The whispers of my soul… for most of my life I did my utmost best to tune them out.
Because I got scared whenever I heard what they spoke of. The dreams, the yearnings, the desires.
When I left corporate, or rather, stumbled out of it, in a slow painful tumbling down amidst increased stress-levels and a body that simply couldn’t cope anymore – I felt like I lost everything. I lost who I was. I lost my job title, the top management level in the hierarchy I had worked so hard all those years to achieve, the 6-figure salary, and I lost myself.
And amidst that quiet – the stripped down bare essentials of me – my soul spoke.
The things it told me scared me.
It felt too big. Too impossible.
And most of all, it felt deceiving. A voice whispering in my heart and mind, speaking to me of things I had long forgotten, stashed away onto the pile of unreasonable dreams.
That, I realized, is the magic word. Unreasonable.
Because the reason why we do not trust that voice inside is because we are told not to. We are taught to listen to reason only. To facts, and figures, and to seek out proof, second opinions, the absolute truth, the best possible answer. We want to see before we believe. Know things will work out before we start. Follow the proven path to our goals.
This is what I have learned: there are two sides to the story. Because logic will only take us this far. We may think, and claim, and reason, that logic is the highest truth, and has all the answers. But here’s what we do not see:
▼ logic will have us seek the answers outside of ourselves. we will always feel insecure, in need of someone to tell us the answer we seek, not trusting ourselves enough to decide for ourselves what to do next.
▼ logic makes us lazy, preferring to follow the herd and do as everyone else does, because that’s what makes sense, even if it feels totally unexciting and totally not gives us joy (and we catch ourselves wondering if this is really all there is to life … right?).
▼ logic thinks in percentages, and/or, if then. It’s a mathematical approach to life. Think checklists. The blueprint to a successful life…
We’re scared at the thought of following this whisper.
Scared because it takes us into unknown, uncharted territory. No blueprints. No absolute certainty that this is the most correct answer, with stamp and approval of the guru or expert.
And scared because we wonder at the rightness of it all. Images of crystal balls and false predictions and whispers of the devil leading you astray… How can we trust something that seems so devious? That our environment will judge us for when they know?
Here’s what I have come to know.
It’s your wisdom.
An equal part of what makes you human. Mind Body Soul.
And whilst it will most definitely take you into uncharted territory – it will never lead you astray. It brings you to the path of your dreams. Yours. Not anyone else’s blueprint. And that is where your joy lies. To know, deeply, that this is your path. That this is your purpose, and calling. That this is you.
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So. About that fear.
Fear isn’t something to run away from. I know it’s one of the most physically intense things to feel. It literally takes away our breath, puts all of our senses in high alert, without anything to offer relief – no bear to run from in this instance, you know. It’s fear of the unknown – how do you even begin to fight that?
H O W T O M O V E B E Y O N D
T H E F E A R O F T H E U N K N O W N
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a guide for relief in times of intensity
how to move forward once more
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1. SEEK OUT WHAT SOOTHES YOU
In times of need, when I can feel the steely grip of fear constricting my throat and I don’t where to turn to find relief – I find comfort in this word offered by my friend Amanda Flaker: self-soothe.
The word itself is pure magic. Like a warm blanket wrapping around my senses, it halts the freak-out and brings me back to center.
“Oh. Right. I don’t have to go on fear’s adrenaline rush. There is a different choice available to me, and I’m choosing to make it.” Self-soothe. Play with that word. S A V O U R it slowly, roll it around your tongue like the last drops of a wonderful vintage wine. Feel how wonderfully sensual it is. Soothing… Drop into the word. Allow it to become an instant full-body reminder of peace, calm, and comfort.
Use the word itself to take you out of the fear spiral. Invoke it, reminding you there is a different path available to you. Then,
[bctt tweet=”Seek out what soothes you with stubborn devotion. This is the way out of the fear spiral.” via=”no”]
I’ve learned the hard way that it’s smart to sit down on a good day to devise a plan of action for a bad day. So, that’s my invitation to you.
What are things you can turn to for calming your body’s fear-based adrenaline rush?
That’s your priority, before diving into any of the other steps. CALM your nervous system, let your body come back to center, to the here and now, and you’ll have so much more focus and presence available to you.
Here’s some of my comforts:
▼ screaming, and jumping up and down in frustration and rage.
▼ a hug from someone who is willing to just hold me, no questions asked (let them know you might be needing this, and if they’re okay with providing this wordless comfort).
▼ crying. sometimes it’s just a few tears, sometimes it’s big messy and headache-inducing.
▼ a big cuddly blanket, and a comfy chair.
▼ a dance party. music blasting. crazy moves.
▼ candles, a bath.
▼ listening to audio recordings I know will help take me out of narrow-sighted fear.
▼ a glass of wine. (one. one feels good, and takes us out of fear’s intense physical sensations. But it’s also a numbing down, and more than one glass for me just takes me into a hangover, and creates fear bypassing rather than soothing. Your body may have a different response than mine, so just stay aware and present to how the wine is affecting you and most of all, be conscious of what numbing and bypassing looks like versus soothing)
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2. DANCE WITH THE FEAR
I’m talking about a deep exploration of what your fear is all about.
Part of the discomfort you’re feeling is the urgent desire to run away from this whole situation – the things that trigger your fear, the physical and emotional anguish. You just want it to stop.
