Archive for the ‘Fear’ Category

fear of vulnerability

”I need the chance to climb out from the place I was born in.” 

I write this because of a question and comment I got from a friend in my #Trust30 post about overcoming uncertainty. She wrote in her own post about how fear dictates many of our choices and is the cause to so much negativity and destruction. She wondered if it made sense to me, and yes it does. But the comment got me thinking about fear, vulnerability and my relationship to it and I want to share that.

This post’s headline is a line from a movie I watched the other week on TV called ”The story of Liz”. It was a true story about a girl who grew up with addictive parents, her mother was schizophrenic too and eventually both her parents died of aids. She didn’t go to school, ran away all the time, rejected authority and was eventually homeless. And yet she was trapped in the world she lived in. She had an utterly awful childhood. But after her mother died and she had nothing else to lose, she decided to study, to re-define herself and said to the principal when she tried to get accepted into school – “I need the chance to climb out from the place I was born in”. She got the chance at age 15 or 16 and it changed her life. It’s as I wrote in my post about my Tramp vs. Faithfaith isn’t faith until that’s all we hold on to. But it can be excruciatingly hard.

The more fearfulness we feel, the more we diminish and can get trapped in our history and our past, unable to anticipate the future and be in the present. We become hostage of our wounds. Don’t misunderstand me, when we are victims of awful wrongdoings, we often feel powerless. It’s not easy to set healthy self-protective boundaries in those situations. What we usually choose then is to shut down. We disconnect with our Self, so we can ‘endure’ the intolerable situation until it stops. We begin to think of ourselves as worthless – worth less than the perpetrator. So yes I also believe fear is the prime motivation for negative thoughts and patterns.

And here is also what I believe: fear patterns block healing. As an intuitive alarm system it warns of loss, failure, danger and potential wounds. But to live constantly in fear of the unknown and/or with a person that hurts us physically, psychologically and spiritually, disrupts what keeps us grounded and healthy. To feel we are victims of forces that can inevitably destroy us, creates a state of chronic alarm that suppresses our life-force. If we don’t find a way out of the fear, we will move into darkness and stagnation. We become sick and can’t detach ourselves enough from our ‘wounded’ history. We will carry a feeling of being ‘dead’ as my #Trust30 friend wrote about.

I’m not saying that fears are easy to overcome. That all we have to do is to ‘look’ fear in its eyes and then it’s all over. But there is no other way around it than to face it. When our wounds trap us and drag us down the swamp of humiliation and worthlessness, we re-live our wounds and it’s easy to start self blame and believe it’s our fault what happened to us. We constantly repeat the fearful and incomprehensible situation internally. That is a choice, even if it’s an unconscious one, and doesn’t serve our healing and is hard to get out of. Because we want to know ‘why’ it happened. We go over the trauma again and again trying to find answers, trying to understand the inconceivable. And it may never be answered, hence the difficulty to heal and not let the experience define our self – image. What happens to us is out of our control, but how we deal with it isn’t.

So fear drains us, and can suck the life out of us if not dealt with and it demands soul work, courage and stamina to deal with our wounds. When we let fear determine our choices it’s detrimental to our souls, because we don’t trust ourselves, we give away power to outsides factors to run our lives for us. Healthy relationship with fear means, to me, that we allow it be part of our lives, as a friend that lets us know that we are about to lose our power. Lose the power to act, power to choose, power to stand up for what we believe is right, power to live our lives accordingly to our hearts. Dr Mona Lisa Schulz says: “There are five basic emotions or feelings. There are the positive ones that nobody complains about having – love and joy, and the negatives that give us discomfort at times – fear, anger, and sadness.” The negative emotions are as important as the positive. All of them form our emotional energetic makeup and put together as agile as possible, it’s a fantastic compass for life. Without it we wouldn’t experience who we are and can become. We need to learn how to wax on and wax off, as Mr Miyagi says in the movie Karate Kid.

