Fear is Your Friend, Really!

Bear with me for just a hot minute on this one. I promise I have not completely gone off of the deep end! 

A great deal of the work I have done on this site and in my life the past year plus has been about facing my fears and sharing my journey in the hopes of helping others to do the same through Alchemy – whether I have always called it that or not.  For several weeks (maybe months), I have had a desire to write about how facing my fears has lead me repeatedly in the direction of greater and greater freedoms. When I allow fear to become my GPS it has lead me in the direction of where I need to run towards, not from. Today, in researching an answer to a fellow blogger, I read how Carl Jung advocated the same here and decided it was high time to talk about this very (sometimes scary) thing.

Fat Protects

A year ago, I weighed 10-15 pounds more than I do now, even though I was more physically active – running/walking 12-15 miles/week (some weeks now I’m lucky to get 2 miles in). I believe now that my weight represented for me where I was holding onto fears and felt I needed protection. Fat, after all, is an insulator. Insulators protect by separating one media from another. My fat was my way to set a physical boundary between myself and others. Also, what better way to keep from getting closer to someone physically than to have a few extra layers around my middle?

As I have increasingly faced my fears by allowing them to exist, I have released them and my weight has fallen off without effort on my part to diet nor to exercise more. Allowing myself to feel what I am feeling has freed me. Allowing myself to love the parts of me that have felt broken, miserable and angry as fu*k, has resulted in my turning less and less to food for comfort.

My fears control me less today than they ever have before because I followed them into the abyss. I pulled up the taproots of fears I identified in my garden. If we continually run away from the weeds, they overtake us and control us.  Just as any living thing needs maintenance, I must maintain my garden and learn how to differentiate the weeds from the flowers, fruits and vegetables.

My body is a physical representation (mirror) of what is happening for me mentally and spiritually. When I learned to no longer fear my fat nor my fears themselves, allowing them to be, I was able to shed my weight, my need for protection as well as my fears.

Carl Jung & Alchemy

Carl Jung, the psychoanalyst, began to recognize through his work with his clients that Alchemists were not referring to physical lead and gold, instead they were referring to emotional lead and gold. The lead represents our shadows, our fears, our unconscious drivers. Gold refers to what we receive when we face those shadows, for me that is spelled freedom.

While I have studied and practiced emotional alchemy for several years now, it was only today that I became astutely aware that Jung used these same principles to help his clients to heal. He told them that they needed to move into the direction of their fears to be able to be freed from them! This validates so much of what I have both been living and writing about. I had no idea (or maybe not so clearly) that so much of Jung’s work was in using Alchemy.

Listening to Fears

Growth and expansion are a continual process of self-awareness and introspection. There are places I still fear to go. However, what I am learning is that fears that are not faced are continually brought up again and again. Do I answer the calls of my fears when they gently tap me on the shoulder, or do I wait until they are screaming in my face and spilling from my eyes, crippling me in my tracks? The Universe escalates the call when I ignore it.

So I ask myself today and everyday, what do I need to face today? Far better to clean up my fears in my strength than when I cannot walk and facing the fear is the only thing I can do to overcome the paralysis of my prison.

The Universe “can only show you the door. You must choose to walk through it,” just as Morpheus says to Neo in The Matrix.

“Wake up! Because what you reap is what you sow!” ~ Zach de la Rocha

When we unconsciously plant seeds of fear and continue to nurture them by staying in fear, we create a garden of: FEAR! By facing our fears, we can choose more wisely to plant, nurture and harvest the seeds in life that we do wish to blossom. So which pill will it be, Neo: the blue one or the red one?

Do you want to nurture the status quo (blue) or do you want to stop the fears and stay in Wonderland forever, exploring more rabbit holes (red)?

Follow your fears!

Image: Google

 

Shifting Paradigms

To help to improve ourselves, sometimes we ask, “What did I do wrong? Or what could I do better?”

Recently, in contemplating a particular pattern I’m finding in my relations with men, I started to ask myself these questions. Before I went too far down the “WTF” path I was on, a light bulb went off. Suddenly it occurred to me that the real question I need to be asking is “What am I doing right?”


This naturally lead to answering for myself the following questions: How am I now setting healthier boundaries? How am I now connecting with men in a way that is trusting and open vs doubtful and closed? How am I now expressing myself and my needs more openly and receiving respect in return? And how about how I am mentally exploring my sexuality vs physically

So I ask you, dearest reader, to now reflect: how are you doing right by yourself  today? This is especially poignant if there has been a change.


Image: Google 

Possibilities

Faith increases the number of waves of possibilities and allows us to see more of them. Gratitude for what we do have opens our hearts to more ways of seeing and being. 

Believing in only one possible solution closes down and blinds us to alternatives.

