I’m reading a great book, The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks and he says that we should celebrate fear. A good friend recommended this book to me and I’m loving it. If you haven’t read it, I urge you to get it now.
So what does it mean to celebrate fear?
Hendricks quotes the psychiatrist Fritz Perls, who said, “Fear is excitement without the breath.” Have you ever noticed how you hold your breath when feeling fearful?
Here is the magnificent solution that Hendricks offers: “The best advice I can give you is to take big, easy breaths when you feel fear. Feel the fear instead of pretending it’s not there. Celebrate it with a big breath, just the way you’d celebrate your birthday by taking a big breath and blowing out all the candles on your cake. Do that, and your fear turns into excitement. Do it more, and your excitement turns into exhilaration.”
WOW! I love that! When you experience fear, acknowledge it and blow through it.
According to Hendricks, “the very same mechanisms that produce excitement also produce fear, and any fear can be transformed into excitement by breathing fully with it. On the other hand, excitement turns into fear quickly if you hold your breath.”
Fear and excitement have also been called “two sides of the same coin”.
The concept of celebrating fear fits perfectly with the Greatest Expression of You Process that I have been writing about over the past 28 Sundays.
Celebrate fear with a big deep breath!
How do you experience fear?
What is fear like for you? Do you experience fearful thoughts? For you does fear start with the emotion of fear? Or, are you more apt to experience it in your body? Most likely you experience a combination of fearful thoughts, emotions and physical sensations.
We all experience fear. Fear is a normal human emotion and it can be healthy – it can even save your life by protecting you from doing foolish things. Fear can also be paralyzing and prevent you from achieving your goals and from being your best self.
Know your alarm bell
Take a moment right now and reflect on past experiences of fear. How did it first manifest? Thoughts? Emotions? Physical sensations?
Emotions are chemical reactions in your body. Fear inextricably linked with your physical experience. Often fear is described as a knot in the stomach.
If you can’t recall how you experienced fear in the past, pay attention today and throughout this week. Why is this important? So that you can quickly move through fear. It is important for you to recognize your own experience of fear. So, how do you experience fear? Do you first become aware of your thoughts? Is it more about your emotions? Or do you feel it in your body?
If it’s your thoughts, what are those thoughts? If it’s your emotions, how do you recognize the fear you feel? If it’s more in your body where do you feel it and how would you describe the physical sensation?
Knowing how you experience fear is your alarm clock. It’s your smoke detector. It is your warning signal. Having the awareness of how you experience fear gives you the ability to recognize it. You no longer have to play victim to fear. Your alarm bell is your call to action.
Move fear to excitement
Now that you know your alarm bell, you can move fear into excitement. In addition to celebrating fear by blowing out the candles, you can move the physical sensation of fear in your body. Here is how:
- In the privacy of your mind, recall a mildly fearful experience.
- Notice the sensation in your stomach.
- Use the power of your imagination to move it up a few inches higher in your body until it turns into excitement.
- Notice now that your thoughts have changed to thoughts of empowerment.
Take the big leap
(NOTE: If you have fear of water, don’t try this one yet. Call or email me and schedule a session to overcome your fear of water).
More than 25 years ago when I lived on Maui, I learned about what I call taking the Big Leap. At the time I was seeing a licensed psychologist for depression. He was well known, highly regarded and he was really out there with some of his techniques.
His office was at his home. One day as I pulled into his driveway for my appointment, he was sitting on the step to his office waiting for me. Before I could get out, he was climbing into my VW bus and said, “drive.”
He directed me down the road to Hana and then up some narrow winding dirt road. At the end of the road we got out and walked up a mountain trail. As we walked, he asked if I had made a decision to quit my job, move to the mainland and attend grad school. This was a continuation of previous sessions of me stuck in fear.
We arrived at a beautiful waterfall that flowed into a pool of water. He started undressing and told me that we were going for a swim. We climbed up on some rocks above the pool. I wasn’t thrilled with heights and narrow ledges to begin with, but you can imagine how my knees began to shake when he began asking more details about my fear of my grad school decision.
He then offered me a choice:
I could let fear hold me back and climb down off the ledge, or I could take the big leap. I have no idea how long I stood there, but finally I stepped into the fear.
If you have ever stepped off of a high diving board or ledge into a pool of water, you know that there is that moment of suspension. It feels like you are hanging in the air. Then, you begin the fall.
I vividly remember the cold mountain water enveloping me. After a moment in the water, I shot to the surface and took that deep gasp of air. Every cell of my body radiated life! I was energized, excited and alive.
I was no longer stuck in fear. Soon, we quit our jobs and moved to the mainland so that I could attend grad school.
To this day, when I realize I’m stuck in fear, I remember the experience of the big leap. I recall the aliveness, I take a deep breath and move through the fear. I have shared this experience with numerous clients over the years to help them connect to their own Big Leap. I invite you to take a moment right now and recall your own Big Leap and the feelings of excitement that you experienced when you moved through the fear.
Your Hypnosis Health Info Hypnotic Suggestion for today:
I celebrate fear with a big deep breath!
Memorize and Mentally rehearse excitement
Using the Greatest Expression of You process, memorize the feeling of joy and excitement (more on that next Sunday). Then, Mentally Rehearse courageously moving through fear with joy and excitement. See yourself enthusiastically embracing the fearful event and then joyfully celebrate your success. Give thanks for having the courage to acknowledge the fear and change it to excitement. Notice how empowering this is.
So the next time you experience fear, remember to “celebrate it with a big breath, just the way you’d celebrate your birthday by taking a big breath and blowing out all the candles on your cake. The more that you celebrate fear, the quicker and easier it becomes to change fear into excitement.
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