F.E.A.R. False Evidence Appearing Real.
Yes. And no. I mean that the emotion of fear is VERY real.
To deny it by labelling it as false is to suppress it. Obviously that is not what the acronym means, it refers to the underlying REASONS of the emotion.
The feeling of fear is, by default, scary but when we allow ourselves to move THROUGH it, it becomes our new BFF. The sense of internal power is immense. But I don’t wish to make light of the intensity of fear.
When I think about my dreams, my BIG DREAMS, they scare the hell out of me (they do also excite me lol!). That is exactly what they should do; it means they are BIG enough! But I cant move TOWARDS them in the state of fear or rather by AVOIDING the state of fear. I will only achieve my most daring goals by diminishing the power that fear holds over me when it is suppressed, not fear itself.
Fear can render us useless. I don’t mean we must live IN fear obviously, I mean to live THROUGH fear: to LET IT GO.
Let it go. Such a simple statement yet so elusive in practice. So how do we actually let go? By not thinking about it? Thinking about it but refusing to let it stop you (aka ‘pushing through)? Or by holding it in the palm of your hand like a baby bird ready to fly for the first time?
Lately, I seemed to have ‘got it’ (Again. This time for the last time!). I have become more aware of the times that I have thought I had let fear go by thinking about the very valid REASONS to let it go. Or when I have sat in meditation and focussed on my breath to the extent that I would RISE above the fear; to go to a better feeling place (btw I realise this is not the point of meditation but it didn’t stop me unconsciously doing it).
I now know that I cannot let go through my thoughts; the very nature of thinking is to hold on. I cannot let go by feeling centred. I can only truly let go by FEELING the emotion.
Even writing about fear now is a distraction from feeling it (which was the prompt for writing about it in the first place!). I often write in my journal when I feel fear on some level: anxiety/overwhelm/panic. This has been a great tool to help me get to know my fears and MANAGE them and find the inner wisdom I seek.
But I also seek to let it go. Seeking wisdom is not an ACT of letting go. So now I choose whenever possible to stay with the FEELING first. The cognitive processing and wisdom-seeking can happen after.
This is much easier said than done because of course fear triggers our fight, flight or freeze response. Our life is perceived to be under threat. It doesn’t matter how illogical or how small the trigger; the feeling is very real. The situation or environment we find ourselves in (at work, with our kids, in a public place) doesn’t allow for us to express ourselves fully without judgement, and so we reign it in assuming we have learnt the very important social skills for regulating our emotions.
I am learning that when safe to do so (in privacy or in a supportive group environment) I can STAY with the feeling of fear, truly stay with it, and acknowledge it, so I move through it. I have let it go.
This can be done quite by sitting with the emotions and breathing through, labelling the feelings as they arise. The Buddha had this mastered.
I have experienced fleeting moments during mindful meditation of what it means to be the observer of my mind and feelings. However in lieu of my reaching enlightenment (!) I have found that EXPRESSING my feelings has had a transformative effect on me and aided my meditation practise.
Expression is the action of letting go.
Words are a means of expression especially if allowed to run free on the page or out loud without judgement, but far more effective is PHYSICAL expression.
Let it go is in fact GET IT OUT.
Gifting myself the permission (PerMISSION ME) to fully express my feelings through intention and physical means has been nothing short of LIBERATING!
It means I can consciously CHOOSE to go deeper into all the stuff locked away that holds me back from my reaching my potential. I am equipped with simple tools to help me navigate my way through the fear (or any overwhelming emotion) and can therefore TRUST that I will rise again FREE from the burden of the otherwise unacknowledged fear. This results in big and lasting internal shifts or transformation.
The process of transformation doesn’t always look pretty but the results are beautiful!
If you are on a mission of permission (PerMISSION YOU) I invite you to feel the fear and FEEL it anyway.
P.S. If you would like to know more about physical expression of fear (and all overwhelming emotions including anger) please join my closed FB group The Dark Side Revolution. It is a safe and supportive space for WOMEN ONLY. I look forward to welcoming you on the other (dark) side. x