So how can we each have more faith and open our eyes to the greatness that surrounds each of us?

The news focuses on the negative, thus watching it narrows our focus, takes us off our emotional centers and puts us in fear…

Image: tiffanybeingfree 

Holding the Bars

For so long holding the bars 
To his cage, avoiding the feelings
That keep him sequestered
His knuckles white with a death grip
He stares out beyond the edge
Watching as others soar
If he could but turn around and see
The only part of the cage that exists
Is the part that he’s holding…

Capturing Wind in a Bottle

I drink in the sound

of your laughter.

 

Happiness falls hotly

from the corners of my eyes.

 

Heart cords wrap ‘round

and kiss your hurt places.

 

My eyes hear the smile

that lights your face.

 

I urge my memory to open

and record each element

of this moment, alas it’s like

trying to capture wind

in a bottle.


Image: Google 

The Sherpa 2:4

Keep Going! If you’re in Hell
please don’t stop to take a look
around nor to sniff the flowers.

Instead, bring into your heart
the memories that stay intact
when all the rest feels like
it will fall apart.

You’ve got this! I’ve seen
others with much worse conditions
be able to apply the remedies &
live in remission.

This is but the valley of your dreams.
Here, let me show you how to climb
to the peaks!

Photo Courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography @ Freedigitalphotos.com

the closed heart opens

threats, real or imagined
rejection, abandonment, indiscretions
remaining closed, the heart’s keep.
while the courtyard may appear open
it is enclosed by castle walls and guards.

sleek black crows feast
on the scraps
unworthy of the cook’s vat
the macabre scene
painful for eyes to see
a loving heart weeps.

choosing now a life unrestricted
walls bend and fold
as the keep no longer a
loving heart can hold.
a heart fills the space
no longer limited in time & place

for what is love
but not infinite?
opening to a new reality
shedding the indignant
once again, opening within
to possibilities & infinity.

image: Red Umbrella by Leonid Afremov

Culture of Punishment: It’s a Shame

Motivation through punishment makes things harder if our goal is to become our greatness. Self-flagellation tears at our flesh. Wounds then need tending and time to heal. Furthermore, how can we climb the peaks of our greatest potentials when we have a backpack filled with shame, guilt and other “unpacked” emotions? Leave the kitchen sink (and everything else) in the kitchen!

When I started graduate school I told myself that “good grad students” don’t study with the TV or radio on. Even though I learned in High School that I needed to occupy part of my (monkey) mind by having music or TV on, suddenly in graduate school I was to be “cured of this.” I almost failed out in my first class! So I quickly learned to change my strategy. Soon enough, I was pulling up my grade by studying again with the TV or radio on. I shamed myself into believing that to be better, I needed to “work harder.”

In essence, I was fighting myself. I was blocking my own nature with the “idea” of what a “good graduate student looked like.” In taking away the radio, I was setting myself up for failure by trying to make myself conform to some crazy notion of what “I should be.” This is shame folks. It’s hidden shame that makes us sound like we’re doing the right thing. It’s shame that is showing us that what we are “is not right.” 

It was as if I feared success. For if I truly wanted to do well, then why was I making things harder? I have feared doing well. So often successful people are torn down by others. Shame folks. This is shame at its finest! Being a trailblazer is a lonely life. So why would I want to get ahead?

Another example is where I get frustrated with the gap between how I want to be an excellent mom and where reality often falls. Role models like “Mrs. Brady” or “Mrs. Clever” who were the perfect moms with all the right answers “in every single moment.” Ignoring that they had a team of writers to think for them and how many takes and edits did they get for each episode?! 

So I punish myself for being “less than.” I tell myself I’m a bad mother for being human and getting impatient. I’m a bad mother for not loving my children enough to know how to handle each and every situation perfectly the very first time. By shaming myself, I keep myself blind to different options. I also block my own compassion towards my children…no winners here.

So by setting the bar higher when I’m already feeling down, how am I helping myself to climb out of this pit and see how I can do things differently? Add to this the mental self-flagellation. Beating myself down only keeps me from being able to climb out of this hell!

Now I ask you, where are you punishing yourself? Where do you desire to be a better person, yet beat yourself down? How can you stop pushing your own face in the mud? Eagles don’t soar my sticking their faces in the dirt. Eagles soar by allowing themselves to rise up, not by weighing themselves down with guilt and shame.

Today, how can we begin to love and nurture our strengths without making our weaknesses weaker?

Let’s find a new way to motivate ourselves. Let’s be our own greatest cheerleaders. After all, what effective team (anywhere) has cheerleaders telling players they are terrible? The best way to get ahead is to set our sight on our goals and to stop beating ourselves the eff down. Focus on your greatness! 


Image: Google

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