The journey into myself continues with a visit to my good old buddy fear. We all have it – it’s something that intermittently – or in some cases – frequently – cripples us. For many years, fear crippled my creativity – both musically and back in my dancing days. Fear of judgement mostly. It would prevent me from really putting my heart & soul into my dance moves – and it causes me to find any possible distraction to take my focus away from doing that which I long to do the most – make music. I still have it – I find myself piffling about with pointless things when I’ve promised myself some music-making time – and when I’m about to embark on anything that will be inherently beneficial & nourishing to my soul, I will procrastinate here there & everywhere about getting to it.
It takes an incredible amount of awareness to overcome the emotion of fear. The ego absolutely adores it. I don’t regard the ego as a negative thing – it is that part of you which has been constructed as a response to your life experiences, your conditioning – your programming as a human being. Most of our ego-based tendencies were formulated whilst we were very young – and so by their very nature, they are the reaction of a scared, very young version of you. The ego reacts in a way that it thinks will best protect you – but these are the reactions of a scared child. And what are children most excellent at? Creating stories. Huge ones. The ego thrives on fear. It will create the most epic of fear-based dramas. Are these dramas real? Not really – they only exist inside your head. Sure, they feel real – but are they actually taking place, right here, right now, in front of you? Probably not. And still, these fears will prevent us from doing anything if we allow them to – not to mention the stress they put on our adrenal glands! The most important thing when dealing with fear is forgiveness. This terrified little child within you that is generating these fears must not be considered a ‘demon’ or something that you need to fight. What would you do if you saw a scared little child, all alone & crying? You’d comfort them wouldn’t you? You’d take them into your arms, give them a big hug & tell them everything will be ok. You need to do this for your terrified little you too.
After being single for the best part of 3 years, I had begun to feel very comfortable in my singledom – happily getting on with life, projects – and working at overcoming my fears. But a very profound encounter with a young man recently left me with quite the realisation…I am terrified of falling in love. This is actually a very new fear for me – a fear that had been wrenched out of one too many broken hearts & betrayals. In the wake of my encounter, this fear sent my ego into warp-drive – she was fretting & fussing, burying her little face in her hands and sobbing “no, no no!”. Am I alone in this fear? Hell no. Is it real? It certainly feels real – but…it is an emotional reaction from things that happened in the past. It’s not based on the events of the present. Does this make it wrong? No. It’s ok to feel that fear – it’s only human – but most importantly, it points to an aspect of myself that needs healing. There’s a really scared little Lizzie in there who really doesn’t want to fall in love. But how to do that? By sitting with the emotion that comes up (in this case fear), allowing yourelf to feel it without analysing it – and taking the focus to your breath. Keep breathing until the emotion has subsided. Breathe as much as you have to in order to release the emotion – exhale through the mouth if it helps, imagining the emotion leaving you, breath by breath. If you have to pant as though you’re giving birth then go with it – do whatever breath work you have to in order to release the emotion – the trick is to stay with the breath – and stay out of analysis. After a few moments the emotion gradually melts away. Next, bring in the forgiveness towards that scared little aspect of yourself. It’s tough – even after doing this, the ego will still insist on the drama – but remain in a state of mindfulness – aware of the drama, but not participating in it. Often, once you’ve released one layer of emotion, another will pop up – maybe instantly – maybe in a few days, maybe in a week. Keep working through the emotions as they come up, with patience, acceptance and mindfulness.
Of course, I could choose to play into the ego drama and shut down my heart as a response to the fear. Walk away, in order to ‘protect’ myself – but…what am I protecting myself from exactly? When I look deep into it, the answer I come up with is ‘nothing’. So what if I get my heart broken again? It mends. So what if I cry a few more tears? Don’t get me wrong, I believe I had those experiences in the past for a good reason – and I have learned valuable lessons from those experiences, but rather than allowing myself to be paralysed by fear, I can use those lessons to my advantage and navigate this situation with the gift of greater wisdom. Past experience has shown me that you attract people (especially lovers) into your life who perfectly reflect where you are in terms of how you behave towards yourself. If you are able to look into this mirror with honest eyes, you are given the tremendous gift of being able to see what you yourself need to work on. This is often a hard and painful experience that many of us choose to ignore – or even fight – but if you stop and be still with it for a second, you will start to see that the reason the person that is supposed to be closest to you isn’t nourishing you the way you wish, is because you yourself aren’t nourishing – or accepting – yourself. Heal those parts of you that cause you fear, anger, self-loathing, shame, jealousy…because all they are, are terrified little versions of you who are just trying their best to protect you. Accept them as part of who you are – give your ego a massive hug – that’s all he / she wants.
Parts of my conditioning left me with a susceptibility towards low self esteem. Something I have on the most part now healed. But every now & then, the self-doubting, scared little Lizzie makes herself known again – mostly when I approach making music. I have ideas for musical creations that I am still struggling to bring into manifestation. The urge is getting greater and I know they will come through soon, but it is taking an immense amount of willpower to build up the courage. And this is the thing – the only way with fear is through. When I feel the fear preventing me from making music I know I have to push on through and do it anyway – even if it’s just for 10 minutes. And it’s ok if these other ideas aren’t coming through right now – Rome wasn’t built in a day. Baby steps. The more I keep persevering despite the fear, the more I instil within me the will to do it. You have to do it despite the fear. This in itself is an incredibly healing and empowering way of living life.
When it comes to fear, you can either let your ego win and succumb to the crippling – or you can bring yourself into a state of mindfulness, see your ego playing out the non-existent drama, acknowledge it, and then choose to assert your will and fly in the face of fear. Use the emotions that your ego brings up as signposts to point you in the direction to which aspects of yourself need a bit of care & attention. The opposite of love is not hate – it’s fear. If you can start turning fear into love – a love of yourself – then beautiful things will start to happen. Promise 🙂