Fear is a very real thing. There are hardly any feelings that can grip you quite like fear can. It will make you stop dead in your tracks without your consent, cause you to take flight when you feel threatened, and if you get your back up against the wall…it will call you to fight in one way or another. Oh yes, fear…that gut wrenching emotion that seems to rip and tear apart everything inside of you when it makes its appearance.

My relationship with fear has changed over these past two months and I am sure as the work I am doing continues I will experience many more changes with every other feeling in the book. But I want to tell you something that has helped me unravel those tight knots of fear.

I dance with it.

I feel it. I feel it down into my bones and begin to get very comfortable in an incredibly uncomfortable state. I let it flow through me – I feel what part of my body it’s taking over, where it’s sitting, what the sensation is like, what is bringing it about, what is this fear all about? What is tightening my stomach and rising up my neck? So I get intimate with it…fear dances around me and I dance right back. I let it enter. I let it take its place. I let it be…but I do not consume it.

I breathe.

The most interesting thing I have found with significant amounts of shadow work is that entering into the deepest darkest happenings of your life…with a boatload of compassion…releases stored capsules of pain. They can be stored in our soul…they can be stored physically in our body (necks, stomach etc) but when you do the work, you start to feel a type of releasing. I’ve learned that I hold uncomfortable pain in my lower back and traps. When I started doing the work though, taking those steps around the dance hall with fear, I feel my traps loosen…stretch…and the pain dissipates.

Fear takes hold in your body, your mind, and your soul in many different ways. If you constantly run from these emotions…don’t think that the distance you’ve created in your mind has you safe from the issue. Ha…as I have learned many times over, running doesn’t do a damn thing. You can’t push it off, wait for another time, or even disavow the feeling altogether. Why? Because painful situations and experiences develop pockets inside of you, like little pockets of poison, that leak like crazy. They leak like plastic bags with holes in them and re-consume their own poison over and over and over again.

So? What do we do?

We have to put ourselves in clean water. Huh? The only way to cleanse these pockets is to do the work. To put yourself in a situation with support, with practices, and with a commitment to diving into yourself – as bat-shit-scary-and-freaking-horrifying as that may be – and to bring a non judgmental and compassionate attitude towards ourselves.

Tall order – yup.

We can’t look at ourselves as a linear product of experience on a timeline. We are far deeper and more complicated than that. We have to look at ourselves as a vast array of tunnels and caves covering the entire x,y,z plane. The depths of our lives are actually often not even understood by even ourselves! So what a great way to discover who you inside. Not what your personality is…but really that energy and the depth of your spirit.

This process could be transformational couldn’t it?

In the age of self-help and improvement, we get stuck in a world of tips and tricks to get us to live a better life. No doubt there is fantastic information in there…but there really is a complete lack of doing the in-depth work that supports the deep emotional needs that we have to address. Reading a book and getting great content from it is fantastic…and it can help you develop surface level skills that will take you from A to B. But that’s linear. Where the magic truly is…is starting to get intimate…to dance…with yourself compassionately and begin to understand what lies within.

We are far more than just this piece of meat we are attached to. We are not in a body…that would imply that we have something to escape or that we are trapped. No, our body is a manifestation of us. There’s a big difference. Even if we take care of our bodies, we can still be so disconnected from truly feeling its intricacies. I think you’ve started to get the hint by now that meditation is highly promoted by me…but not for the reason of spiritual awakening or transcendence…no…but for creating a safe place, a place of compassion, that you can go to every single day to begin to do the work that really matters. This is not destroying yourself…this is loving yourself. Creating a deep an intimate and knowing relationship with what is going on in your life…what needs attention…and just how much you can heal yourself.

If you don’t like the word meditation…well, think of it this way. It’s breathing with your eyes closed for a set amount of time. Better?

The next time fear really starts to show up in your life (or any other emotion really) start to get honest with it. Start to unravel it. There are patterns and reasons why it does. Is it really fear of something?…or is it covered up by the situation…is it fear? or is it a deep longing for something else that is completely unmet in your life? Fear comes disguised in many different cloaks. If you look at the cloak too long, you will only see the surface colors of it…but if you start to uncover it…you will end up seeing worlds – not just a world – worlds – that show you so many things you never could have imagined.

Step into it.

Sweetheart, let’s dance.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project