face, or become reactive and more prone to fighting and violence.
It's important to acknowledge that fear-related trauma responses such as numbing, avoiding, freezing, and shutting down part of our nervous system are intelligent functions to put aside what we are unable to deal with in the moment. Our nervous systems have evolved to allow us the capacity to hold unprocessed fear until we have the space and support to allow it to move through. This is amazing! Seen through this context, the trauma response is not a problem, it's a gift. (I want to make clear that I'm not saying that whatever caused the trauma was a gift. Violence, war, racism, neglect, absence, environmental abuse, genocides, abuses of power, etc. are manifestations of separation which must be attended to and restored individually, collectively and globally.)
Seen in this context, fear is not the opposite of love. Fear is an emotion which is an expression of love: an emotion of connection and returning home to ourselves.