“When you face your demons in the deep dark forest
they tend to become your friends.”
I love harvesting apples off of the trees, but I have such mixed feelings with the coming of October. On the one hand, the weather is usually still beautiful, the leaves are colorful, and the air has a slightly crisp quality.
On the other hand, the days are becoming shorter, the nights are longer, and I have to stay inside more when what I really love is being outside, walking my doges, watching the birds, and sitting under the trees. But as we mature in life, we learn how to look at both hands, not just the one we prefer.
Fear comes in many tones and shades. If I am honest, there is something about October that brings out a bit of fear in me and in others I love and work with. Perhaps it is the shortening of the days, the premonition of a cold winter, too much time in doors without the exhilaration of spring and summer, or sad memories of family holidays gone wrong.
Fear is often the underside of love. When I think about why we often don’t do things we really want to do, or why we don’t change our lifestyle when we know it isn’t good for us, I suspect fear is beneath it. And then I remind myself that fear is the underside of love.
Think about something you want to do but for some reason just don’t. What would that be? We often have many excuses for why we don’t do something we say we want to do. In fact, we are clearer about our excuses than we are of what makes us uncomfortable about pursuing what we truly long for. I suspect, sometimes, what keeps us stuck in fear is rooted in a blind loyalty to someone in our family.
An example of the blind loyalty is when we don’t go for a job, as a woman, outside of the home or we don’t know what we want to do and don’t know why. When we look more closely at the family, we see that the woman’s mother didn’t work outside of the home. She always wanted to, but was told not to. So mom gave up a career to raise a family, and her daughter, the woman, feels she has to do the same thing. It is a blind loyalty in that she doesn’t know why she can’t go for the job, and she is doing the same thing her mother did. As long as we can’t see our unconscious motivation to stay at home, we can’t do things differently. We just know we are afraid to work out of the home. Once we can shed some light on the fear, we then find that the fear doesn’t have as much pull on us. It frees us to go for what we truly love.
Fear and love are opposite sides of the same continuum. When we are fearful, we look for where the love is hiding. This woman’s fear is an unconscious way she loves her mother by giving her the ultimate compliment in doing it like her mom. Here in this example, she loves her mother by being afraid to go for a career as her mother gave up hers. There are so many examples of fear keeping us from our soul’s purpose. Shedding light on the fear, on the shadow side, frees us to truly love what we love.
Shift Your Story: Guided Visualization/Meditation
Sit down and gently plant your feet on the ground underneath you. If you feel so moved, take your ipad or pad of paper and pen with you. Take a couple of deep breaths to clear your mind. Ask yourself:
· What do I want to do that I am not presently doing?
· What is keeping me from doing this?
· As I either think about, or actually begin to take steps to do this thing, what, if any, do I do to sabotage it?
· As I begin to take steps to do this thing, what happens and what do I feel in my body?
Write down your answers to the above questions. Now, in your mind’s eye, see yourself actually taking the steps to doing this thing that something is keeping you from. See yourself finding the job, leaving the house, going on a trip by yourself, leaving a bad relationship, going towards a new relationship; whatever this may be. Feel what it is like for you, and if there is any fear or anxiety or discomfort, see yourself doing it anyway. Register and write down the feelings that come up for you. Look back in your life and your family and see if there is a message somewhere that you have internalized that may be keeping you from changing; mom doesn’t do that, dad did it this way, no one in the family does this, etc. Just look inside and see and write down what comes up for you.
Then take a couple of deep breaths, tune back into your body here and now, and open your eyes if they were closed.
Remember that underneath almost every fear there is a love. As you tune into what that is and shed some light into the dark places, something new has a possibility to open up.
Again, if you would like, after you try this exercise, feel free to email me as I would love to hear how this works for you! Here is to freeing some energy to our more full, vital and healthy lives.