My spiritual mentor and I talk about wounds and vulnerability often. He says that I can’t cover up my heart and say I am strong at the same time. I used to equal vulnerability with weakness and powerlessness. I thought I had to be ‘strong’ and not vulnerable. I feared my vulnerability because then I exposed myself for potential injury and sadness. And the way to deal with that fear was to detach myself from anything close to deep emotions and/or to show them. I always seemed ‘rock-solid’. I was wrong. Vulnerability is the core of love, strength and courage. And yes, it’s connected to fear too. That’s why we to turn back to subordination, candy, alcohol, shopping, minimising ourselves or whatever the flavour of anaesthesia we prefer, so we won’t have to deal with it. Vulnerability is about the ability to be wounded and NOT fear it; to believe that we somehow will come out whole on the other side, that we are strong enough to be ruled by our hearts. It doesn’t have to be comfortable or even positive, but if I am wounded and believe I can heal, I am compassionate as a saint and strong as a soldier, as Caroline Myss (my Sacred Contract teacher) would say.

I come to think about a brilliant TedX talk I listened to last year, where Dr Brené Brown talks about vulnerability. So I post it here, as a closing argument for that fear is part of our intuitive system and that through our hearts we have access to the courage to express who we are – vulnerable and worthy. What we need is the chance to climb out from the place we got stuck in.

In’Lakesh, people – [I am another you and you are another me]

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overcoming uncertainty

The challenge of Day 29, by Sean Ogle: [Write down a major life goal you have yet to achieve or even begin to take action on. For each goal, write down three uncertainties (read: fears) you have relating to each goal. Break it down further, and write down three reasons for each uncertainty. When you have three reasons for your fear, you’ll be able to start processing the change because you know where the fear stems from. Now you’ll be able to make smaller changes that push you towards your larger goal. So begins the process of “trusting yourself.”]

© Adam Hughes "Snowbunny Padme and Yoda"

I read a quote somewhere (I forgot who it was, sorry!); ”Fear is just growth coming to get you”, and what I add to that quote is that fear is part of our intuitive system which resides in our right brain and should be listen to. Note, I said listen to, not ruled or governed by fear. To succumb to fear can be very paralysing, but perceived as a guide it’s a great teacher, if we dare to listen. Most of our experiences are about personal growth. I have found myself in absolutely fearful situations where fear is an adequate reaction, but mostly my fear portrays my resistance against change.

It’s not personal Mr Ogle, but I won’t jot down one major goal and attach 3 ‘fears’ and 3 ‘reasons’ for each fear to overcome whatever uncertainty I perceive. That’s enough of that in this #Trust30 challenge. Dark Night of my Soul will absolutely suffice in that respect. It’s not a major goal per se, but the profound knowledge and insights that comes with it is. Dark Night is all about confusion and uncertainty and one shouldn’t take it lightly, not at all. Anyone who experienced it knows what I talk about. I lived and breathed uncertainty, confusion and fear as almost palpable, and oh so insisting, friends in that type of darkness. I wanted to ‘die’, so I could live. It’s awful and is all-consuming and during this Ralph Waldo Emerson challenge I see that I have come a long way towards a new dawn. It’s a process and I think I’ll write a book instead or create a seminar, as a fellow writer suggested.

But what I will do, when uncertain and fearful, is to read my post ‘Alive-est’ again and again and say:   Getting wiser in my life I will

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

facing (and fearing)

The challenge of Day 19, by Dan Andrews: Trusting intuition and making decisions based on it is the most important activity of the creative artist and entrepreneur. [If you are facing (and fearing) a difficult life decision, ask yourself these three questions:]

Intuition. I love that word. In Wikipedia you find this explanation: “The word ‘intuition’ comes from the Latin word ‘intueri’, which is often roughly translated as meaning ‘to look inside’’ or ‘to contemplate’.”  To me it means to stay present to what resides inside you and listen with your heart and not your ears. That ‘voice’ is true more often than not. And yet, we tend to not hear it at all. The voice of Ego has a much stronger high-pitched voice and easily drowns our intuitive one.

Question One: “What are the costs of inaction?”

