Monday, October 1, 2018

Face Everything And Rise

October is the month of we intentionally scare ourself and physically put on masks. I thought this would be a perfect time to focus on being fearless, taking off the masks, seeing yourself and letting yourself be seen.

Here are two acronyms of the word F.E.A.R:



Which do you choose?

Usually when we get afraid, our nervous system kicks in and we fight, flee, or freeze. We put on our armor trying to protect ourselves from whatever we think is going to hurt us in fear of losing what we have or getting something we do not want. 

However, our attempts to protect ourselves do not lessen the fear. Rather than becoming free from fear, we harden ourself and become more set in our ways.

If fear hardens us. Fearlessness is about softening ourself. The best way I have found to do this is to develop a compassionate friendship with myself.

To develop a deep friendship with yourself you must do the scary work of STAYING with yourself instead of shutting down, or running away or putting on the armor (all the natural tendencies of fear). It means keeping your heart open when your feelings seem to overwhelming, unpleasant, or painful.

When we put our armor on to protect ourself we develop an “iron heart.” When we cultivate a friendship with ourself, the iron heart softens. It becomes a vulnerable heart, a tender heart. It becomes a genuine heart that is willing to stay present for all the experiences of life without shutting down.

Non-dual Tantric teachings that inform Anusara Yoga remind us that everything is one energy. Every experience internal or external, joy-filled or grief-filled can be an opportunity to learn, grow and connect on a deeper level IF you engage the experience SKILLFULLY. If you learn how to STAY.

The biggest lesson I have learned from practicing this is, if I can open up to staying with myself and not putting on my armor or distracting myself or numbing myself... I can allow myself to feel into these feelings, open and move through them enough to see that although fear is present (or anger, boredom, insecurities, sadness...) that COMFORT is also always within me too.

Another huge teaching in Tantra is that this one energy is at the core of our being, deeply peaceful and always present. Being able to connect to that part of myself while staying with the less pleasant feelings allows my fear to soften tremendously.

Learning to be with fear and not shutting down. Choosing to soften instead of harden. That is FEARLESSNESS. It is not the lack of fear. Instead it is not allowing my habitual reaction of fear to take over.

This isn’t a practice we do one time and then our heart becomes fearlessly open and genuine. It becomes a practice of returning to softness when we feel ourself harden. We go through it again and again. In this way, fear can become our teacher and a reminder to turn back to our practice.

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