Nowadays you tend to hear the phrase “Choose love over fear” quite often especially when dealing with issues of racism and even peoples’ reactions to the social crisis that we’re passing through right now.
That phrase is used to describe how when we are in fear, there is the possibility of becoming even more protective and more separate and intolerant. And if we choose love instead of fear, we are less likely to hate and to vilify others for thinking or acting differently than us.
What this phrase also tends to create is a vilifying of fear itself, as if fear was something to be avoided. We can become afraid of fear, avoiding it, suppressing it, judging ourselves and others for it, and even allowing it to rule our thoughts and actions (or lack thereof).
Societally speaking, there is, as Matthew Crawford puts it, “an ideology of safetyism” permeating social and health policy making, trying to eliminate risk and to keep people as safe as possible. It seems that “the safer we become, the more intolerable we are to any risk” he says. And also, we become more receptive to having corporate and government projects laid upon us.
In our personal lives, focusing on our safety and comfort is the domain of the comfort zone. It also seems that the more we hang out in the comfort zone, the less resilient and adaptable we become.
Since fear starts at the edge of our comfort zone, it’s important to learn to respond to fear, and in a way that is most appropriate and efficacious.
There are essentially 3 ways that we can respond to fear:
- We can be held captive by it.
- We can try to pretend it’s not there or make it an enemy.
- We can make friends with it.
So how can we make friends with it and why would we want to?
If we don’t make friends with it, it persists within us as tension and disconnection because to deny something that is happening in your body is to separate from it and fragment inside.
When we are either held captive by fear or when we make it an enemy, a physical and neurological separation happens. In New Age terms, they say we close our hearts. Neuroscientists will say we’re having a fight/flight reaction and parts of your brain are being hijacked by the amygdala and hippocampus. NeuroStructural chiropractors refer to it as part of NeuroStructural shift, tension in the spinal cord, flexion and stretching, like the bending of a straw and stretching chewing gum. This physical distortion of the spinal cord creates a freezing of the communication between your body and your brain. This state in the body forms the basis of most dysfunction and disease, cuts us off from our resilience and prevents us from adapting.
Making friends with fear is what we’re teaching you when you come into the office; to be present with the feelings and sensations in your body, without trying to change what you’re feeling. This is THE most powerful healing anyone can do and it’s right there for you, accessible at any time.
In the next article, we’ll have a look at what causes fear and how we can use it to our benefit.