Spring is a time of new growth and of new beginnings. It’s also typically viewed as a time of renewed hope. After surviving the harsh, cold of winter, the arrival of spring, with its gentler climate, pale green buds and tender blossoms, is thought to be a herald of better times to come. This year it seems, however, that some people can’t shake the winter chill.
In my healing practice, I see people who deeply desire change and wish
to participate in the renewal of spring. They want to take a step forward in their lives, to stretch beyond their comfort zones, to heal and to grow. Yet paradoxically, they also fear change. I think this can be true for all of us, at one time, or another. Each of us has experienced fear. Our fears can stem from past trauma, relate to the unknown of the future, or be a combination of both. When innate desire to evolve and fear of change push and pull us in opposite directions, we get stuck.
Fear has a corrosive effect on one’s perspective. It narrows the ability to see possibilities and to envision positive outcomes. When coming from fear, we see only the darkest, negative future. We torture ourselves with the worst possible scenarios that we can imagine. As a result, we feel hopeless and powerless.
If you are feeling this way, remember that you do have the power to choose. You choose how to respond to every moment of life and every experience that you have. You may be thinking that is true, but all choice involves risk. We don’t know what the outcome of our choices will be. But remember, choices also bring into play unexpected possibilities. For example: Let’s say my dream is to write a screenplay. I may think that if I choose to invest my time in writing a screenplay, there is just a slender chance that I will sell it to a major movie studio. With all of the competition out there, it’s likely that no one will be interested in buying the screenplay. There is also a risk that someone will steal my screenplay idea and it gets made into a blockbuster, but I never see a dime of the profits. Because of a fear of failure, I conclude it’s just not worth pursuing my dream.
Yet, there are other possibilities that I have not considered. Such as, I don’t sell the screenplay, but someone, who has read it, hires me to write an adapted screenplay based on a novel that he’s written. Or, I’m offered a job in the film industry writing “script coverage” where I get to read lots of screenplays, and summarize and analyze their different elements. This job experience eventually leads me to a dream job at a big production company.
When we view life with fear, we close ourselves to life’s abundant possibilities that await us. A fearful perspective shrinks our world to the limited one that exists between our ears. In that anxious environment, we forget just how powerful a little trust in the world can be!
If you’re blocked by it, here are some suggestions to help you move beyond fear:
1. Do Something. Take just one tiny step. Don’t worry about the outcome. Just do your part and trust the Universe to take it from there.
“What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it;
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”
(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)
2. View Failure Differently. Because our culture is so focused on achieving outer goals and material success, many people have an unhealthy fear of failure. If your view of the purpose of life is not merely achieving material success, but personal growth, then learning is paramount. There is nothing wrong with trying something and failing, or trying something and finding out it’s not for you, as long as you learn from the experience.
“Whatever humans have learned had to be learned as a consequence only of trial and error experience. Humans have learned only through mistakes.” (Buckminster Fuller)
3. Stay in the Present. Instead of projecting yourself in a negative future, or reliving a past failure, stay in the present. Fear does not live in the present.
“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow,
it only saps today of its joy.” (Leo Buscaglia)
4. Visualize Possibilities. Our thoughts are creative. So, when you notice yourself thinking negative fearful thoughts, stop. Imagine what you would most like to see happen instead. Take 5-10 minutes a day to sit down where it’s quiet and you won’t be interrupted. Close your eyes and visualize what your life would look and feel like if you were fearless. What would it feel like to be in your body? How would you be different? How would your life be different? Use this technique to create a new reality by vividly picturing the outcome that you desire.
“Visualization and belief in a pattern of reality, Activates the creative power of Realization.” (A.L. Linall, Jr.)
5. Play the “What If” Game. Take 5 minutes and sit down where it’s quiet and you won’t be interrupted. Say out loud, or write in your journal, “What if” followed by whatever you’d like. (For example, “what if I ran for public office and won.”) And repeat the exercise again and again for the allotted time. Pretend that you can have anything that you want. Play like a child playing a game. Dream big, dream outrageous. Have fun with it. Don’t worry about whether what you are dreaming is possible or practical. But know that this technique is a way to bypass your left-brain thinking mind that is stuck in fear. It can help you to access higher intelligence, which can unlock possibilities that exist, but that you may not be consciously aware of.
6. Think Outside the Box. If you are taking all the right steps but getting nowhere, it may be time to think outside the box. For example, you’ve been laid off from work and are not having any luck obtaining another job even though you have networked, sent out loads resumes and applied for every job on the market. This may be a signal to think about other options. Have you considered that, instead of making your living behind a desk, perhaps this an opportunity for you to pursue a life-long dream job in another field?
7. Count your blessings. We close down in fear. Gratitude opens our hearts to receive life’s abundance. Make a list of what you have and are grateful for. Remember to include your health, family and friends.
“When you are grateful fear disappears and abundance appears.” (Anthony Robbins)
© 2009 Cynthia M. Revesz All Rights Reserved
Tiger image (courtesy of Save the Tiger Fund) www.savethetigerfund.org under a creative commons license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/