Fear Didn't Win This Round
This is a photo of me facing fear. I am smiling because fear didn't win this round.
My best friend, spouse of 23+ years, and the person I trust most with my life loves his motorcycle. I have had a genuine aversion to the idea of riding with him. He has been patient and never forced me to love what he loves. But I have been working on my fear for quite a while now. And the day finally came for me to face it. And guess what? It wasn't awful. It was great.
Note: Please don't give me a lecture on motorcycle safety. I was already overflowing with fear for not just me but also him, which tends to resurface with lectures. And whether or not I keep riding, I don't know yet. But I did it, and now I am no longer paralyzed by the fear of simply discussing it. End of note, thanks.
In my spiritual direction practice and my friendships, I have heard more and more sharing about fear these past few years. I don't think it's coincidental that we have been living with a heightened sense of fear surrounding our health of ourselves and our loved ones. Fear has been a driving force behind many decisions for a long, long time.
I don't think God wants us to live in fear. I am sure of that (see Isaiah 4:10, Joshua 1:9, Deuteronomy 31:6). But I do believe fear can help us grow!
How do we move from a place of fear to a place of security, even when the stakes are high? How do we shift our hearts and minds (and whole bodies!) to be present and grounded, even when we are afraid?
I was afraid. But I invited my body to stop fighting with me to face my fear.
How do I face fears? First, I name them. I am grateful I have supported listeners through both counseling and spiritual direction. But if you don't have access to either, you can always name your fears with a trusted listener and get their wisdom with your next steps.
For me, there was a lot of work in advance but that day I tapped into some tools. I practiced breath work the entire ride. I got grounded in my body and envisioned a shield of protective energy from God around us as we rode. It may seem silly, but visualization and guided imagery are powerful ways to connect with God and to feel seen and cared for. I love how energy work helps my body feel grounded and balanced. I asked God what I needed to hear and let that be whispered to me the entire time we rode. I heard, "you're safe, I've got you, just be here."
Guess what? It worked. I didn't have expectations for how the ride would go, but instead, I leaned into the courage it gave me to face my fear. Want to try it?
5 Tips for Facing Your Fears
Fear can be a gift to us if we stop fighting it and embrace it wisely - in body and spirit. Fear can help us get out of our comfort zones and lean on something bigger than our own understanding. So, that's why I wanted to ride a motorcycle. Yep. What fear do you want to face?
Connecting with Your Body
Recently, I was asked to write an article for The United Methodist Church on embodiment and why connecting with the body matters for Christians. Here's a short excerpt of that piece and a link to the full story. Your clicking and sharing is always encouraging to writers like me.
If you've heard my story, you know that over 15 years ago, my body went through a health crisis (a stroke and brain surgery on my 31st birthday). At this time, I did not always feel like a whole person; I often felt disconnected and broken. While my body was in chronic pain, my spirit was also discouraged.
In that time of frustration, a physician prescribed yoga. I am unsure if it was the last resort on their part, but I was hurting and willing to try exercise and mindfulness. What did I have to lose? I did not know that yoga would be an invitation for embodiment and an opportunity for healing in my whole self—body and spirit.
Now, more than 15 years later, I not only practice living embodied, I am passionate about inviting others into caring for their bodies and spirits through embodied practices. If you are not interested in down dogs, I understand, but please know that yoga is not the only way to become more connected and present with yourself (although you may also be surprised).
Click here to read more and be encouraged with ideas for connecting with your own body today.
Whitney R. Simpson
yoga & meditation teacher
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Whitney R. Simpson
Exploring Peace Ministries, LLC