Fear is like hiccups. You want them to stop. They continue. Like hiccups, fear comes from inside. In a panic, we try remedies. Hanging over the sink, while drinking water out of the back of a glass. Punishing ourselves with a nasty dose of table sugar. Meanwhile, our friends, get annoyed. Ten minutes before, you were loved and accepted. Now, you’re a nuisance.
In schools, even well behaved students with hiccups, are sent to the principal’s office.
Elementary school principal: “What seems to be the problem?”
Me (8 years old): “Uragh!”
Principal: “Oh. I see.”
Hiccups like fear, cloud over our happiness. We feel drained. Our battle is futile. Finally, overwhelmed and exhausted we lie down. “Uragh!” Tremors continue to erupt at regular intervals as we surrender to the state of hiccuppingness. And… they stop.
Surrender is letting go.
Works for fear and hiccups.
FEAR – False Evidence Appearing Real
I have a dear friend who, with the best intentions, often lives in fear. She’s smart and carefully studies current affairs. Her knowledge of natural and man-made disasters is superb. But she’s often consumed and even paralyzed by her fearful thoughts. Hyper-vigilant, she suffers from low energy and physical pain. Even worse, fear has suffocated her joy. And there’s no reasoning with it. Remember the hiccups? “Please. Stop… Uragh!”
So what happens when you tell the fearful friend, “Calm down. There’s nothing to fear. It’s all in your imagination.”?
I’ll tell you what happens. How does a fearful animal stuck in a corner behave? In humans and animals alike, fear can rapidly shift to anger. If you must challenge a fearful individual, brace yourself for a blast.
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
For a moment let’s turn our attention away from our fear-laden allies and look at ourselves. How do you deal with fear? What is your special brand?
worrying, concern, warning others, frequent hesitation, avoiding socializing, allergies, lecturing on what could go wrong, planning for disasters, planning for everything, being informed of major problems in the world, making pros and cons lists, seeing things as risky, using the phrase, “Be careful!” or “Drive safe”, obsessively washing your hands, sanitizing shopping carts, warning others frantically, “Don’t come near me I have a cold!” eating a designer diet because most food makes you sick, paying any attention to the latest flu on CNN (that will inflict 6 out of 80 million people) and the granddaddy of them all – watching (for more than 1 minute/day) the Weather Channel!
I hope, if you see yourself at all, in this list, that you’ll smile. You’re delightfully human and about to become more courageous. Here we go!
Let’s together, dabble in a little acceptance. Which applied to any brand of fear, sounds like:
“Yup. I’m afraid. I’m really scared that something might happen. I feel so worried. I feel lost and hopeless.”
Good. Now dig deeper into what could happen. Imagine the worst and tell yourself, “Now I’m terrified. If this keeps up, someone could die.”
Next, gently turn down the thoughts and place your attention on the sensations in your body. Breathe and notice.
Where do these sensations seem to live? Give them more attention. Remember, it’s perfectly ok to be afraid. But we’re not thinking anymore. We’re just breathing into the sensations in and around our body. Do this as long as it takes to feel lighter, brighter and hopeful. Now for the best part. Smile. Bask in the courage you’ve revealed. It was there all along!
Let Go and Liberate Yourself from Fear!
And the next time hiccups pay you a visit, welcome them. Throw a Hiccup Party! Invite your friends and neighbours. Bake some chocolate cupcakes! (sugar-less of course). Crank up some spicy music and dance with your fear – I mean hiccups. 🙂
Much love to you. I honour your courage and thank you for reading and for letting go.