Feeling Fear

In my work I find that fear is the feeling that causes the most terror in people. Feeling fear is scary! It makes sense that we avoid it - fear triggers a a series of survival-based physiological responses: fight, flight, freeze (most recently added to the list: feed). Which release adrenalin and cortisol hormones, making us feel temporarily amped, and wiped out later. Because we are wired for survival these responses are habitual, and if we've endured trauma in the past, we are often more reactive and hyper-vigilant to perceived stressors in the environment. Yet for most of us trying not to get eaten by a bear isn't a daily issue. Instead we may be stressed and anxious about Ebola, not having freedom in a relationship, being honest with ourselves, feeling raw emotions, rejection, death, finances, getting cut off on the freeway, or deciding what's for dinner. The list goes on....We are chronically reactive and chronically stressed by our thoughts. 

I'm offering that we practice bringing conscious awareness to feelings of fear, invite the worried emotions in, rather than avoid, numb, run, hide, and mask what we are feeling. Feeling our feelings helps us heal and relate more authentically with ourselves and others. When we flee we miss out on experiencing each moment fully. 

As Tara Brach, encourages:

"Letting go into fear, accepting it, may seem counterintuitive. Yet because fear is an intrinsic part of being alive, resisting it means resisting life. The habit of avoidance seeps into every aspect of our life: It prevents us from loving well, from cherishing beauty within and around us and being present to the moment. This is why Radical Acceptance of fear is right at the center of our spiritual awakening."