In Chinese medicine, winter is a time of introspection and analysis of one’s deepest inner resources. Traditionally, it was the period of the year when people worked less and therefore had a lot more time to be quiet in order to conserve energy and survive. Along with this abundance of time came the inevitable opportunity to reflect on one’s life and take stock of what has been. During this time, seeds of change are planted in the deepest reserves of a person’s being. Only when we reflect on the past can we ascertain what needs to be changed in order to move forward into the springtime with our plans for the coming year. But how can we move forward with our plans for the future when we haven’t figured out what it is that we want to create this year?
Most people have an answer when you ask them, “What do you want?” For example, some people might say, “I want a family” or “I want to make more money” or “I want to get fit” or “I want to write a novel.” These are wonderful things that many of us relate to. I mean who doesn’t want to get fit and make more money? But what people don’t realize is that the patterns we have developed as a means of surviving are getting in the way of us actually achieving these goals. Seriously, who is standing in the way of us accomplishing these things except for ourselves, our habits and our fears? But what separates people who are simply paying lip service to their goals and people who take measured and consistent action towards them is the difference between people who actually deal with their fear and people who let their fear deal with them.
The emotion for winter is fear. We all have fear!! Everyone and ESPECIALLY people who create big things. Which is so funny because you think of people who are hugely successful as being fearless but it is just not true. The bigger and more visible you are, the more and more fear you confront.
My experience of winter is that it is a time to really confront fear so we can figure out what is preventing us from taking the measured and consistent action necessary to achieve our goals for the year. Most of the fear we experience is hidden within the realms of the subconscious mind. So underlining our everyday activities there is a voice of sabotage that says things like this to us:
Do you Like Us?
“You better not do that, you’re going to fail” or “People are going to judge you for that one!” or “How can you dare to do that, you’re not good enough or you don’t have the money or you’re not able to deliver the goods!”
The list really goes on and on and on. We all have our own personal version of what that voice is saying to us.
The first step to overcoming fear is to actually acknowledge this voice. Like a child that is screaming for attention, if you ignore the screaming, it will get louder. Unacknowledged fear gets louder and louder and manifests in deeper and stronger ways. Some people get physical symptoms of the fear, like anxiety or unrelenting chronic pain. Others will manifest fear as confusion in the mind, cloudy or unfocused thinking, procrastination and unproductiveness. Still others will bury their fear so deep that it makes itself heard through deeply subconscious self-sabotage techniques like missing important meetings or periods of mental black out.
The second step in alleviating fear’s grip is to thank the fears for their role because they do have a role, you know! The role of fear is to keep us safe. It is a protection mechanism created by the subconscious mind whose sole purpose is to ensure our survival. So for many of us, survival is to stay small, to not be noticed, to NOT actually create what we are meant to create in this world, including a family, career or project. So after we can connect to the voice of our fear and allow it to come out of hiding, we need to thank it for its role in the very important job of keeping us safe.
The third step is to assure those fears that staying small is not okay with us. Staying isolated and alone is not the definition of “survival” and that we can move toward our goals without sacrificing our safety. Of course we can. And it is our responsibility to do just that. This is a process that takes time. Imagine trying to love a dog that has been abused. The dog is not going to trust us immediately, but after some time with consistent assurance, the dog will begin to trust us. The fears will begin to hold less power over you and your ability to create your dreams.
Take it from me. I recently ran into this type of paralyzing fear situation. I had just gotten back from a business seminar in which I am planning and creating huge expansion in 2014 and as many of you know I am getting married in June. I was so jazzed up and ready to move forward, all the while completely ignoring my own little nagging voice that was saying, “You can’t do this! You will fail!” On Thursday I was getting ready for work when I bent over and could not get back up. My fear had completely took over in the form of a back spasm. I had to cancel all of my patients! A first for me. BUT, I knew what was happening and I spent the next couple of days meditating on this voice of fear, letting it come up, hearing it, thanking it and telling it that I didn’t need that much protection! That and some help from my acupuncturist and my chirpractor, I was back on the track to consistent action on my growth in business.
If this is you and you just know that fear is holding you back, please either reach out to me through email right now and I’d love to connect with you about how I can help you move through fear. Winter is such a great time to conceive of goals for the year. Soon it will be spring and it will be time to start planting some seeds so let’s get clear on how fear is holding you back.