Category Archives: overcoming fear

Downgrade Fear By Upgrading Your Thinking

I knew an agoraphobic who lived her life as a recluse. Everything worried her. She lived in a continual state of fear. She kept her shades drawn, never letting in any light. Her home was very dark, the air stale, the energy heavy.

Cancer finally cured her.

She said it was the best thing that ever happened to her because it forced her out of her comfort zone to get the help and treatment she needed, and as a result, she began living her life again once she was cancer-free.

We don’t need something drastic like cancer to happen to us to move us past our fear.

We can move past fear by taking responsibility for it.

Much of our fear comes from downgraded thinking. Rather than focus on our possibilities, we play out the worst-case scenarios in our minds, and as we play them over and over, we get addicted to this kind of thinking. Sooner or later, we end up tumbling down the staircase into a dark pit of despair.

We hit bottom.

Ouch. And then we are faced with a serious choice.

Do we stay there? Or, do we find a way out?

Finding our way out requires us to upgrade our thinking.

Our brains are designed to seek solutions.

When I was a kid, we didn’t have video games. We had to make up our own games. One fun (and scary) game was flashlight tag…in the graveyard.

Well, I was “it” and had to search for someone to tag. As I was creeping around, I didn’t see a newly dug grave and in I went. I screamed for help, but no one came. They were too busy running away from me!

The grave was just deep enough where I couldn’t climb out.  I. Was. Petrified.

It was dark. It was cold. My heart knocked at my ribs. I kept imagining zombies coming to kill me. My mind became a circus of fear. I screamed again, and then I got angry. So I started kicking the wall of dirt in front of me. Each time I kicked I left an indentation.

And then it hit me. If I made a few more indents in the wall, I could climb out! I went to work with my flashlight, using it to carve out spaces for my feet so I could step up and get the leverage I needed to lift myself out. My fear left me. I was out in no time. Bruised and battered, but out.

When the solution came to me, my thinking immediately shifted from one of panic to one of freedom. An opportunity presented itself, and I took action.

Otherwise, the zombies would have gotten me.

Moving past fear means moving through it. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where there seems to be no solution whatsoever. That’s because we are focused on the fear of no solution. As soon as we upgrade our thinking from an outdated version, by telling ourselves that there is a solution, that fear downgrades and we find ourselves pushing through with a renewed vitality.

The first step is the biggest step, and that is the step we take within when we change our thinking from one of defeat to one of victory.

You take the first step. Source takes the second step. By the time you get to the third step, you realize that it was Source that took the first step. Source was with you the whole time.

And all those zombies that you invented can now rest in peace.

Spiritwork:

Masterminds Emerson and Twain both said, “Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.” When you confront the T-Rex of fear, it turns into a tiny gekko. If you run from it, it will continue to chase you and consume you.

Think of something you’ve always feared doing. Maybe it’s an activity like ballroom dancing or parasailing, or it’s something that directly addresses a phobia.

Divide a piece of paper into two columns. On the left hand side, list that fear.  Carefully express and define exactly what it is you are afraid of. On the right hand side, write the steps that need to be taken in order to overcome this fear that you created. These steps may be personal or practical. As you write your solutions, your brain will store them, mull them over, and eventually generate some creative and useful responses.

Looking at your list of steps to take, choose one to work on and begin today. Start with the easiest one. When you accomplish it, celebrate yourself, and then move on to the next step.

Blessings.

Related Posts:

Read the introduction to 31 Days of Spiritual Growth here, and find links to all posts in this series.

Taking The Plunge

Learning to fly spiritually can be frightening.

You don’t know what to expect.

It’s all so new, but at the same time, it’s not.

You’ve seen others doing it, and doing it quite well.

Will you soar to new heights?

Or will you crash and burn?

Your awakening to Spirit has you on edge.

You want to remain in the nest of your comfort zone, but deep down you know you will not be able to fly unless you spread your wings and jump.

Reminds me of the time I was learning survival training skills before taking on a five-day whitewater challenge on a river with class six rapids. Our instructor led us to a cliff. We were to jump into the river and float on our backs with our legs out in front of us. This would allow us to push off of any boulders with our feet. It was all part of our self-rescue plan should we flip our crafts or get thrown from them.

I was instructed to go first.

Gulp. I felt like the sacrificial lamb.

As I crept toward the edge, the roar of the river echoed and thrummed through every inch of me. “Holy S***!” I said, knowing full well that everyone else was thinking the same thing, with the exception of the instructor.

All of my training had led to this precipice, and now I had to put my own life in danger in order to save it.

I leaned over the edge to survey my surroundings as adrenaline shot through my body. I stepped back to get a running start. When the instructor shouted, “GO!,” I ran and leapt into the face of fear with a big splash, trusting that the skills I had learned would lead to my self-rescue. And they did. It was a step I had to take if I was going to be able to continue this adventure. I finally felt ready for what was next.

