I walk into my local grocery store and the wave of collective fear descends like a heavy cloud.
My heart accelerates at the visual of an elderly woman wearing a protective mask in the check-out line. I see it in the people I pass by, such as the man who accidentally bumps into me as we turn down the same aisle. The sensations increase as my gaze falls to my hands as they rest on the cart, wondering what germs might be lurking beneath them.
When I get home, I wash my hands methodically and put away the groceries. I collapse on my bed, emotionally and physically exhausted. I open my laptop and begin watching YouTube videos to catch up on latest reports of what’s happening in our world. The more I watch, the more I notice the anxiety again building inside me. My head feels tight, my heart strained, my breathing constricted, my body frozen. Emotionally, I feel paralyzed. The fear is taking over like a runaway train. I try to think positive thoughts, to talk myself through my worry, but any effort I make to banish the fear fails.
Then, I decide to do something brave. I sit down and make the decision to be with my fear.
In my house, sitting there on the bed, I close my eyes and make the conscious choice to allow the fear in. I see myself opening a metaphorical door, allowing the emotion and all of its accompanying uncomfortable sensations to enter my body, my home. I see it as a wave coming toward me, and instead of resisting or redirecting it, I open the door and let the current flow in and through me. I give it minimal mental attention—a soft focus—and just watch its movements. I reassure my body, “It’s okay,” and I feel my cells begin to glide with the waves. Gentle, slow movements.
A beautiful image begins to form in my mind. I see two of me. One is scared. The other is in a state of complete peace.
The peaceful me moves toward the fearful one. She reaches out and wraps her arms around her. The fearful me rests her weary head onto the shoulders of peace. She feels safe in these arms.
I continue to watch as the fearful me begins to meld into the peaceful me. She dissolves into her. I now only see the peaceful me, and feel my body settling into a state of calm.
Fear is safe.
Let that idea, that thought settle in.
When we decide to receive whatever emotion comes our way, the body gets the message there is nothing to fear. It relaxes, and something beautiful happens. We begin to experience a new gentle dance with ourselves, a fresh new rhythm that unites every part of us.
We don’t normally associate fear with safety. Quite the opposite. Fear feels uncomfortable. Most of us go to great lengths to distract ourselves, to numb the painful sensation. We turn to substances, create personal dramas, binge on social media—anything to not feel the distressing uncertainty of fear, even if just for a moment.
Yet the truth is that fear is simply a feeling, a sensation that ripples through our body.
Most of the time we feel afraid, nothing is actually physically happening to us. It is usually our mind projecting into the future, imagining stories of what could happen to us, or others we love, or the world we live in.
Though it’s become an automatic response to resist fear, when we do so we give our body the message that what it is feeling is not okay, and it is that resistance, rather than the fear itself, that causes us to feel unsafe.
If we allow ourselves to feel the fear, to be with it, it doesn’t lead to catastrophe, but to an opportunity. An opening.
The more we soften to the presence of fear, a growing sense of freedom develops inside us that brings with it permission to play, to dream, to create, to feel the magnificence of our natural essence.
We begin to look around us and notice the trees again, the flowers, the streams, the mountains, the glorious sunrise and sunset. We breathe in the magic of the ocean waves and the soft breeze that gently kisses our face. We feel the beauty of all of it.
When we allow emotions to flow freely in us and through us, we open our hearts up to life.
A new realization begins to settle in. We get the message that joy is safe too.
An interesting thing happens the more we choose to be with our emotions, to acknowledge them, and to reassure ourselves that it is okay to allow them in. Fear begins to show up less frequently, and when it does appear it fails to consume us or drive us to distraction in the way it once did. Instead, joy and peace become more and more our new normal.
It’s the same thing that happens when we feel safe around someone else, when we experience unconditional love—we are able to relax. To breathe. When fear is accepted, received, and not judged, the energy of it relaxes, and our bodies relax with it.
Without a doubt, what we are experiencing right now is unprecedented. Real pain is occurring, and we feel it. There is no denying that. The collective consciousness is predominantly filled with fear. What we do with that fear will greatly affect how we come through this.
Imagine if each of us took this time of pause to learn how to be with every emotion that comes our way. When one of us has a breakthrough, everyone participates in and benefits from it at some level.
If there is one person in a room, or on a YouTube video, or on a podcast, who is emitting true, authentic peace that we can feel in our bodies, one person who has learned to tenderly and lovingly slow dance with fear, wrapping their arms around it, those watching or those in the room feel a sense of safety, of hope, a sense of freedom to exhale.
The more we each learn to embrace our fear with love and compassion, the more the collective energy will change. It will have a ripple effect that will bring about profound results.
Together, we could create a world that looks and feels different from the one we see now, a planet that reflects this feeling of safety and joy that has become our predominant internal state. A calmness would settle in and around us, and we would experience a global exhale.
This beautiful planet we share would reflect the safety we now feel inside ourselves.