Bringing FEAR to the Cushion

FEAR. That four letter word.

It strikes mental, emotional, and physical responses in us all. No one is immune. I'm sure you can easily tap into its familiar hold - stomach churning, cold sweat, heart racing. It seeps into our lives in ways that are old and new, like weeds in a garden. 

Perhaps through self care practices or therapy we have gained insight into those dark places. But just when you think you know your fear, it morphs and changes shape. Its hold on us calls out to unhealthy attempts to cope or control. Fear continues to grow roots if we are not diligent in the weeding process.

I recently listened to this podcast on F.E.A.R and the speaker made a profound connection. 

FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real.

How wonderful! This simple, yet effective acronym for how our mind trails into the darkest places without truth, without evidence.

We may be paralyzed by perfection at times, or feel like an imposter. We may fear loss, pain, or the idea that no one will love us. This false information gives birth to anxiety and control (the cousins of fear) yet we continue to let the roots grow, despite knowing their detrimental effects. 

We may rationalize or understand our fear on a cognitive level. And even an emotional and spiritual one. But as the speaker suggested, are we allowing space for us to feel the fear? Can we sit with it like an old friend? When we meditate or practice yoga, do we chastise ourselves for allowing fear in? Can we let our voice be that of kind encouragement rather than staunch berating? The latter only causes more anxiety and shame. 

So, as the speaker in the podcast suggested, I will kindly invite these things to the cushion and mat with me. I have faith that through yoga and meditation, the roots of kindness and self-compassion will grow stronger and more prevalent than those of my fears.