Yesterday, I faced all my deepest fears. Conjured them up, wrote them down, and had a good look at them.
When I boil them down to their essentials, my deepest fears are the same as most people’s. Fear of loss. Fear of failure. Fear of inadequacy. Fear of letting my loved ones down. Fear of not being seen. And fear that the Spirit realm isn’t real, which is arguably one version of fear of being alone.
The scariest part about facing my deepest fears is that acknowledging them doesn’t make them disappear. I could, and most likely will lose people I love. I could fail to achieve my goals due to my own inadequacy. My fear of not being seen is bound to come true many times in my lifetime. Being human, I’m likely to let my loved ones down at some point. It’s not impossible that I’ll loose my faith in Spirit and gain back the sense of aloneness I carried with me before my belief systems shifted.
Realizing this, my next question was: If deeply feeling these fears doesn’t stop them from coming true, why do I have them? What is the purpose of fundamental fears? Is there one?
To understand why I asked this question, you have to be introduced to my deep respect for fear. My belief that fear serves a very important and powerful purpose in our lives. When we sense danger, our fears comes forward, to bring us into the present moment, quiet us and sharpen our awareness. When facing an immediate threat to our safety such as a swerving car, our fear comes forth in a surge of adrenaline that helps us to take quick and decisive action to get out of the way and protect ourselves. If we allow it to, fear will tell us exactly when to run, fight or freeze.
Fear does all this by bringing us an incredibly powerful energy of intense focus.
So lately I’ve been working really hard on letting go of my lifelong habit of distracting myself from intense emotions. At this point, I never avoid feeling my feelings for very long, but my immediate response to intense emotions is still distraction. I spent a long time approaching this self-improvement goal from this angle of breaking my distraction habit. I recently realized (with a nudge from a Spirit Guide) that I also needed to cultivate focus.
I couldn’t simply break the habit of distraction without having a habit of focus to replace it.
This is what lead me to facing all my deepest fears yesterday. I’d been asking my Guides for help with letting go of distraction and welcoming focus. In response, they’ve been trying to help me get comfortable with fear.
Yesterday, I was in the huge half-wooded cemetery near my house where I go get away from the urban buzz of humanity and do my weekly shamanic practice of connecting with myself, nature and Spirit. I’d been feeling a lot of fear and didn’t know what to do with it so I asked my Guides for help. After preparing my energy, they instructed me to listen to the voice of my fear. To sit and breathe and just let the energy come forward without trying to push it down or reassure myself.
If you’ve never sat down and fully embraced fear, let me describe what you’re missing. It started with the sickening feeling in the stomach that you’re all familiar with. Then, as I kept breathing and focused on that nauseousness, it expanded into intense, dizzying rolling waves of fear. My breath quickened and I could hear my heart pounding in my ears. I kept breathing, and allowed the waves to move, and eventually they broke and crashed into a buzzing clarity. Every atom in my body pulsed, all fearful thoughts flooded out of my mind and were replaced with a complete certainty about exactly what I needed to do right now. Suddenly it was perfectly clear what was going on in my inner and outer world and I knew exactly what I needed to do about it.
I knew I needed to draw out all my deepest fears, right there and then.
Drawing from the sharply focused energy of fear, I brainstormed and wrote out my list. I spent a while getting comfortable with looking at all of them on the page in front of me. My Guides told me that I needed to do this to overcome my fear of fear, fully receive the benefits of focus that fear brings, and finally shift my distraction habit. For this reason, I was very glad to have completed the exercise.
But I also wondered, what is the point of these fears? If having them and facing them doesn’t stop them from coming true, why I do have these deep fears?
It is my curiosity around this question that drove me to write this post today. Sitting down at my computer, I was hit with a wave of fear. My first reaction was: thanks fear! I welcome your turbo focus powers to this blogging enterprise.
Then I began to wonder, perhaps writing this blog post is actually bringing up some of my deepest fears. If people misunderstand it, I could feel unseen. What if I’m inadequate at writing? What if my blog and YouTube channel don’t resonate and I ultimately fail at my goal of becoming a full-time professional energy healer because of it?
Suddenly the answer to my question became clear.
The purpose of my deepest darkest fears is the same as the purpose of regular daily fear that comes up in response to a threat.
To help me focus.
If I allow my fear to flow, become centered in the present and focused on the task at hand every time one of my deepest fears is conjured, it will make them less likely to happen.
These deep fears are an incredible gift. They give us a long-term powerful reserve of intense focus that becomes immediately available whenever we’re doing the things that matter most to us.
My fears of loss and letting my loved ones down can help me stay focused on caring for and supporting them. My fear of being alone can help me focus my mind and connect with Spirit. My fear of not being seen can help me focus on making genuine connections with people. And my fears of inadequacy and failure can bring me focus to help with all things professional.
So while facing all of my deepest fears was certainly, well, scary, it is also one of the most exciting, empowering and powerful things I have ever done. Knowing that I have this powerful innate tool of fear-induced focus to help prevent all my worst nightmares from coming true, has opened up a wider space for my dreams.
Mika Miles is a queer, feminist Shamanic Healer and Reiki Master based out of Philadelphia, PA. She enjoys singing, fighting the patriarchy, taking care of her special needs cat, frolicking with friends and spending time alone in cemeteries. The focus of her practice is the connection between personal healing and collective transformation. Mika works with clients one-on-one at a distance and locally in Philadelphia. Find her online here, where she offers a variety of Shamanic Healing, Reiki, and channeling services.
Image courtesy of Fifaliana.