That’s why you’d rather not rock the boat, you say yes when you want to say no, keep your head in the sand and ignore all those warning bells telling you life is not working out for you in this way. It’s the discomfort, mostly, that keeps you running from your fear.
So what would happen if you decided to be OKAY with feeling uncomfortable for the next little while, as you dive in and invite your fear for a chat?
In my experience, once I stop running – everything shifts. It’s more often than not with a pout and lots of feet-dragging that I’ll heave a big ole’ sigh and disgruntledly (is that even a word?) turn back to fear and go like “owkaaaaayyyyyy then, what’s this all about?”
The moment I do, I wonder why I didn’t before. I mean, I KNOW that this is what happens: anxiety leaves the room. Confusion, indecisiveness, and general fogginess swap places with clear-headed acceptance and knowing. And still. It always takes me a while to get on board with things. Just to say, you’re completely off the hook for dragging your feet and taking a red hot minute (or days) before accepting fear’s here, and it wants to talk.
So you’ve made your decision to talk – and already things feel so much better. On to what this fear is really telling you.
This is my process at this moment:
▼ make sure I have SPACE to dive into things.
I prefer to do this when no one else is home, and I know I will not be disturbed by any other human. If I need to let things rip – then at least I know I can do so without someone worrying about what is going on.
▼ set the scene.
I love having anything from a hot drink to candles to incense to music to absolute quiet to my favourite rose essential oil to coloured pens. Seek out what speaks to you.
this is what I have found works best for me – it may be completely different for you so allow yourself some space to feel into what feels the most supportive and honouring and juicy for you.
I’m a den-loving recluse when it comes to this type of bare-all inner uncovering work – so the space-setting and journalling really works to take me deep and uncover all the mechanics of what the fear is telling me and how to work with it moving forward. You, it may be speaking it out loud in a conversation with a dear friend. Or a hike in the woods, phone recorder in hand to keep track of new insights.
this I didn’t always do, but I’ve found that any type of deep-diving needs to be followed up with movement. If I think I can get away with not doing this, I find myself in that intense kind of energy still and it’s hard to recommit to my day-to-day life (I’m a mom. I kinda need to have my head present and focused here.) Headaches and general sluggishness starts to brew.
Resurfacing brings closure. I might step outside for a bit, clear my head and feel the bite of chilliness on the Autumn air. I go pet our pets. I do wild jumping-around kinda dancing. Or I start alchemizing food for our evening dinner. It doesn’t really matter what it is – as long as it brings a renewed surge of energy to your being, and you can feel yourself leaving the intense introspective space of before.
So what are you looking to find out?
You want to know what your fear is all about. Using the example above, we’re scared at the thought of following the whisper of our soul, our heart, our deepest dreams and desires.
So what is your fear telling you, now? Pen to paper.
What scares you the most about the whisper?
What scares you the most about you hearing this whisper, and what that tells you about you, about the world?
What scares you the most about not listening to this whisper?
What scares you the most about listening to, exploring this whisper?
What are you SO afraid of?
What is fear, and what lies beneath your fear, inviting you into?
Now breathe. At least, now, you know.
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3. SUPPORT FOR MOVING FORWARD
Soothing our bodies, and gaining insight into what triggered our fear usually doesn’t mean the fear is now neutralized completely. (sometimes it does, so yay!) So you’ll be standing at that same point where you left off earlier: gazing into the wide unknown, and your body and brain still not completely sure this is a good idea. All your senses still on alert – no longer panicked though, but present and looking out for your safety.
THIS is what it means to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’.
I hope this guide is helping you anchor into a new perspective and dialogue around fear. Not as the enemy, to be fought against viciously. Not as a sign of weakness, proof that at your core, you are not made out for big dreams and uneasy steps, not one of the brave. Rather, my wish for you is that you may feel yourself relax into the knowing that
fear is simply there, a beautiful insightful companion on your trip through life, showing you where your edges are, where you’re growing and blossoming into new territory, until you’re spread wide and far, a blooming carpet of dreams and journeys and voyages taken.
A caress by a new lover, the big unknown until mere seconds ago. Uncertainty dancing around your heart, hesitation clouding your movements. To say the words – or not?
The juiciness of a new fruit exploding in your mouth with your first bite.
Saying yes – yes to life, yes to your fear, yes to exploring the new. And yes – to doing it with gentle compassion for those spaces and places where it feels hard, insurmountable, incredibly scary. But yes anyway.
Because this is what it ultimately comes down to: you soothe your physical body and emotions until the anxiety lessens. you dedicate yourself to courageously turning towards your fear, and inviting it in for a chat. you get clear on what it is you’re fearful of. And then you get to decide: move forward despite your fear. Or turn back, deciding you will not stretch beyond your comfort zone, this time.
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To end this exploration of fear, I want to simply say that there is SUPPORT available to you. I know how hard it can be, to want to move forward SO MUCH yet feel like you’re stuck in place because you’re unsure of your next steps, and/or rooted in fear. So if you feel like you would love personalized one-to-one support for the next stretch of your journey, schedule a 30-minute free call into my calendar and we’ll explore what type of support would be most amazing for you right now (I currently offer 1-day intensives and 6-month mentoring). From one human to another: I’ve been there. And I’ve got you.
Connect with Kath
It’s my honour and delight to support you on your journey! Feel free to reach out and connect to learn more about how I can serve you via private mentorship programmes, activations and intensives.