Fear

We all have fears.

And thats ok.

Sometimes we are fearful in a real life situation, and that fear can save our lives. This type of fear is essential and it puts us into our sympathetic nervous system releasing stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, getting our body ready to protect itself. It can help us flee from an attack, run fast to pull a child away from danger, or sharpen our minds in an important meeting.

Problems begin when we live too much in this hyper alert state and it begins to take its toll on our health. Our brains are very advanced but they have a hard time distinguishing between real threats and perceived threats, and this where our work begins.

Like I said we all have fears, a lot of them can be expressed by worrying over the past or fearing about the future and potential outcomes we can’t control. Its true that we cant always control everything that will happen to us or how people respond to us, but we can become more aware of our thought life and when we putting ourselves under stress because of these things.

Contemplative practices are a concrete way I am growing in this.

But still there are always fears to be faced. This week is Holy Week and we’ve been lingering in the scriptures that lead towards the cross, Jon noticed this little passage and gave it me when I was stressing out and panicking about being misjudged over something.

“Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue.  For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.” John 12:42-43

It made me smile so much, people having been stressing out over what people think about them for thousands of years!

After Jon shared it with me I went for a shower, my mind endlessly ruminating over and over my dilemma. I was just at the point of my body being covered in soap and my hair full of conditioner when the hot water started running out. I began to rush frantically trying to get all the soap off as the water got colder and colder. My eyes were wide and my already panicked heart was pounding even faster when suddenly I felt this invitation from God

Would it really be so bad for the water to go cold? Or is your fear of it worse that the reality will be?

God is so sneaky, with these back up lessons!

So I chose to slow down and to stay in the discomfort. I actively relaxed and deepened my breathing resisting the urge to flee. I continued slowly rinsing my hair and body is the now absolutely freezing water. My brain focused, my heart rate settled and all feelings of panic and anxiety left. I had successfully come into my parasympathetic nervous system.

The cold water was nowhere near as bad as my fear of it was.

I stayed in the freezing water completely at peace for another couple of minutes and stepped out feeling grateful and empowered. We do have an incredible amount of choice over these parts of our physiology. But it starts with paying attention.

Yesterday I faced the silly little fear of a cold shower

But today maybe I will be that little bit more ready to face some of my bigger fears

The fear of misjudged

The fear of being disliked

The fear of being unsuccessful

The fear of making mistakes

The fear of …………………fill in the blank for you

I would love to invite you to spend a few minutes in your journal seeing if there are places that fear has a hold in your life, and see if you can begin to let that fear go. The link below follows to a short practice that you may find helpful.

Emma x

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