I never used to think of myself as a fearful person. When I was younger I would charge into things without much thought. I was willing to take risks. As I got older, got married, and had kids, I began to tread more carefully. I felt I had more to lose, and became more fearful of what might happen. I became very attached to outcomes. These last few months I realized I needed to do some work around fear.
There are different ways fear shows itself. In my case, it shows up as worry and anxiety. I worried about bills, about getting older, about my kids being happy and whole, about my parents, about the divide with my siblings. I worry about my plants getting enough water, about success in my career. For as long as I can remember I worry about not being good enough. This shows up around my weight, and whether I’ll ever get to goal.
Worry is actually fear dressed up in softer colors.
I had a spiritual re-awakening when I was down with shoulder pain and then surgery. I am grateful it didn’t require a “rock bottom” moment, but it did require me paying attention to what was going on inside. I saw how limiting life can feel when pain (physical or psychic) enters each day, and how I am not in control over anything external. But more importantly these last few months have taught me I have spent way too much time worrying about past and present, about how I’m perceived, and about whether I’m good enough.
How do you know when fear is running the show?
1. You worry.
Worrying takes you out of the present which is the only real moment where challenges can be addressed. Think about it: If you worry about bills, do they get paid? If you worry about your weight, does it dissolve? If you worry about your next career move, does it appear? When you worry, it pulls you into past and future. The past and future do not exist (they really don’t). When you feel a worry coming on, ask yourself if there is anything in this moment you can do about it. If not, let it go and remain present to what there is to do right now, because this is the only moment that matters. This takes practice, but it truly is possible.
2. You have thoughts like “When I … Then I’ll…”
We all do this. We think about the things we want to change and then when that changes we’ll do X or Y. Some of my favorites….
“When I get to goal weight, then I’ll buy a fabulous wardrobe.”
“When I get that big documentary project, then I will consider myself successful.”
“When my husband agrees exercise with me, then I’ll get more exercise.”
Take a moment and think about all your “When I.. Then I’ll …” thoughts and write them down.
Now let’s talk about why these statements bubbling up daily are creating real roadblocks. They all come from a place of lack. We are signaling to the Universe that we lack something, that we’re waiting to get filled up before we can fully live our lives. This takes us out of the flow. If you are waiting to buy that fabulous wardrobe, consider buying something that will make you look fantastic right now. The more gorgeous you feel now, the more you begin manifesting that energy. You are bringing abundance and a sense of fullness into the present moment. Always remember like attracts like. Your energy makes a difference. Think about what it’s like to be in the presence of an enthusiastic person, someone who manifests joy. You are attracted to their spirit. It is infectious.
3. You blame others for your situation or think others need to change.
This one can begin to sound a lot like #2. “If person X would only Y, then I could Z.” Take a moment and write down anybody or anything you tend to blame for whatever currently feels problematic. Do you blame circumstances? “If this hadn’t happened, then I…” These blaming conversations racing in our heads are the ego raging. The ego hates to be reminded we aren’t in control. It wants us to believe we can master all circumstances and other people. The ego doesn’t like when we accept what we cannot change. Whether you accept it or not, the only control you have is over how you respond to what or who comes your way. When you begin to shift away from blaming thoughts and instead ask yourself what you can do about it, you begin to be more present and less distracted. Blame is another way of distracting you from where your power lies. Your power lies in your ability to transform your energy and emanates from what you choose to focus on. I often see how I fall into blame regarding sticking with my food plan. If I go out to dinner and others are having foods that aren’t on plan or I agree to go to a place that may not have the best food selections, it’s easy to fall into a blame fest. But when you begin to shift it back to what you can do in the situation, you begin to see there are always choices. You remind yourself you are committed to addressing your challenges and goals. Another one is the pantry conversation. Often I hear complaints from other Badasses about how others in the household want food that isn’t on plan and the temptation that results. There are solutions you can implement to insure you won’t be tempted and not be at the effect of someone else’s preferences or choices. You can also ask for help around limiting what is in full view. The more you recognize where your power lies, the more effective you will be with shifting your energy.
