Sparkle and Shine
Sitting With Fear
Written by Joan Bender
Fear, we all experience it from time to time, and some experience it daily or multiple times a day. Some experience it so frequently that their bodies don't fully recover from it before the next sensation of fear comes along. It freezes us. It makes us run. It makes us stand up and fight. Some experience it as anxiety or depression or a "mood disorder." At the root of all of those labels is fear, and a nervous system that has been activated to protect us, and keep us safe from danger. Sometimes the danger is real, and sometimes it is perceived, and coming from somewhere inside of us. Many people write about tackling fears, pushing past them, taking them by reigns or calming them, and rising above them. Today, I'm going to suggest sitting with them.
What do I mean when I say sitting with fear? The Psychologist, Carl Jung, suggested that we all have a shadow. He described the shadow as the part of ourselves that is hidden from us, and is not an integrated part of us. It is hidden, because it is a part of ourselves that is hard to see, and we often fear what we can’t see or what is unknown. Our shadow side often shows up in our dreams, and calls to us to look at some part of ourselves that we are trying to avoid. These dreams often feel scary to the dreamer and the dreamer runs, freezes, fights or wakes up startled.
I’ve been working with my dreams and on integrating with my shadow side for many years. Recently, I had a dream where my shadow appeared. In this dream, I reached out to grab the shadow in a playful way, and the shadow ran from me. I proceeded to chat with the shadow and engage with it. The shadow was confused, because I wasn't afraid of it. It kept trying to scare me, and it wasn't working. When I awoke, I wrote my dream down in my journal, and at later time, had a conversation with my shadow. This conversation brought great insights on how to interact with myself and the world. I’ve been doing a lot of work over the past few years with regard to understanding fear, how it holds us back, and in particular, its impact on me. What came to me as I worked on this dream, is that I am befriending my shadow, and not letting it instill fear in me.
Fear isn't always a bad thing. It is there to protect us and keep us safe. We do however, have to find ways to sit with our fears, and understand them, so that we can be discerning, and understand the messages that are coming through to us. Next time you experience a sense of fear, find a quiet place to sit. Ask fear why it has chosen this moment to visit with you, and see what insights come into your awareness.
I was 1 of 50 inspirational women chosen to be a monthly contributor to the new e-magazine, Luminous Wisdom: Sophia. This space is dedicated to those monthly articles. The name of my column is Sparkle & Shine. You can learn more about the publication at http://www.sibellapublications.com/