When we commit to moving forward in life – getting a new job, starting a new business, creating a community or social project, starting a new relationship, making a public presentation… whatever it is there can be a sense of enthusiasm, excitement and uplift as we are filled with the promise of what we intend to realise.
The part of us that wants to grow and develop is satisfied knowing that we’re moving in the right direction towards fulfilling our potential. But if we’re realistic we probably acknowledge that moving forward is also likely to bring challenges. We’re going to encounter situations that mean we have to leave our “comfort zone.”
So when we get to the point where intentions have to translate into actions, this is where the pull back and the obstacles start to arise. Feelings connected with fear and anxiety start to come up. Our underlying vulnerability is exposed due to the prospect of venturing into unknown territory. Now these feelings are not negative per se, for example fear often has an important message like “pay attention to this novelty” or “be alert for danger”; however if we get stuck in fear it can result in paralysis or severe procrastination that stops us moving towards where we want to go.
We may know in our heart there is something we really want to accomplish but the moment it comes to acting on that intention we might start to feel a bit queasy, numb, sleepy or anxious. When these feelings come up our reaction will often be to turn away and seek something more pleasurable. So instead of taking the first action to start our great new project we go and make ourselves a cup of tea, we check our Facebook account, we start cleaning the house or make ourselves busy with something that was previously a lot less important.
Well, the most important step is to acknowledge the fear and the feeling associated with it. Our knee-jerk reaction is usually to experience the uncomfortable feeling as an enemy that has to be pushed away or deadened by distractions or substances like alcohol and nicotine. This may seem to work in the short term but in the long run the feelings get stronger and the anxiety just cranks itself up even more.
So the first step is to get in touch with the fear, allow it to be, even welcome it in as a trusted guest. Then we can start to get curious or intimate with the feeling. Where in our bodies do we feel it? We locate it and then bring our complete undivided attention to embrace and be in touch with the feeling and stay present with it as much as we can. By practising this, the feeling of anxiety may at first feel more pronounced but then it will subside and dissipate.
The above step is always vital but additionally we can also voice the fear. If our anxious feeling could speak what would it say? Become the fear, embody it completely and see what it has to say. What are its concerns? Listen to them. This helps us to have a cognitive understanding of what’s going on. It helps us to separate from identifying with the anxiety and being controlled by it.
Nowadays there have also been developments in what‘s known as releasing emotions.
One such method is EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique.) It looks a bit weird when you do it but I have consistently found it to be effective. This method once again consists of welcoming the uncomfortable feeling and bringing it to mind then tapping one’s fingers on acupressure points, freeing up the emotional energy and allowing it to flow. Take a look at this video about how to do it here.
Another way of releasing is the Sedona Method. This also involves allowing the feeling, then investigating it and asking and answering 3 questions: “Could I let this (fear) go? Would I let it go? When?” It sounds too simple but sometimes the simplest methods are the most effective. In this video Hale Dwoskin, one of the founders of the method, shows you how to do it.
Enjoy the embracing and releasing! I'd be happy to hear your thoughts and comments.