The spiritual path will lead you to many cliffs within yourself, and you will be faced with the decision to cross those divides, or to turn and run away. Some will be easy to jump, and others will not. But if you are to continue on your pilgrimage, you must do what you are called to do. This means purging your old self, those old, limiting ways, to welcome your new self.

This purging is a cleansing. It is the process of bringing our behavior, our attitudes, our desires into increasing harmony with our growing vision of what the spiritual life is all about in order to deepen the stage of illumination and shape our experience of union with Spirit. Here, we face and cleanse ourselves of our fears and of our limiting beliefs and behaviors that have held us back for so long from our authentic selves.

Rest assured that Spirit will be very gracious in revealing those things about ourselves, not all at once, but only as we are able to deal with them.

This cleansing gets right to the heart of our deep-seated attitudes and inner programming out of which our behavior patterns flow. It gets right at those inner structures of trust that don’t rely on Spirit but on our ego for our well-being. The structures that are not built on solid spiritual ground will crumble, but this is the point where we are called to exercise the fullness of faith in order to enter into a relationship of radical trust in Spirit.

You may at times feel that you are being “crucified” on this cliff, but this is because of the struggle of our two selves: the self that is not yet all that it has been created to be and the self that stands on the other side, whole and complete in Spirit. But once we take the plunge, Spirit will be there, and we will be filled with the peace that passes all understanding.

Spiritwork:

Do a cleansing ritual of your inner self. No, you don’t have to jump off of a cliff into a river to do this. All you have to do is take a shower (or you can visualize this). As you are standing in the shower, imagine the water as droplets of light washing away your old, limiting beliefs. See them for what they are, bless them, feel them slipping away from your inner self, and allow them to rinse down the drain.

As they slip away, say: “Thank you for the message. I release you in love to the Light for healing and transformation.” Step out of the shower, feeling refreshed and renewed. This can be repeated at any time.

This next two exercises are aimed at your trust structures. The first requires a partner. You are to blindfold yourself and allow your partner to guide you outside in an area with which you are not familiar. Your partner can not touch you and can only voice instructions. You may switch roles when finished. Discuss your experience with your partner.

A similar activity requires a group of 6 – 8 people. Everyone stands in a circle, in a spotting position (feet braced in a front-to-back stance). You get to stand in the middle, with eyes closed and arms across your chest. When you are ready, say, “Ready to fall,” and then fall backwards without stopping yourself. Allow the others to catch you and gently pass you around. When everyone has participated (if they feel in alignment with it), discuss your experiences with each other.

Blessings.

Related Posts:

Read the introduction to 31 Days of Spiritual Growth here, and find links to all posts in this series.

Fear’s Worst Enemy

Yesterday I shared an experience that illustrated how fear can get the best of us (see “Things That Go Grunt In The Night”). While it turned out to be a funny (and wet!) situation, the fear seemed very real as my imagination ran wild.

Fear, or as my friend and Life Coach Kathy Hadley reminds people, is nothing more than False Evidence Appearing Real. And she’s right. Fear is nothing more than an illusion.

And it can be one of the biggest challenges we experience.

How many times have you been afraid to try something new?  Or afraid to change something, even though your current methods weren’t working?

If you are like most, when fear strikes, you may experience physical symptoms, such as rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, paralysis or immobilization, elevated blood pressure, increased perspiration, tense and energized muscles, hives or skin rashes, just to name a few. This stresses the body, so to combat it, the body releases stress hormones, like cortisol, into your bloodstream. If the body is stressed over a period of time, severe conditions may occur, if not treated.

So, why do we let it get the best of us?

Fear is often based in a lack of knowledge or understanding. Not knowing the outcome of a situation leaves us to our imaginations. When we don’t know or understand something, we assume. Many times those assumptions trick us into thinking the worst. The survival part of us wants to know exactly what is going to happen; it wants guarantees and safety. This lack of knowledge fans the flames of our fears, and suddenly we have a fiery monster breathing in our direction.

But fear has an enemy. The kryptonite of knowledge.

Rather than react to your fear, you can take a proactive approach by arming yourself with knowledge. Just becoming informed about that which scares you can shift everything. The “unknown” now becomes the known.

True, some fears may be deeper rooted and much more complex than anticipated; these may take more time to address and may require the help of a life coach/professional.  But oftentimes, our fears will vanish simply by learning more about the things we are avoiding.

Knowledge is our ally against fear. The next time you find yourself feeling great resistance toward something, take a deep breath, get out the kryptonite and inform yourself, and then poof! That monster of fear dissipates into a puff of smoke, and you become your own superhero.

In what ways do you use your superpowers to conquer fear? Please share below.