19 January this year is what I’ve chosen to call Neck-Gate day (better than Neck-maggedon I think). It’s when a routine visit to the Osteopath turned into a stream of events – from fear and anxiety, to deep self evaluation and repair, to anger and blame, and peace of presence…
I’ll spare you the long version of this incident, mostly because I’m still swimming through its aftermath.
Instead let’s share the useful insights and tools, as I discover them on my journey to solid postural strength and psychological resilience and flexibility. I’ll share one today, and then more in a series of messages here.
Many roads lead to Rome…
… is not the original phrase – I know…
But one of the “roads“ I believe got me to this toddler-level existence at the age of 45 is fear.
It took me a lot of journalling to unveil the truth, because at the age of 45 I’d already done a great job of intellectualising anything you might readily identify as FEAR.
I’m a strong girl who creates her own journey intentionally. Fear! Bah! I walk towards it… I thought…
Add the fact that I’ve a long track record of physical and mental strength, you can see how if you’d confronted me with the question: Anita what are you afraid of in life? I’d have said a few trusty standards like: I’m afraid of losing loved ones, physical disability, maybe a little of flying (you know that thing we used to do in a massive, winged tin can in the sky).
Nothing unusual… all human nature right.
But only in the grips of this sudden disability did I get to see for real, just how much of my daily life revolved around the F word!
Fear feels like CONSTRICTION
I invite you to see fear not just as its intellectual representative, but to look for it in its physical manifestation.
Where is it in your body?
It feels like constriction.
Constriction around your though processes. Your views on life. Your posture. The way you exercise and the exercises you choose. The way you talk to others. The social activities you choose. How you structure your day. And what activities you prioritise. Constriction around your heart. Your jaw. Your mid or upper back. Your core???
For me even some thought and behavior patterns I had labelled as negativity – turned out to be actual fear. It’s a constricted place to operate from…
Example: I nag my husband to do his sauna detox sessions regularly = fear that heavy metal toxicity may cause early cognitive decline if he doesn’t = fear of losing him earlier than reasonable.
Example 2: In a call with peers I keep silent and don’t share what i believe is a very useful tip relevant to our conversation = fear that I’m talking too much and may be seen as a know-it-all.
You – can you think of something that’s a fear in disguise?
Here’s the thing:
we ALL have fear!
If we’re alive and human we’re driven by fear in some way – tiny or bogusly humongous (and all the nuances in-between).
So if you can’t think of any – you’ve not thought deeply enough, or you just can’t see/read your own “labels“.
What to do with yours?
All fears should be faced and evaluated, if you fancy not being ruled by them.
Some fears should be limited and or eliminated (ones that serve no purpose).
And – I figured – some fears can be embraced and used for fuel.
They’re already embedded in your mind and they pop-up in all sorts of circumstances – so they’re a ready-to-use abundant source of drive. Instead of trying to squash them and fight them, why not turn their energy to good!
Here’s how to do that very simply:
First make sure your fear really shouldn’t be eliminated. Ask yourself if this is a rational fear? Is there evidence to the contrary, i.e. why you’re not justified to fear what you fear.
For example – fear of sharks when you live in a landlocked country, away from shark containing bodies of water, and when not travelling to such bodies of water – you could argue isn’t a very useful rational fear.
Fear of losing your loved ones to the current Covid pandemic… very true and present one…
Now you’ve decided if your fear is rational, you can do this simple re-frame that maps on to my favorite life algorithm – your A.B.C. (awareness – breathe – choose).
A = you become aware of fearing the wellbeing of your mom. You label that – “I’m afraid I may lose her and that makes me feel sad and constricted.”
Become aware of the physical AND psychological sensation of that fear – that’s its id – its signature in your being.
B = take a moment and ideally a space-creating breath. This not only calms you, but it also creates a physical AND mental space between you and the fear.
C = choose to turn this fear ‘s energy (psychological AND physiological) into a reason, a trigger, to feel GRATITUDE.
See – now you end up feeling grateful that your mom is doing really well right now. She’s taking good care of her health. She’s feeling upbeat for taking care of herself. And you pick up the phone and text her to tell her how much you care – right now.
This little ABC pause turns a well of fear-fuel into a multitude of blissful moments. Multiple moments that have a ripple effect – like the wings of a butterfly.
Not only do you create a special moment for your brain and heart, but you pass that on to another person, or activity, or cause…
Your turn, i.e your call to action…
Have you ever used this technique before and where/when?
If not yet – what one fear could you see yourself converting into gratitude-fuel?
Let me know below, and of course consider taking a Totem to the intention to turn the fear you just identified to fuel for gratitude :o)