keeping the faith. 5 ways to keep the faith in the face of fear
January 9, 2013
I dream big. Scratch that. I’m called to act on a scale that is bigger than me. It’s like an ache in my heart that gets louder and achier if I try to ignore it. It’s like a fire in my belly that gets stronger and hotter if I stop paying attention. It keeps me awake–always alert to whether or not I’m living in alignment with my deeper purpose. And shuts me down when I’m not.
FIRED UP and FEELING DOWN
There are days when I am so alive, so on fire, so excited and enlivened by all the choices I get to make from this space of knowing what is right for me and living my dharma that I am positively vibrating with strength and a deep happiness. And there are other days when I just want to crawl under my duvet and pull it over my head. And other days, like a few weeks ago, when I rage and shout at the sky: “I didn’t ask for this! I didn’t agree to do this work!” I didn’t ask to be unable to do anything but continually burn away my old self and emerge raw and new and keep being pulled forward into the unknown.
Except, of course, I did. I did ask for this. I know that.
But even in the face of my ultimate certainty that this is exactly where I’m meant to be I can still be assailed by doubt and fears.
And because I have a hunch you feel this way too sometimes, I’m getting clear on how I keep moving, get out of being stuck, and keep living in alignment and on purpose.
5 Ways to Keep the Faith in the Face of Fear
1. You are not the way you feel.
Feelings come up like waves on the surface of the ocean. We’re not the waves. We’re the ocean. And you can watch your emotions just like you can watch a storm come over the ocean. The waves crash onto the beach. You can see them. But you don’t have to be them.
2. Lean into it.
Pulling the duvet cover over your head is a good start…and if I just wanna wallow in the way I’m feeling, I often let myself do that. But that gets boring. And there’s more pulling me up, and forward, and out. So when I really want to move through something I lean into it. I exaggerate it. I holler and yell and stomp and sob. I get messy. I get mad. Arrrrrrgh! And, given the chance, like most emotions—according to brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor—fear passes in about 90 seconds.
3. It’s harder than you thought, and that’s ok.
The dream comes easy–in our heads. And yup, when we’re living our dharma and our purpose and being in alignment with what is right and true for us, everything flows more smoothly. But a LOT of the time, it’s harder than we thought it would be. In fact, nearly every time. Our biggest challenge is to accept this and know that it’s not a sign that it’s ‘not meant to be.’ It just means we’re in square 3 of the change cycle, where we’re struggling to leave the cocoon and grow our wings. And that’s ok.
4. Get out of your head.
This goes back to being the ocean. The verbal part of our brain is often fueled by fear or anger. Stress hormones stimulate our amygdala and they begin to run our brain’s show–fear and anger become the primary M.O. Short story? Fear and anger-based thinking are fueled by stress–not truth. So moving on in the face of fear means recognizing the fear-based thinking is not our ultimate Truth. Sometimes accessing our Truth can be as simple as becoming aware that we can choose where to focus our awareness. We can choose to drop out of our head. Meditation. Mindfulness. Yoga. Any physical movement that requires focus. Skiing. Drop out of your head, and drop in to your peace.
5. Get out of your head.
This deserves repeating. Your non-verbal brain processes 11 million bits of information per second. Compare that to the 40 bits of information per second being processed by our verbal brain. And our non-verbal brain communicates to us mostly through physical sensation. So to go beyond the fear in your mind and move into your truth–based on way more information that your fear-based thoughts have access to–we need to tap into our Essential Self. Our soul. The part of us that is fueled by love and strength. Great strength. It’s inside you. And to feel it, all you need to do is begin to become acutely aware of what you are feeling physically. Do a body scan. Breathe more deeply. Notice your toes, your nose, your fingers.
Here’s one way to do it:
Breathe in peace, breathe out fear. You are the ocean.