What are you afraid of?
Nothing, you say? Bologna, I say.
We all have some degree of conscious or unconscious fear impacting our lives.
How can you verify when fear is in the mix? Words like “can’t”, “shouldn’t”, and “won’t” often indicate unconscious fears. What topics, people or places do you avoid? Hesitation, procrastination or avoidance often indicate unconscious fears. Judgments also indicate unconscious fears. We’re always only doing love (opening, curious, being present and in joy) or we are doing fear (contracting, resisting, avoiding). If you’re in a moment where you’ve lost your sense of humor, your ability to appreciate, your open heart or your curiosity, or your eager joy, unconscious fear is very likely in the mix.
If there’s any area of your life where you’re not experiencing what you want to experience, odds are, fear is part of the picture. With fear, we are living a fraction of our highest potential and whole health. Without fear we are at full choice and powerful to generate the kinds of experience we want.
Here are 5 practices you can use in the moment to transform conscious or unconscious fears to freedom and powerful action.
1. So what, then what?
Sometimes, freeing yourself from fear comes when you look the paper tiger in the eye. Here’s one way you can do that:
Name your worst case scenario. Imagine it in vivid detail. Really try on that coat, fully, and then ask, “If this happened, so what, then what?” Don’t think about an answer, wait to experience the answer in your body. When you get an answer, ask the question again, “If that happened, so what, then what?” Beware of any draw to change the subject, take a nap or “step out of the fire”; lean in to the experience as deeply as you can. If you stay on track and do the exercise sincerely enough, the explosion of opening and freedom at the end of the exploration will stun and amaze you.
2. Try SORTting It Out ™.
SORTting It Out(tm) is a practice I created that taps the wisdom of your mind, body, heart, gut (unconscious core values) and action to transform fear to powerful steps and fulfillment.
First, with your hand on your head, (S)ay whatever thoughts or fears you have about this issue. Second, (O)bserve the heart and the gut behind those thoughts. What is the emotion and the core value behind the voice of your mind?
When you find those, you’ll feel a shift of relief. Next, (R)elease the emotional charge of the fear so that all you’re left with is the power of your clarity about your core values. There are many ways to do release work, any one you know that actually produces “shift” for you (not emotional bypass) will do just fine. Next, (T)rack your shift. If you started at a 10 of fear and beliefs of “can’t, won’t or avoidance”, where are you now? Continue the SORT until you reach a 0 or 1 of fear or emotional charge. Finally (t)ake generative action. Ask yourself, what request can I make of myself or others that would contribute to feeding the core value(s) I just discovered? If you’re SORTting It Out ™ accurately, you will have a full shift into freedom and power in under 20 minutes, or in as little as three breaths.
3. Do a Focus Wheel.
A Focus Wheel is a visual way of exploring your fear that results in freedom and a shift of consciousness.
At the top of a blank peice of paper, write the end result that you want but fear. Maybe you’ll write, “I can talk to women with absolute ease,” or “I speak in public with absolute delight,” or “Asking for what I want is easy.” (You’ll find pictures below.) You’ll know if you have a good opening statement when you can barely write it without feeling nauseous. Next, draw a circle in the center of the paper, large enough to write this phrase when you’re done. Then draw a long thin arc about 1 inch wide and two inches long, starting from the rim of the circle, going away from center two inches, then returning to the rim of the circle an inch from where you started. It’ll look like a flower petal. Now, on the side of the arc that moves away from center, write the first fear or reaction you have to the opening statement. Maybe your reaction is, “No I can’t, I never have been able to do that.” Write it on the arc away from center. Next, ask yourself, “What truth can I find within me that brings me back to center”? Maybe you’ll realize that, “What’s also true is that I’ve accomplished anything I set my mind to.” Whatever truth you have that brings you back to center, that helps you regain your sense of power, write that on the side of the arc that returns back to the center rim. Now reflect on that truth for at least 90 seconds. Really feel it. Next, draw another arc that goes away from center and back to center. Reread your opening statement, and write the next reaction you have on this new arc, on the side going away from center. Then find the truth that brings you back to center, and write that on the other side of the arc. Let yourself feel that truth for 90 seconds. Repeat this reaction-truth-sit cycle of drawing arcs and writing on them until you have no more reactions left when you read your opening statement. Usually reactions run out in 7 tries, plus or minus two. You’ll know you did the exercise properly if you feel at ease and peace when you re-read your opening statement. When this happens, re-write your opening phrase, but this time write it in the center of the focus wheel. You’re done! Now you can then keep or safely burn the focus wheel – you’re free!
