Lately I have been observing conversations, actions and motives of others. I cannot help but see that each of the topics, body language, interpersonal skills are driven by the ultimate emotion of fear. It is natural and normal to feel fear, but it is even more important to not let it drive your incentives. I personally feel fear when my mind starts to play out scenarios that do not exist. For example, when I see an ambulance zoom past me in congested traffic, sirens blazing and lights flashing, my stomach drops. I start to imagine that someone is trapped or hurt and I fear if the vehicle doesn’t meet its destination in time will it be the inevitable disaster or more importantly do their family and friends know and how will they respond to this incident. As a result I rush home to see if my loved ones are okay, or call my family and even scan social media for any connection that my mind has made, with a sign of relief I begin my day again. How did this fear come to me? One memory I have, even though I was in Australia, of the ambulance finding my mothers body during her car accident. It makes me deeply sad, because I think of the moment when the police knocked on my fathers door, and he collapsed at the news of hearing his beloved had passed. This is fear from a place of personal experience.
Fear, is a little devil. When I witness motives of others, through the choices they make are driven from a place of fear. Fear that they will be ridiculed in front of others, fear that people will find out that they are human, fear of being alone, fear of not having enough, fear of being judged, fear of their reputation but most of all fear of being vulnerable. One example, is when i’m working on a project and someone deliberately withholds information which could potentially make part of the process or experience more effective. Through the practice of yoga I’ve become to understand that the situation of not being fully informed was because some people do not want to feel inadequate in their role, or they feel undervalued because they didn’t develop this part of the process or idea. I’ve learned to not take things like this personally, it doesn’t make me a hero of any kind, but it gives me the lens of empathy and compassion, to assist these people. Fear is a cry for help, without using words or being honest about why they feel the way they do.
Another prime aspect of fear, is the stories we tell ourselves over and over again. We replay these scenarios repeatedly in our head so much that we believe them to be real. In a way this limits our own and others potential to look at a situation from a distance and see it for what it is rather than paint it with our own emotions. I remember when I was a little kid and my parents used to take us to theme parks, they thought it was entertainment. My brother would love them, which made me not like them even more. It was the thought of all those people rushing around going on rides and then the dreaded roller-coaster ride that made me feel and digest fear like it was this wall I had to climb and I was the only one who could understand. My fear included ideas of the ride not working properly and flying off into the crowd. The fear of the frame having a screw loose which will damage my own experience and that of others. I’m a kid, where did these thoughts come from? I would say to my parents, with a brave face, I will look after the bags while they go on the ride, of course i’m at the entrance and then I wouldn’t see them for about an hour, because the exit was on the other side. Not only was I traumatised by this episode in my life but I also felt alone and constantly in search of my family because I didn’t want to be stranded. One thing this experience gave me was great searching skills, I have the ability to find friends and family in big crowds quickly. The other most important aspect was to exhale. Taking a breath out made things a little easier to comprehend. Always reminding me that it could be worse and every thing is now okay.
A few tips I’ve learned over the years that might help in making friends with fear:
Breath – by exhaling a deep breath in and a deep breath out, you bring your focus back to the present moment. In that moment you have a choice to carry on with whats on your mind or you just go for that roller-coaster ride and grow from the experience.
Heart – connect with your heart. The heart will reassure you that all is well and you know you’re doing your best regardless of what is happening. Here you start to respond with empathy and compassion towards those who put road blocks in your path.
Get out of your way – this one is important, as my teacher David Life always tells us that we are our own road blocks, or we make that mountain harder than what it is because we get caught up in our own story which at the best of times not the full story. Here we start to get over all those conditions we comply to because they make us feel safe. The magic is always on the other side of feeling safe.
Surrender – this one is hard. Surrendering means giving it all up and going for it even if you feel that it might be pointless. The point of surrendering, is relaxing in that moment you’re about to jump out of a plane and noting matters because there is no other way out but the experience at hand. Surrendering is also about letting go of the idea of ‘what could happen?’. It’s embracing the moment to its full potential and in turn you experience life in that manner.
Trust – is a big one. Trust overrides everything, because you have to learn to know yourself and the situation in order to trust that it will be okay. But life doesn’t really work like that. You have to trust that feeling in your heart. You have to learn to trust its going to be fine, which comes with experience. Trust comes from a place when you’ve got a deep understanding of your own capabilities. Trusting the unknown is always difficult, because we want to be in control of the situation or the direction and even the outcome. I’ve found, sometimes not knowing is a pleasant surprise and it exceeds expectation.
I don’t have the fear of dying, because I have so many loved ones on the other side and I know i’ll see them again. My biggest fear is not being able to live my life to my full potential, which means i have to learn to know the balance between comfort and challenge, and this is when the growth happens. As you may have heard ‘feel the fear, but do it anyway’.