On Fear & Self-Awareness

Photo By Joan Beard

As someone who writes about healing, happiness, and self-realization, I find myself constantly struggling between a desire to share personal experiences I believe may help readers and avoiding loss of the message in the details of my own tragedies and triumphs.  That being the case, I do not ordinarily share anything with you until I have (1) experienced it; (2) survived it; (3) reflected upon it and sought out its deepest meaning; and (4), basically, feel good about the whole thing.

That is good, honest writing; but it is cautious and holds something back.  I have recently decided that I no longer want to hold back anything that might help someone else through their own healing and self-realization process.

All that said, I am currently experiencing something that I believe is very important to my own healing and self-realization process; and several insights occurred to me today that I believe you might find interesting (even useful).     It is a very unpleasant situation and one I would rather not “have” to deal with.  Nonetheless, I have too much experience in these matters not to believe that I am going through exactly what I need to experience in order to heal old wounds and grow in very meaningful ways.

When it is over (and it will eventually be over), I will look back on it with a sense of gratitude — that same sense of gratitude that allows me to maintain peace and happiness most days.  The peace and happiness I want each and every one of you to know and embrace.

So, here goes –

The issue is not an actual emergency.  There is no real threat.  Due to someone else’s actions, I am currently without a vehicle and have been left with very limited resources for acquiring another one.  I recently moved to a rural area in a new state and am not that familiar with either the area or its people.  I have very kind neighbors, however, and several of them have really gone out of their way to assist me with rides to town since this situation developed last week.  Again, there is no “real” and present danger.  I understand this.  In fact, to most people, this situation would be simply annoying, inconvenient, and frustrating . . . but not heart-wrenching, tortuous and stressful.  Most people are not me.

The reasons why being trapped (literally or figuratively) create such a tremendous sense of fear and distress for me stem from my childhood; and I know exactly what those reasons are.   I know that what I am actually dealing with is a “perceived threat” — one that exists only within my mind.  It is a cacohphony of conscious thoughts built on memories and intermingled with unconscious fears.  The threat is, however, very “real” to a part of me that needs to heal.

I know all of this.  I can rationalize it; break it down; evaluate it; hide it from those around me; let it consume me; OR I can acknowledge my fears, face them, deal with them in healthy ways . . . and heal.

Photo by Laura Shreck

The latter is my current plan, as uncomfortable as it may be.  Why?  Because I know that, if I do not deal with these feelings (if I do not acknowledge a very real wound that needs to heal for me to maintain the peace and happiness I have worked so hard to create), this fear and the wounds behind it will just keep popping up like toast until I do deal with it.

This will not be as easy as it might sound.  It is a different experience to stay present with one’s pain and fear and start asking some very important questions while the crisis is still in progress.  

The part of our brain that is primarily responsible for dealing with stress (including activation of the sympathetic nervous system and its “fight,” “flight,” or “freeze” responses) is the limbic system. The limbic system has often been referred to as the “emotional brain” because of its strong influence on emotions.  The limbic system does not sort out our fears and catalog them according to how “real” the threat might be.  It does not distinguish whether the object of our fear relates to our physical safety or the preservation of our ego or harm to a part of us that is trapped in the past.  It simply registers “threat” = fear = responses necessary.  It is primal – a basic instinct that is not receptive to reason.

The problem, too often, is that it is so very tempting to just neutralize or eliminate the threat (by any means possible) without ever stopping to evaluate all the attendant thought processes and feelings that are “popping up” while we’re in the trenches.  Our natural tendency is to think “I want this situation, these feelings (all of it) over NOW.  I’ll analyze it later.”  It is much simpler to calmly analyze and reflect upon an event, situation, feeling, or thought process once we are certain that the crisis has passed.

Once the crisis has ended and we have survived the threat (which is nearly always what happens), we can wisely ask ourselves questions like “Why did that have to happen?,” “What did I learn from that experience?”,  “Why was I so afraid?” “What needs to happen for me to release this fear?” and more.

This process is the process of introspection and reflection that leads to self-discovery, healing, and change.  It is a process that supports self-awareness.  Self-awareness is not only beneficial to healing and happiness but it is necessary, if we are to ever become all that we are capable of becoming.

I wonder, however, what would happen if we were to try our very best to focus on these important questions (to stay present and engaged in introspection) while “the crisis” is still in progress?  

What if we mixed instinct with intuition but tapered it with intellect?

What if we were to not only feel the pain and fear but not try to rush through it – not try to end it before it had run its course and touched our soul?  

What if we tried to understand our fears while we were in the process of being afraid — before we reached a place of “safety” . . .before we had the faded and sometimes self-deceptive vision that is hindsight?

Well, it is my theory that (by taking this approach) we heal and grow in ways that are deeper and more meaningful than any other form of self-reflection and awareness.  To face our fears takes courage.  To dig deep and confront what lies within us that makes us afraid in the first place takes strength and wisdom that surpasses courage.  It is in these moments that we are truly measured.

It is my theory that, if we can do this — if we can embark upon and follow through with this process, having faith that we will successfully endure the brutal assaults of the unconscious along the way, our souls can and will connect with the Divine in ways that bring them one step closer to home.  

That is my theory.  And I am in the process of putting that theory into practice now.

Perhaps, one day, you and I can discuss how it goes.  For now, I may be “away” from the blog for a while.  I hope you’ll keep stopping by and checking for new posts in the meantime and/or browse through any older posts you might have missed.  Also, there will still be continuing updates and new materials shared on the blog’s Facebook Page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Taming-The-Invisible-Dragon/165737496886447).

I do not know whether this experience will last a week. a month, or longer.

Know this, however – when I return to you . . . I will be a little wiser . . .  a little happier . . . and a lot closer to becoming whole than I was when I left you.  I may or may not have another vehicle, but I will no longer be trapped.

© 06/27/12

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4 Comments

  1. Jacki

     /  June 28, 2012

    You inspire me. Through your honesty and devotion to yourself and the fact that you are sharing and feeding many with your self discovery is an amazing feat. Wheels or no wheels baby you of all people will always get to where you are going!
    Jacki x

    Reply
  2. Thank you Jacki! Love and Light, S

    Reply
  3. Good luck and many blessings on this journey. I very much related to this. I have a tendency to let fear overtake me when I get sick. Just went through a long bout and I kept questioning my fear. I know where it stems from, but don’t know how to release it yet. May we both find these fears replaced by peace.

    Reply
    • What an interesting synchronicity. Two seconds ago, I posted a comment on your blog, responding to your post about who & what we are. It seems we share a special connection, my friend, and one I am glad for. Until we connect again, enjoy many blessings, S

      Reply

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