Active Consciousness Newsletter -- June 2012 Facing Your Fear I admit it -- I tend to be a fearful person. It's not debilitating and I cope with mos

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Active Consciousness Newsletter -- June 2012

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Facing Your Fear

I admit it -- I tend to be a fearful person. It's not debilitating and I cope with most of my fears, but I'm not a big fan of flying, heights, bridges, tunnels, elevators, and large spiders.

So it was with trepidation (but determination) that I decided to include a zip-line excursion in my recent trip with my husband to Costa Rica. My sons had both zip-lined in Costa Rica and said: "Mom you have to do it. You can do it." I had to prove to them and to myself that I could. But I worried about it for five months and didn't sleep a wink the night before the fateful day.

There I am in the photo -- with a somewhat faked look of terror as we made our way up the mountainside in the sky-tram. Because I wanted to have my experience feel as safe as I could, we opted for the most professional (and most expensive) outfit, with the thickest cables and sturdiest tram. Interestingly, however, it also has the longest and fastest zip-lines in Costa Rica. I mean -- half-mile long lines, which you zip across at 40-50 mph, over 600 foot chasms. Seriously.

As we made our way up in the tram, I felt oddly calm about the whole thing. The tram was steady and slow-moving, not like the flimsy swinging ski-lifts that I am also so afraid of. And our guides were extremely reassuring and instilled confidence in me. I had no problem with the two short 100 ft. practice zips that ran about 15 feet in the air. I thought the next would be "medium." No such luck. I turned and faced the first "real" line. The cable stretched so far into the distance that you could not see the other end. A mountainous chasm stretched before me, with a cloudy mist hanging over it all. I gulped. I asked the guides were they sure I was secure? Could they wait a second? They pushed me on my way before I could finish my sentence. And off I went, trying to just do what they had instructed me to do, trust in myself, trust in Great Spirit, and be in the Now, experiencing what I had feared for so many months. I did it! Check out this video that my husband Steve took of this very moment on You Tube... (the "scream" is really the guide whistling to the guide on the other end of the line...)

So why am I telling you this story? What did I learn from this experience?

First of all, my anticipation of the event (and of almost all the things I tend to be afraid of) was much worse than the actual experience when it happened. I was remarkably brave when it came down to it. I surprised myself. In the case of flying on planes, the same is true. Once I'm on the plane, I'm fine.

As I suggest in Active Consciousness, it's also good to dissect things a bit more -- into thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Aside from anxiety and fear, what was my thought process about my zip-lining ordeal? In retrospect, I realize that it was a kind of lack of acceptance of the situation -- a rigid notion that I needed to keep things the same, safe, perfect. For example, all night the night before the zip-line, I kept thinking "Why am I doing this dangerous thing?" and that I should just keep things steady and safe. Moreover, when I think about many of my fears, they have less to do with the external events themselves but rather with my own internal sense of safety. In other words, it's not about the inherent safety of bridges and tunnels and airplanes, but rather, my internal sense of safety or resistance to change within.

And what was my sensation as I lay in my bed all that sleepless night? A kind of resistance. A bracing of myself. A tension in my chest. How could I have relaxed it? What would that have felt like? Breathing deeply... a sense of acceptance, trust, even submission. I am reminded of movies I have seen of prey being take down by a predator. There is flight and even fight, but then there comes a time when the game is up -- and the prey submits. Although they are still alive, they relax. They submit. Perhaps there is a place where we too can reach a kind of trust or acceptance when we face our fears.

Think of the EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) formula (which I discuss in Chapter 19 of Active Consciousness), which is an excellent therapy for treating phobias: "Even though I am afraid of X, I deeply and completely accept myself." Acceptance. I accept myself, and thus my fear of X, which resides within myself. By recognizing the roots of our fears, our ideas about our fears, and perhaps most importantly, relaxing our internal sensation of our fears, we can face and even overcome them.

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Four-Dimensional Space ---
on You Tube!

Check out this neat video made by a high school student about what the fourth spatial dimension is like.

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