It depends. Sometimes the best action to take is to not do anything. Just to be still and be brave enough to wait. I have certainly done me share of outrunning myself through action, action and action. But I think I am more equipped today to ask myself better questions, listen to what my heart has to say and have more guts to not always try to “fix” whatever I perceive is broken. So how do I discern if I have to act or not? My spiritual mentor helped me with framing a question; “If I walk away from this, will I walk away sad in my heart?” And it has helped me. Whenever I want to act on or turn away from something I ask myself that and the answers are so intuitively correct I have begun to listen them. It’s the most important voice I have. One of the most life changing acts I have done, was to surrender to inaction. I ‘sat’ myself down on an inner stone within myself and waited for my soul to catch up and start to speak to me.That’s been going on for several years now but I am up and walking again so to say. Another life changing act was to act and sign up for this #trust30 challenge. I did it without examination, or trying to find the flaws, or think of the possibility of failure or humiliation, I just put myself in the hands of the unknown and in hind sight I can say that had I not, I would very likely still be in agony of the unexpressed creativity and yearnings in me that needs to see the day of light.

Question Two: “What kind of person do I want to be?”

Congruent. I want to be a congruent person. I want to mean what I say and say what I mean. I think it’s much harder than I think, due to all the lies I am capable of telling myself. It’s not about to never being afraid, that’s one hell of utopia. I will be afraid. That’s okay and necessary. Fear can be a very good teacher, guide and an intuitive poke showing you that you need to get clear about yourself. Fear can absolutely be crippling too. I have experienced it, as most of us have one way or another. But Steven Pressfield says: (I know I have quoted this as comments to some of my #trust30 friends before) “ We all live two lives. The one we live and the unlived life within. In between lies Resistance.” I find that brilliantly put. And the resistance could take the form of fear. But to be congruent is to be whole, integrated and true to what’s me. Yes, of course I want to be loving, compassionate, brave, tremendously creative, to be of service to others and healthy in mind, body and soul. But to be that I have to be fully congruent and that takes deep soul-searching and is a life long commitment.

Question Three: “In the event of failure, could I generate an alternative positive outcome?”

Absolutely. When bad, hard, outrageously challenging things happen  it might very hard to look at the situation through the lens of positivity and graciously embrace the lesson. As I look back on my life and my decisions I am more likely able to do that. I have had my hard knock experiences; bankruptcy, dark night of my soul, threats of violent nature, dealing with a tumour in my breast (which turned out benign, thank god), humiliation, disappointments and the list continues. But even if I won’t remember in a specific moment that I am going through a lesson, because I am busy experience it, I am a firm believer of that there aren’t really mistakes in life, only lessons. And I will continue to believe so, even if there will be days I’ll question what I just wrote.

And to end this prompt I just want to say that I think we face fear much more than we give ourselves credit for; we pick up the phone and make that uncomfortable call, we walk on to a stage even if we want turn around and run, we say our opinion in an business meeting fearing we will be rejected. We confront our fears often, maybe in small versions, but still. It’s when it takes you hostage it becomes dangerous to your soul, when it keeps you in the loop of spiritual scarcity . Fear is part of the human equation, and sometimes is sounds like we shouldnt have fear, that’s somehow bad to experience fear. It’s not as long as we can look at it as intuitive guidance and not something to fear.

So don’t fear the reaper. Fear it’s just growth coming to get you.

fear

The challenge of Day 12, by Lachlan CotterIs fear holding you back from living your fullest life and being truly self expressed? Is the insecurity you’re defending worth the dream you’ll never realize? or the love you’ll never venture? or the joy you’ll never feel? [Will the blunder matter in 10 years? Or 10 weeks? Or 10 days? Or 10 minutes? ]


 ”Is fear holding me back? […]

My easiest answer would be check out my answer to prompt #9 and prompt #8. It sums it up pretty much. I have also written about, in earlier posts, where I find myself in this moment of time in my life, as a caterpillar in a cocoon waiting to emerge after the transformation to a butterfly. So to write again about fear. Please, give me a break. It took a lot from me to write what I did. It feels so repetitive.


 […] Can you be happy being anything less than who you really are?

Truthfully, I can’t imagine myself BEING less than I am, but that doesn’t mean I am fully “I”. But how do I know when I am really I? Is there such a thing as a completion of one’s Self? Is there an end to that road, of exploration of self-knowledge and discovery? I do believe that is what we do. We discover ourselves as we live our lives. We are a walking and breathing potentials of extraordinary proportions that we have no knowledge the scale of. I am a work-in-progress and will hopefully continue to discover my greatness, my shortcomings, my fullness, my emptiness, my talents, my ignorance, my heart and my soul with each breath I take. I will inhale and I will exhale. Sometimes consciously and with intent, and sometimes rather blindly without awareness of whom I am. With each moment of my life, I contribute to the collective learning. It’s a legacy of itself. That is why it’s crucial to Know Thyself. How do you impact the world and the evolution through who you are? Get to know yourself deeply.