4. You believe being vulnerable or surrendering = Weakness.
I was never one to surrender. To me, surrender meant compromise. It meant weakness or accepting the mediocre. Surrender is actually about moving into your vulnerability. Your vulnerability is your super power! I repeat: YOUR VULNERABILITY IS YOUR SUPER POWER! When we begin to understand our power in a different light, things begin to flow. When we let go of what the outcome will be (future projection), we begin to receive guidance. Our intuition (our very own internal GPS) rises. We begin to allow things to unfold with less effort. Not sure what to do? Don’t hear that little voice talking to you? Then simply allow yourself to be curious, and be led by your curiosity. Remember the inner guide isn’t some big booming voice with an arrow pointing. It is subtle, and the mind needs to be quiet in order to hear it.
Here’s where things get really interesting: We begin to trust ourselves, we begin to hear what we are meant to do. We tame the ego into submission so that the inner voice can rise and we move into a flow. The flow doesn’t contain worry, because when we begin to trust that things will unfold as they are meant to unfold, we can be more present and be of service to whatever or whomever requires our attention in that particular moment. Ask yourself what you would do if you knew everything would work out. How awesome would it be if you simply followed your gut, knowing you were moving in the right direction? If it feels good and right, you move. If it feels off, you check in and you course correct. When you’re unsure? Ask for guidance. Take time for a brief meditation, be patient, and trust it will be revealed.
5. You think if you accept things the way they are, they won’t ever get better.
This one was HUGE for me. I couldn’t accept my body where it was at almost any point in my life, even when I was thinner. When we moved into our current home it was far from what my vision was. Once I surrendered to what was, rather than fight the current circumstances, I began taking steps toward my vision, seeing in my mind the potential. I did this even before we had the capital to pay for it. I took the necessary steps to prepare for it and believed we would get there. I began moving to a place where in my mind it was already a done deal and I was simply preparing for it. I trusted when the time was right, we’d pull the trigger and it would happen. When I resumed Luminous, I began a vision board that had wardrobe ideas. Instead of cringing in the mirror, I took notice of my body and began to imagine what releasing the weight might look like, rather than judging the current situation. I bought a few things that would work now and later. I began shifting out of lamenting what hadn’t happened and shifting into accepting where I was and seeing where I wanted to go as a done deal. I began taking pictures again, and spend less time indulging in negative thought patterns.
Acceptance of the current situation doesn’t rule out change. Instead, you begin to make moves in a positive direction one day at a time. In that surrender you begin to develop a list of “to do’s” that will inform what your next move will be. Can you imagine if you took all of the energy and time spent being anxious or worried and began to peacefully and mindfully move into action? Wowza. You become unstoppable.
At every moment you have a choice: Fear or Love
Choosing love over fear isn’t a permanent state. It is about remaining conscious of what’s running the show more of the time and shifting away from fear. When the ego (AKA fear) is running the show, you worry, you blame, you come from lack versus abundance. When you come from love, there is vulnerability, surrender and a gentle voice arises to inform what to do next. You begin to soften the edges and feel more connected to your own spirit and begin to see the same energy and spirit in others. Note: You will be amazed how awesome others become when you start to work on your own stuff. You begin to see how your energy has real impact. Your power lies in that vulnerable place of acceptance.
5 Steps To Release Worry & Anxiety
Meditation is key to quieting the mind. Start with 5 minutes right when you awaken. Breathe deeply, and focus on a time when you’ve felt happy and full. Allow that feeling to rise within you. When any negative thoughts creep in, lean into them, acknowledge them and release them. Start with a few minutes, and expand from there as needed.
When anxiety or worry creeps in, ask yourself “can I do anything about it right now?” If the answer is no, come back to the present, release the worry and put all your focus and attention into the present task at hand. Focus on doing it with excellence. Notice your surroundings and put all of your energy into whatever you are doing.
Ask for help or guidance. This can be in the form of a prayer or a simple request. Each day I say the words: “Where would you have me go? What would you have me do? What would you have me say? And to whom?”
Dare to trust. Begin building on faith that things will work out. Remind yourself that obstacles or challenges are detours in the right direction. Take note as you witness even the smallest shift.
Release the need for a specific outcome. Begin allowing your intuition to take the wheel and notice what begins to manifest. Follow your curiosity. Pay attention to those thoughts that resonate most with you. Sometimes it feels like a pull. The outcome will be better than what you imagined.