Working With Fear

Fear comes up in the most annoying ways.  It pops up in our thoughts all day long — and in our dreams too.  What is this all about!

As I’ve worked with clients on this issue, I’ve been guided to explore fear in a new way.  The mundane fears of daily life — ‘what if I’m late to a meeting?’ ‘what if she doesn’t return my phone call’ — are representative of deeper, core fears that need healing.  Our subconscious gives us these daily fear “thought-pops” as impetus to see and release the deeper issues.

I recently worked with a client we’ll call Arthur.  He was considering buying a new house, but was worried the nearby lake might be a source of mosquitoes.  This concern was causing him to doubt the entire venture, despite the fact that he liked the piece of property and could afford it.

Rather than arguing with Arthur about the possible danger of the nearby lake, we were directed by source to examine the fear itself in written form.  This is something anyone can do at home, either with a partner or solo. (see below for the proper diagramming method).

First  write your fear, and respond to it with ‘…and then what?’  It is important to be non-judgmental.  Resistance will appear at about the third, ‘…and then what?’  It will most likely appear in the form of “I know.  It’s silly.”  Don’t stop the exercise because of this judgement.  This is the protective part of the ego trying to stop you from digging in the shadow places.  Don’t stop!  Keep asking and answering, ‘….and then what?’  You will soon get to a deep place that makes your heart pop.  Here is the exercise:

I am afraid the pond will be a source of mosquitos.

“And then what?”

I could be bitten.

“And then what?”

I could get sick.

“And then what?”

No one would come visit me in my new house because of all of the mosquitos.

“And then what?”

I would be alone.  And in pain.

“And then what?”

I could die alone.

“And then what?”

I’d be alone.

Arthur and I knew we hit his core fear because a deeper emotion suddenly surfaced upon reaching the last statement.  His eyes got wider, his voice quieter.  I could see suppressed grief associated with this old belief of being alone.  We sat with it for a while, allowing him to feel the feelings in non-judgement and with an open heart.

I suggested that many of his day-to-day fears were rooted in this deeper fear.  We diagrammed a few other of his current fears, and they all ended more-or-less in the same place.  It was easy for us to see then where the work needed to be done — not arguing about the relative probability of him catching West Nile disease, but of the fear of being deeply alone.

Source asked Arthur to keep a “Solutions” notebook where he could diagram his fears, find his core fear, and write possible remedies to the day-to-day fears.  This would help him separate his core fear of being alone from the simple obstacles of his life, and would help him keep things straight.  A Solutions notebook is very empowering.   We don’t have to be overwhelmed by all of the worries our mind offers us.

Below is an example of finding solutions for the “trigger-fear”:

“I’m afraid the nearby pond has mosquitos”

  1. buy screens for the windows
  2. ask neighbors if mosquitos are a problem
  3. be sure to empty standing water on the property
  4. research infection rates for West Nile disease in my neighborhood
  5. use bug spray and citronella candles when outside in the evening
  6. ask friends if they would be willing to come over even if there are screens in the windows and the night air is scented with citronella.

Once the “trigger-fear” was made manageable, Arthur could then focus on healing the core fear that powers so much of his negative mind chatter. It is possible to release core fear by simply becoming conscious of it, by sharing it with trusted loved ones, by working with a therapist or alternative-therapist, like me.  We do not have to live in our fear places.  It is universe’s desire that we be free.

*Here is the exercise done as a diagram.  This was shown by source as the correct methodology.  Something about the descending arrows helps us to go deeper into our subconscious.  Writing the solutions directly below the diagram immediately works with the emotions aroused by the exercise of going deep.  If you choose to work with this method, you will begin to see where most of your fear comes from.  It’s pretty exciting!  And freeing!