If you have anxiety, this practice is for you!
Last week I decided that I was going to dedicate a whole day to acknowledging my fear. Every time I had any inkling that fear was coming up, I would dive deeper into the feeling and let it develop. Admittedly, I have developed many deep seated and effective behaviors and mind games precisely designed to divert my attention away from fear, so it wasn’t easy. Since childhood, I have always been on the anxious side, and, in many ways, my career as a therapist has been a pursuit of methods and practices to calm the mind and relax the body. After reading the bestseller, Untamed, by Glennon Doyle, however, I was encouraged to face my fear. Glennon Doyle suffers from bi-polar disorder, and this has become an essential practice for her to maintain her sanity. “I resurrect myself every day, in every moment that I allow myself to feel and become. It’s my daily reminder to let myself burn to ashes and rise, new.”
You’ve probably heard the expression that everything is either love or fear. Since I am interested in creating more love in my life, that notion became my guide. Any thought or behavior that was not loving was a signal to let the fear into my awareness and stay with it as long as possible. The first time I tried it, my attention was drawn to an area of chronic pain in my hip. I stayed with it, and a memory surfaced from my 20s, when I was terrified walking to my car after evening seminars at graduate school. There was a news story at the time about the Night Stalker, who had raped and killed many women. I would have one of my keys ready to defend myself just in case I got attacked. Letting go of all that built up fear was intense, but very rewarding because as I did, I simultaneously felt a great sense of expansiveness and aliveness move into the old contracted tension in my body. Now I make sure to check in with my hip every so often, and consciously release any holding in that area.
The Fear Experiment – If You Dare
Set aside some time and a place where you will not be disturbed for 30-60 minutes. It is important to create a safe and sacred container by lighting a candle or burning incense. Ask your higher self or spiritual guides to be present with you as you go inside, and drop into a space of allowing your fear to be present with you. Start breathing deeply and melting and relaxing into the experience. Open yourself up to feeling whatever you feel, and sensing whatever you sense. Then… simply notice where your attention goes.
When you have had enough, bring your awareness back into the present and write down what you experienced. You can also dance, sing, or make some art about it as the arts are very effective for moving and processing old energy.
And let me know what happens!
In the words of James Hollis, PhD., “The current crisis presents an enormous opportunity for encountering oneself and granting ourselves permission to really own our own lives – if we can bear it.”