When I was little, my fears were tangible things: tornados, house fire, being kidnapped, snakes. These things never happened but I was aware of them and knew that they frightened me.
As an adult, fear is a much more nebulous thing. Sure, I still have concrete fears but it’s the subconscious fears that trip me up. If you’ve ever taken any kind of therapy, read any self-help or spiritual book, you’ve probably heard that most of our challenges come from fear. Most negative emotions can be traced back to fear. Angry? Dig deeper to find what you’re afraid of and using anger to mask. Procrastinating? Pause and try to unearth what fear lies beneath the procrastination.
Our human brains are wired for fear. Our survival depends on it. Fear alerts us to the danger around us, triggering our fight or flight response. These days our fight or flight can be triggered due to the content state of stress we are under.
This is where yoga and writing come in for me. They allow me to track fear. They keep me grounded in the present where everything is okay. Yoga allows me to stay present to exactly what is happening in my body and in my mind. Writing allows me to stay present to what I’m really thinking and feeling beneath the surface.
Both yoga and writing do not permit me to hide. They require me to dive deep and that is where I discover the fear that is holding me back. Once I am aware of it, I can release it.
Once that happens my life expands. And I expand to fill it.