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Facing Fear


"Fear has one goal: To keep us settling for less. Never stop reaching for your potential. Fear is an illusion, but your capabilities are real." - Author Unknown

 

The Roller Coaster of FEAR Three years ago, my anxiety was out of control. Everyday. Panic Attacks lay hidden around every corner, conversation, calendar event. Over Spring Break, that year, our family went to Six Flags Magic Mountain with the express purpose of riding Roller Coasters. Historically, I love roller coasters, so I was all for this planned adventure.

I rode rides with our family, but I was on the verge of a panic attack each time. Without exaggeration, it felt like my body might explode and that death was absolutely eminent as I waiting in line, getting ever closer to my turn to buckle in. Minutes felt like hours, the weight of fear sitting like dead weight on my chest.

Each time I survived a ride, I felt a bit of relief, a touch of lightness...even laughter flitted through as adrenaline rushed through my body.

Until I faced another ride.

This is the up and down cycle of a life lived in fear. It. Is. Exhausting. For the person rooted in fear and everyone around them.

 

The Shadow of Self-Rejection I have fought anxiety my entire life, duking it out and hustling to never let it stop me. I was intent on never letting anxiety define me, refusing to accept it as part of me.

This might sound courageous. You might think, "What perseverance!" But it is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

As I became aware of how intensely I was rejecting anxiety - and obvious aspect of my human experience, I became aware of how intensely I was rejecting myself.

 

The Sunlight of Truth No matter how intent I was to never let anxiety win, I could never separate myself from it. Like a shadow, it just followed me.

Until I stood in the full sunlight of Truth. Which was this: anxiety is a remarkable human strategy that sets certain people up for survival.

For whatever reason, I unconsciously adopted this tool to help me survive the wonkey, unpredictability of life. It has served me well:

  • I am an excellent teacher, planner, and organizer.

  • I have an ability to think through all the variables and make a preemptive to plan to address anything that might come up.

  • I am goal oriented and internally driven to achieve said goals.

  • I work first and play second.

  • I am sensitive to the needs of others and can address those needs before they even realize they had one.

  • I am energetic and can get sh*t done like no one else.

Anxiety has played a role in each of these areas of my life. And... Rejecting anxiety meant I was never fully able to accept myself - even the positive ways I show up and impact the world around me.

 

Facing Fear FEAR told me I better be careful with anxiety, to not get too close to it. Because the truth would probably be that it was all I was. And if it was all that I was, then the truth that followed is that I am broken, a misfit, and would never be enough for life.

FEAR told me the keep anxiety at arm's length, otherwise it would be my un-doing. Death. In the sunlight of Truth, I realized that anxiety is part of who I am. It is not ALL of who I am, but it is a part of me. The energy of anxiety has helped me survive the unpredictability of life. It has helped me be successful, in many respects!

Facing my FEAR, I learned to turn towards anxiety, instead of batting it away every chance I got. Facing the possibility that it might be my undoing, I trusted the bigger process of life which is an urge to live and thrive.

 

Finding My Way Home Facing the unpredictability of life, with awareness of my unconscious habit of rolling into panic, offered me new space to make a different choice.

I realized, within this space, an increasing capacity to sit with anxiety, before reacting. It was here that a new relationship was born within myself.

It was here that I welcomed anxiety home: No more fighting. No more rejection.

 

The NOW Much has changed in the past 3 years; including, but not limited to continued inner work with my amazing people, a correct dose of Zoloft to support my inclination towards anxiety, and a new living situation.

A few weeks ago, my daughter and I returned to Six Flags - the first time in three years. Facing the roller coasters this time reminded me just how much of an illusion FEAR is.

"Fear has one goal: To keep us settling for less. Never stop reaching for your potential. Fear is an illusion, but your capabilities are real." - Author Unknown

Fear wants us to settle for less, in an effort to keep us alive. For me, it expressed as intense anxiety, telling me to limit risk, control everything possible and avoid situations that were unpredictable.

With 8 billion people in the world, all of us just wanting to survive, fear shows up in infinite ways, but it always circles back to rejection of some aspect of life that wants to be lived through us.

When we so intensely reject an obvious aspect of our humanity, we are rejecting ourselves.

No matter how much we hustle, or how courageous we appear to be as we fight; no matter how intent we are to never let it win, we will never arrive on another side. There can never be another side, as long as we are fixated on rejection.

 

The Other Side Hold the phone. What is the other side, anyways? Where is it that we would prefer to be, if not fighting fear, anxiety, and parts of ourselves we would rather disown?

That will be as individual as fear, but just as fear always circles back to rejection of life, I believe the "other side" is acceptance and that which promotes life.

I think of eternal qualities like: Peace that passes understanding, Wholeness, Freedom, Abiding Love, Deep Wisdom and Balance.

These are qualities that are innate in each one of us...they just got really buried under fear. Our invitation is to face fear and allow it to dissolve (being the illusion that it is), so that the Truth of good of life can be revealed.

 

Looking Forward You are at choice: You can let fear stop you, with its sly promise to keep you safe. You can do the up and down thing, the second guessing, hemming and hawing. You can worry and plan every single detail. You can fight and push away. You can bury and disown. You can do your darndest to control life...


You can.


But you don't have to. There is space where you can make a different choice. What I knew about myself, is that I wanted to live fully in the Truth of my Freedom. I know I have the capacity to do what it is that I so desire, to live in a way that promotes life and doesn't fight against it. MY capabilities are REAL!

I take a breath each time I notice fear peeking in. I notice the space for choice. And I choose to step forward, reminding myself that I am capable of living fully in the Truth of my Freedom. What may seem crazy is that what I know about myself...well, I actually know it about YOU, too. I like to think of it as my super power.

So my friend...notice where fear comes up, take a breath, step forward and remind yourself of YOUR capability and readiness to live fully, to live freely. Let the fear shit go.

Loving you so much, Rachel

 

For Reflection and Journaling:

  • How does FEAR show up for you? What does it look like, sound like, feel like?

  • What is your Other Side? What are the eternal qualities that you desire to cultivate in your life?

  • How can you create conscious space to make a new choice?

 

Rachel Sartori is an Embodiment and Wholeness Coach. She is kick-ass and heart-centered whether she is showing up as a workshop/retreat facilitator, a private coach, a writer or a speaker. Rachel invites you to exercise your soul, and participate in the healing of your own heart and the world around you. With Rachel, all is welcome, all the time.


Read: Exercise Your Soul: Ignite Healing and Wholeness in your Life and Live from the Inside Out


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