 

 […]Will the blunder matter in 10 years, 10 weeks?[…] 

I suppose this prompt is about accomplishments and achievements and that we shouldn’t hold our selves back from being audacious. If I hold myself back throughout my life, my whole life, that blunder would be very tragic and it would matter. It would contribute to the collective learning of human evolution, maybe not towards greatness but towards littleness. Is that good or bad? Most of us might say it would be bad, including I, because we only have a limited amount of time in our lives. We are a species capable of creating heaven and hell on earth, holding the power to determine the future for all species co-existing with us in our hands. Instead of investing or putting our time on things that doesn’t matter and are destructive, we should put use of it to serve the betterment of others and ourselves. You know the saying; lost time can never be retrieved.

So I began to think of time; is time linear? No I don’t think so. Time is spiral, if anything. We live repetitive because we like to recognise the familiar. We experience the seasons every year, the Mondays every week, the night and days and so on. But it isn’t exactly the same ever. Each day that passes will never come again exactly as it was before. Every second does count. Every moment is important. Do we have to be stressed about it? Well, no. But we are. What if we miss out what is supposed to come our way? How much time do we have to live the life we want? As much as we are given and sometimes what we want is not what we need, it’s not what humanity needs.

 

 […]Now do. The thing. You fear.

How are genuine pearls created? It must first be noted that a real pearl comes about by chance – without any human interference.  It is not a normal behaviour of the mussel to create a pearl. It’s more about protecting themselves against something that has entered the mussel. Parasites in the form of worms or larvae penetrate the mussel, which tries to bump them out. If this fails, the mussel encapsulates the stranger. In order for a pearl to be formed it requires that the parasite has with it a fragment of mussel mantle tissue. This tissue cell divides, and after about ten days, a sack is formed around the parasite. Then the mussel “weaves” layer upon layer and so forms a true pearl.

Now replace the word mussel with soul, pearl with consciousness, parasites with challenges and mussel mantle tissue with ego. Read the story again and you have evolution of human consciousness. So my fear I am already doing; I work to not become overcome by parasites but instead weave layer upon layer of my experiences into a higher level of me – the pearl. I didn’t think of myself before #Trust30 as particular integrated or aligned with myself or that I was especially spiritually evolved. But since I made the commitment to write every day for 30 days, I have discovered that I actually am much more congruent and aligned than I gave myself credit for. Like the pearl under creation, my evolution takes time.

Will my existence matter in 100 years? Will my blunders matter in 10 years? Will my greatness matter in 10 months? Will I matter in 10 seconds? Absolutely. In the smallest scale I can think of, but also in the biggest scale I can think of. But not in the way my narrow egotistical mind would like to think; that I should fear humiliation, should strive for perfection, should think that the universe evolves around me, myself and I. So let’s do a time perception experiment.

Universe is, what we know today, 13 billion years old. If we shrink it one billion times, so that the history of the Universe can fit into just 13 years, we get a very interesting scale. On this scale, our Earth would have been formed 5 years ago. The first multi-celled organisms would have evolved 7 months ago. After flourishing for several weeks, the dinosaurs would have been wiped out by an asteroid impact about three weeks ago. The first hominines would have appeared about three days ago and our own species just 53 minutes ago. The first agriculturalists would have flourished about 5 minutes ago and the first agrarian civilizations would have appeared just 3 minutes ago. Modern industrial societies would have existed for just 6 seconds.

In that scale the modern humans have only lived for a blink of an eye, but since we have evolved into a species of high complexity and high energy we are significant even in cosmological scales. We evolve. We change. We live. We die. We are part of the universal dance of creation. While I have time, I will participate with everything I got inside me. If I fall, or fail, I will allow myself to feel whatever pain or fear I experience. But I will however dust myself off, encapsulate whatever worm I meet and integrate that experience into my soul, turn it into a pearl and continue to be a flux of evolution-ness and share what I have learned. And fear is part of it.

What pearl of knowledge do you create? What do you know for sure?

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