4. Deepen Your Needs Consciousness.
Deepening your needs consciousness is a practice is uncovering the core values behind core values behind core values. When you get to the root, you find a liberating peak experience that transforms your sense of Self, showing you the power that you most deeply are.
To do the exercise, first notice what you’re afraid of. Let’s say you’re afraid of marketing your products. Ask yourself, “What core value am I trying to protect or care for in my fear?” Maybe you’ll discover that what you most yearn for is confidence that people will like you after you tell them what you’re selling. The core value is “to be liked/loved”. When you find the core value behind the fear, close your eyes and vividly imagine experiencing it for at least 20 seconds. If your core value is “to be loved”, then imagine yourself abundantly cherished and appreciated by a crowd of people surrounding you. Whatever your core value, imagine it in detail and feel it. After the 20 seconds or so, ask yourself, “If I got that, what would it bring me?” In this case, it’s, “If I were loved, what would that bring me?” Find out what gift are you trying to give yourself, or others, by seeking the first core value. Maybe you’ll discover, “If I’m loved, then it would give me opportunities to hang out with other people (play).” Now that you have a 2nd core value, vividly imagine experiencing THIS one for at least 20 seconds. Continue this cycle of core value – what would it bring me – sit with the one you find, by asking “If I got THAT, what would it bring me?” and “If I got THAT, what would it bring me?” In each round, be sure to let your body FEEL the experience of having the core value fed. As you go, notice any shifts in your body posture, sensations, or breath. Eventually you’ll reach a point where you feel enormously open, powerful, and peaceful. Sit with that sensation for at least 90 seconds; you’ve now started to connect with your Highest Self.Keep going, is there something more? If not, ask your Highest Self what it thinks about the thing you’re afraid of. If you’ve done the exercise properly, you should experience a surprising shift, experiencing a new part of you that is utterly free from fear.
5. Sit in the fire.
Here’s another way to “look the paper tiger in the eye”. In this exercise you’ll sit THROUGH the discomfort of feeling fear, until the burning discomfort simply evaporates itself, leaving nothing left but a purified you who is free from that fear.
To do this exercise, name the thing you’re afraid of. Maybe it’s a situation you’re afraid of. Maybe it’s a kind of loss, or a kind of pain that you’re trying to avoid. Often, fear is about resisting something, bracing to try desperately to avoid the situation. Whatever it is, vividly imagine it, and feel the discomfort of the situation. Really feel it. If you feel it only at a 6-out-of-10 or less, then imagine more vivid detail until you feel it at a 9-out-of-10. Stay with it. Don’t go to sleep, don’t try to fix the problem, don’t try to escape it and don’t surrender into acceptance, just sit in the fire. When the discomfort begins to lessen, find the next most distasteful or scary aspect. Stay with it. You may experience biochemical release of the toxins of fear – burping, crying, shaking, and yawning are examples of release that show you’re on track. Stay with it. Keep painting the picture that stimulates your fear. If you do the practice successfully, in 20-90 minutes you will experience a radical shift. Suddenly it will feel like the clouds have parted and the storm is gone. Revisit the original topic that scared you. How do you react to it now? Clients who have done this practice successfully with a coach report shifts like, “Wow, that just doesn’t phase me anymore,” or simply shrug saying, “I know I started with that but it seems kind of silly to me now.” On the other side of the fire of fear is a wide open, easy, spacious freedom. Find it.
Not all of us can both follow the practice instructions AND go deep in the work. If you need, hire a coach who will hold the process for you and help you stay on track.
When you complete any one of these practices, do gentle movement like stretching or take a short walk, and be sure to drink at least 20 ounces of water within 20 minutes. This helps the body to metabolize the biochemistry that was stimulated and flush it out of your system.
Do any of these practices once a week. It will increase your freedom, power, choice and peace of mind.
Here’s one final (bonus) tip on freeing yourself from fear:
Sometimes fear comes out of speculating what will or won’t happen. Enjoy cultivating curiosity. Beware of thinking you “already know all about it”. Maybe there’s a nuance or opportunity you do NOT know about. Tell yourself, “Maybe it’s possible that I don’t yet know what I don’t know,” or “It’s possible that there’s something I am not aware of that WOULD work.” Explore.
And be free.
To overcome fear in your life, or to get help using one of these practices, call 1.877.535.5438 (Mon-Thurs, 12pmET to 4pmET).
Among the other areas of professional, spiritual and personal development, (Maya-G) Gail Taylor coaches individuals, couples, families, parents, leaders and professionals on whole health and increased freedom. Get measurable results! For more information, or for help to get the kind of life experiences that you most deeply want, call to schedule a Free 1-Hour Consultation – 1.877.535.5438 Mon-Thurs 12pmET-4pmET.