How do we face our fears? What do we do when there’s something really deep, dark, scary and yucky that has come up within us?
I like very much to talk about this because this comes up for all of us and it can be extremely challenging. It is always an occasion to gather one’s strength, center one’s self and set some time aside to feel and be with the feelings that come up.
I liken the work that we need to in these moments to that which we would offer to our best friend who came to us saying, “I really need someone to talk to. I need someone who will listen because I have something that I need to say out loud.” We give to ourselves what we would give to our best friend, or to a troubled teenaged son or daughter. We suspend all judgement. We don’t try to change the feelings, the truth that is emerging. We bear witness to it. We give it our level gaze of compassion and acknowledgement. In this way, we allow the deepest, darkest fears and feelings of shame to be expressed and then released.
Ilia Kavoukis, our guest on the show (www.sunshinecenter.ca), added the important point that we need to give ourselves permission to feel. She brought the insight as well that addictions of all kinds are engaged in by us to keep ourselves from feeling our true feelings about ourselves. Ilia confessed that for her, even meditation and spirituality can be an escape from feeling. We need to ‘sit with our stuff.’ Most people believe that meditation is done to quiet the mind or still the mind’s thoughts. But before we reach that stillness, we need to first be fully present in non-judgement with the mind’s chatter and with any feelings that come up. For Ilia, the work is sitting and being present with what you are, what you’re feeling, and Talking Stick Radio adds, with what is true for you now.
I believe that ego plays a role in all of this and that ego needs to hear that it is safe.
Susan brought into the discussion the story told by Tobias (www.crimsoncircle.com) of the snake in the road, which represents our fears, and the different ways of dealing with it. You can run from it, but then you won’t be able to move forward on your journey into wholeness and self-actualization. You can try to kill it, but you won’t be able to. You can try to ‘heal’ it or to ‘make it better’ and that won’t work either. The only way that you can really effectively engage with your fears is to acknowledge them and ask them what they have to tell you. Only in this way will you become fully sovereign and empowered.
Susan noted from her work as a mediator that when people come up with all kinds of stories about why and how and when, these are distractions from the impact of the feeling itself. BE with the feeling. Breathe and slow yourself down to the rhythm of the universe. You’ll feel it and it will feel infinitely calming and peaceful. Slow yourself down and allow yourself to fully acknowledge the feeling so that it can be fully expressed and then released. You have to go through it. The only way out is through.
So, as these feelings come up, we can go to this deep level of honesty with ourselves and this is so cleansing.
Ilia gave us a parting gem: “You have to be willing to cooperate with your own life.”