“We are not what we know but what we are willing to learn.” ~Mary Catherine Bateson
It was a balmy spring morning and I started my day as per usual, but I soon realized that my mind was entertaining fearful thoughts about my financial insecurity.
With many new ventures within the seedling stage, my income flow was erratic and unpredictable, while my financial responsibilities were consistent and guaranteed. At the time I ignored these thoughts as “petty,” like a parent dismissing a crying child after a mild fall on the pavement.
What I didn’t realize was that my mind wanted to entertain these fear-based thoughts like a Hollywood blockbuster, and as you may know, what you focus on expands.
Before I knew it, my body was in a state of complete anxiety and fear. I literally felt my cognitive and creative centers shutting down. I felt completely powerless, a hostage to my own mind.
My body felt paralyzed, and I felt disconnected from my talents and gifts. I felt separate, isolated, and vulnerable. I became a victim of the fear.
In this moment I realized the powerful impact thoughts can have on how we feel, mentally and physically. Here is what unfolded through me, and the lessons I treasured from this experience.
Fear is a closed energy, referred to as inverted faith. Fear exists when we do not trust our connection to the infinite part of who we are and buy into a story about what’s unfolding in our life.
The emotions we feel are created from the thoughts that we choose to focus on, consciously or unconsciously. The emotions act as markers to let us know if we are focusing on expansive, empowering thoughts or fearful, limiting thoughts.
If I were to relate this in a story, it may be like a pilot believing he no longer had any guidance or support from the airport control tower in a large storm, and no instruments on board to detect if he was on a collision course with another airplane.
If the control tower represents the infinite part of who we are, which always knows what’s best for us, it can be understandable why the pilot with no other guidance except for his own eye sight would be fearful of the situation at hand.
An alarm on the plane beeping at the pilot would represent the emotions. The alarm’s purpose is to get the attention of the pilot so he can focus and realize he is off the path.
Once our emotions start to take a grip of our physical body, what can we do to move from a state of limitation and fear into an open, tranquil, peaceful state?
1. Come back to the present moment.
The first step is to bring your awareness to the present moment.
To do this, take three deep breaths through your nose and exhale through your mouth. After the air has filled your lungs and you’ve felt your stomach rise, exhale through your mouth by forcing the air through your teeth, as if you were hissing out loud.
This detoxifies your body from the heavy emotions you’re experiencing and brings you back into the present moment.
When I do this, I place my awareness into my feet so I am in a feeling space within my body, rather than being in my mind, entertaining the stories that swirl around with vigor, like a dangerous hurricane.
Imagine that all your emotions are in a large sludge bucket. This breathing technique will empty the bucket out so you are empty and free.
2. Put things in perspective.
Now that you are present, acknowledge the experience and ask yourself this question: “What is the worst-case scenario that can happen to me?”
Once we can accept this and realize we will be okay if that happens, we are free from the fear.
When I realized I’d blown things out of proportion with my fears, I was able to detach from the story and put things into perspective.
I like to imagine that in every moment I have two wolves I can feed (per the Native American myth): the fear wolf or the love wolf. The one that gets stronger and wins is the one I feed.
3. Become an observer of your thoughts.
What has served me well in moments like this is to say, “I’m not these thoughts. I’m not these emotions. I’m not this body. I’m an infinite being having a human experience.”
In saying this, we immediately detach from the story and allow ourselves the choice of suffering or to become the observer.
Imagine that your life is represented in a book, and the story you are living out comes from the words on the page. We can change the words of the story at any point in time.
4. Change your experience.
The fourth step is to place your awareness and your right hand on the heart center, which is located near the sternum. Close your eyes, take three deep breaths, and make the following command:
“I am now connected to the infinite part of who I am, which already knows how to be whole and complete. I take full responsibility and accountability for this creation, I recognize how it has served me, and I am now ready to let it go. I command that the fear energy be transmuted into unconditional love now. Thank you. It is now done.”
This process is incredibly empowering. We allow ourselves the opportunity to experience being our own inner master and a co-creator of our reality.
5. Prevent your mind from sabotaging you.
Visualize a stone being thrown into a pond. Observe the ripples it creates when it enters the water. This is to simply distract your mind and allow the process to unfold without doubt or self-sabotage. It is only our mind that can interfere with our own healing.
6. Be grateful.
Express gratitude and appreciation for the integration and healing you have received.
The key to happiness is awareness. When we become aware that our mind is wandering, we can gently bring it back to the present moment. It’s only in the present moment that we are empowered and can consciously choose the thoughts we engage with.
The thoughts we focus on will determine where our energy flows, and thus what is created in our life. Each thought has a vibration, which is reflected by the feeling we experience in our body.
To be able to move from a fear-based experience to an open, peaceful experience we must first take full responsibility and accountability that on some level we created the experience, and nobody else is to blame.
The choice is truly ours. Do we choose to experience a fearful, limited life or do we choose a happy joyful life?
Photo by Kara Allyson