A while ago I met a woman who was very homesick. Almost four years ago, she decided to pack up her life in the pacific northwest and move across the continent to the east coast. Her reason for moving was somewhat unusual: following the devastating tsunami and unprecedented nuclear disaster that occurred Japan in March of 2011, she had relocated based on her concerns about radioactive fallout travelling across the pacific, potentially contaminating the rain, air, food and land where she lived.
As she explained her decision to relocate, the tension and pain in her voice were palpable. She asked me, as someone who still lives on the west coast, if I'm not worried about the threat of nuclear pollution. My answer was a simple no: through my own experiences I have learned that the fear we cultivate around these phantom threats is typically much more toxic than the threats themselves. As we continued to talk, it became clear to both of us that she was actually proving my theory to be true.
I asked her: "You realize that by making these choices in the way that you have, you've structured your whole life around your fear, right?" and it was as though a balloon deflated inside of her. I watched her face go blank and, after some silence, crack a smile - relieved. She almost began laughing at herself - as she realized she'd been blindsided by her fear, and surrounded by others who were also blindsided by theirs.
Was That Just Me?
The more we talked, the more it became clear to both of us that my acquaintance's decision to move across the country had not been motivated by truth - not by an impulse connected to her heart, firmly grounded in reality, or life affirming in any way - but instead by a panicked survival impulse. That survival impulse had far less to do with a real, tangible threat, and more to do with a deeply held program that the world is unstable - that life is fundamentally hostile. The wound that this program was rooted in, unlike the perceived threat she was reacting to, was as real as it gets. The present situation was just providing a condition where the wound could express itself. And, the more we spoke, it became clear that her entire worldview was filtered through (and distorted by) this shattered part of her being.
Of course this dynamic isn't uncommon - we all play it out in different ways. And most of us have crossed paths with someone who gets so completely lost in the no-man's-land of projecting their fear onto the world that they believe everything is coming to a guaranteed, cataclysmic end. The stereotypical conspiracy theorist is probably one of the better examples of this: inwardly shattered, yet always externalizing their devastation. Everything wrong with the world is out there, somehow beyond our control, in the hands of omnipotent evil people.
Ultimately, this is a way of avoiding the wound; putting it outside ourselves so we don't have to experience it as our own.
I can speak from experience here: this is not much fun! Each of us must unravel this tendency in ourselves if we are to live in a grounded, sane and strong way.
The deeper our conversation got, my acquaintance began to own her fear - to connect with it independent from the story she'd been telling herself - as a force within her that had been triggered and allowed to run out of control. As she did this, her energy began to shift profoundly. For the first time in years she was looking at her life, her world, her decisions and her emotional landscape from a very different perspective - from just above the dark psychic storm clouds she'd been living within.
By stopping the projection - even just for a moment - and turning inward to see the emotion at its source, her world suddenly became a much more beautiful place.
The truth is that this world is not a terrible place. It is perfection - however challenging that may sometimes be. Everything we experience is directed by a profound, precise intelligence. The part of us that doesn't understand and doesn't trust - the clinging, myopic, wounded inner survivalist - refuses this and calls the world a mess, while the part of us that knows (the soul) waits for the rest to remember.
It can feel like walking through a fire, but learning how to feel our fear and develop a healthy relationship with it is one of the most important tasks we can undertake. It requires a level of discipline, intention, and positive reinforcement (by supportive friends, mentors or practitioners) to break deeply held patterns, but the rewards can be life changing.
Oh, and by the way, the woman I had this whole interaction with recently sent me an email update, telling me that she had moved back to the Northwest and felt amazing to be back where her heart desired - no longer living in a fear-trance.
Here's to the incredible journey of breaking the spell of our fear - every day!
About the Author:
Hello, my name is Miles Olsen - I'm a facilitator that focuses on helping people get into alignment with their soul, through conscious relationship work, emotional work, shadow integration and much more.
I do the work I do because when we align with our souls, pure magic happens. I know of nothing more beautiful or exciting.