“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” Joseph Campbell
What is your first reaction to an unpleasant surprise? How much fear do you feel? How do you deal with that fear?
When you suddenly get news you are not expecting, does it make you anxious or fearful? When it’s bad news, you may often feel fear. You don’t know what to expect. You’re not sure how to solve this problem. You are concerned it will cause other problems or create conflicts with the important people in your life.
Fear Always Tries To Control the Mind
We all have our coping mechanisms. We may withdraw or try to avoid the challenge. We may confront it. We may analyze it thoroughly before choosing a course of action. If the situation has stirred up a great deal of fear, the fear will take over our mind and lead us to deal with the fear rather than solve the problem. So how can we embrace the unexpected and not allow the fear to control our course of action?
A few weeks ago, as I drove down a two lane street in a residential neighborhood, a woman in a car suddenly darted in front of me. Stunned, I hit the brakes, skidded, and hit her back door. As the pain surged through my chest as a result of being thrown against the steering wheel, fear flooded my mind. How could this happen? The seat belt didn’t hold. She had a stop sign. She looked right at me. She must have seen me, but she hadn’t seen me, despite looking right at me.
Natural Fear Can Help Protect Us
Just before the accident, as I approached the intersection, my natural fear had kicked in and said, “Slow down, watch out.” I did and saw the woman almost not stop at the stop sign. Then she stopped, released her brake and stopped again. I slowed down, but when she looked at me, I felt it was safe and kept going. The natural fear I had felt was the body’s attempt to protect me. This is the fear we all need.
Psychological Fears Create Negative Drama
But there was another fear that I experienced as soon as I realized I was conscious and could stand up. I was then afraid that the pain I felt was a serious injury and I became very distressed. As other people tried to help and I climbed into an ambulance to go to the emergency room, my fear ran wild. The six and a half hours I spent in the emergency room gave me plenty of time to calm this fear. I released every negative thought that came up because my mind was looking for all the worst scenarios.
Releasing the Fear Calms the Mind
During this time, the fears that came up were the psychological fears that we don’t need. They’re the ones that make things worse. As the German proverb says, “Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.” However, as each fear came up, I took a breath (which wasn’t easy because it hurt) and told my mind to release the fear. As I exhaled, I felt the energy of that particular fear leave my mind and body. The fear felt heavy and I was glad to let it go.
For a moment or more, I felt calm and peaceful. Then another fear would surface and I repeated the release. By the time I saw a doctor, I felt sure that the injury was only pulled muscles and bruising. I was right—there were no broken bones.
A car accident is certainly an event that would frighten most people and the natural fear that pumps the adrenaline we need to respond is a positive thing, but the psychological fears that we experience afterwards or in any situation that creates discomfort for us are not healthy. In fact, they often create obstacles to healing and solving problems, and learning to release these fears can empower us in dramatic ways.
Without Fear We Have Courage
The technique that I teach has changed my life and the lives of those who practice it. Without knowing a technique to release my fear, I would never have had the courage to try to publish the essays and articles I write or to publish my memoir. My mother had taught me to “buck up” and do it anyway when I feared something. When I was a modern dancer, trying to dance with fear did not make for a particularly pleasant experience. I always loved rehearsing for a performance, but I didn’t like actually performing in front of people.
About the time I stopped dancing, I learned the technique for releasing fear that I now teach. It made a huge difference in my life. After practicing it for two years, I realized one day that some fears, especially social ones, didn’t appear anymore. Others, such as starting new relationships, were less strong than they used to be. Still, others that had seemed made of steel did sometimes release for a few moments.
Deep Fears Were Often Created in Childhood
But it is always the unexpected that catches us off guard and challenges us to not get pulled into the fear. The fear is, at its base, the fear of being rejected or being inadequate and comes from some part of ourselves that was hurt or rejected. Often these feelings originated in childhood. They may have no relevance today; yet, we continue to feel them. Learning to release our fear as soon as we feel it frees us from the problems it can create.
Free of Fear, We Can Be Who We Truly Are
When the mind is free of fear, we can move forward in our lives. We can enter the cave we fear and find the treasure of which Joseph Campbell speaks.
Recently, I saw a magnificent multi-media production, Dreamtime. It was based on the aboriginal concept of dreamtime. The masks that the dancers wore were extremely detailed, beautiful, and haunting. They took my breath away, but what brought me to tears was knowing that just a couple of years earlier the woman who created them was filled with fear about making a transition from a teacher to an artist.
In her testimonial, Renee Ensley said, “I was pretending to myself and to others that I was ‘enjoying retirement’ but what I really was, was scared to death. I had been so confident that I could be an artist and I didn’t have a clue about how to go about it. I practiced that idea of identifying the fear, telling it to let me go and asking the universe for an answer. Through this process, I really heard what Georganne had to say and for me it worked. She has a wonderful gift to give and I thank her so very much for giving it to me.”
Learn to Release Your Fear
Without the fear, we can see how to take the next step we wish to take and find the courage to become who we really are. To learn more about how to release your fear using the technique I use, visit my website http://awakeningtothedance.com/workshops-2/, attend my next workshop in Asheville, NC on Saturday, November 1, 1:00-3:00 pm at Jubilee! Community, 46 Wall St., or read about it in my memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness available at Amazon. Contact information is available on my website.
May you learn to be free of fear and create the life you truly desire.
© 2014 Georganne Spruce ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5