Fear keeps us safe and is present in our life for a reason. With everything that is going on with COVID-19, there is no question that we need to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe in this moment. However, during this time, it can be very easy to slip into a stream of fear that might seem overwhelming to us.
Despite the fear we may be experiencing, we still need to be there, in a positive way, for ourselves and for the people who matter to us in.
How can we show up for ourselves and for others if we are too caught in constant fear cycles?
Jewel, the amazing songwriter, speaker, and writer has done an extensive amount of work in her own life dealing with the fear and anxiety she experienced while growing up. In her own words, she doubled down on learning about fear and the role it played in her own life.
She referred to fear as being a thief and the more she learned about it, the more curious she became about why it existed in her life. Being able to sit with fear, dissect it, and be curious about it, allowed her to develop the tools to get out of her own mind and be more present in her life. And when she could do this, she was able to become more of an observer of her thoughts, feelings, and habitual ways of being.
This was the moment in Jewel’s life when she was no longer a puppet of past fear, but could put the tools she had developed into action on a daily basis. Doing so helped her thrive and flourish in her own ways. Her music has made a difference to countless people around the world and she is a genuine role model for self-empowerment and taking action to do the hard work necessary to overcome adversity and hardship.
What can we learn from Jewel?
We can learn that dealing with fear is a very unique, individualized process that can be explored in a variety of ways. Although she created her own skillset for exploring fear through writing, meditation, mindfulness, and making music, we are all capable of exploring our own fear and assessing to what extent it impacts our ability to be there for ourselves and for others in challenging times.
The main way that Jewel was able to do this was by developing much greater meta-awareness. She didn’t have the answers nor did she force the answers to the questions that she had about her own fear and anxiety.
She simply learned to sit with these emotions and be curious about them. When her fear and anxiety increased and she was on the verge of one of the many panic attacks that she experienced, she was able to develop her own meditative visualizations that helped to ease the intense feelings that bombarded her.
One of these visualizations was to imagine herself sitting underwater. During this visualization, she would notice all the colors around her and describe being able to taste the sea water and to look up to see the clouds and sky above the water. She would sit in this visualization for however long it took for her to transition back into a more calm state of mind.
How does this apply to us?
By drawing more self-awareness to our fear and anxiety, we can explore our own unique ways of better coping with it. This can look very different to each person, but the key is to try to bring ourselves back into the present moment in a calm and loving way with ourselves.
By being able to return back to the present, we put ourselves in a better position to respond in positive ways to our family members and to ourselves, especially during times of challenge and distress.
As you reflect on the levels of fear and anxiety in your life, what are some ways that you might become more curious about them? What are some strategies that you can explore that may work for you to help ease the impact of these challenging emotions and allow you to drop into the present moment with more clarity and purpose? Let us know your thoughts. Thanks for reading.
Neila Steele & Andy Vasily