The afternoon desert sun shimmers through our bedroom window. The San Pedro cactus in our garden radiates a vivid neon green glow. Our two-year-old son is at daycare, and the house is, dare I say, quiet. My husband and I snuggle in bed. I am awestruck, grateful from my bones to the crown of my head for my life, for this love, for our family, for this ecstatic pause in the midst of so much motion. Psychedelic rainbow waves of joy run through my body.

And then… there IT is. IT begins to creep up on me. I feel like I am being stalked. No, being hunted. Sharp inhale… My heart rate jumps. Cortisol and adrenaline flood my system.

And then the avoidance. Flashes of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, ice-cold Coke, the longing to dive headfirst into a bucket of buttery, salty popcorn. The yearning to ignore it, push it away, pray it out. But no, primal fear is here – smack in the middle of what was beautiful moment.

“Just stay with the fear. It’s okay for it to be here,” my husband whispers, and I know he’s right. My body begins to shake, involuntarily trembling from head to toe like riding a rickety roller coaster cart. “This is good, Alice. Your body is letting go,” he says. My heart rate quickens as I lie flat on my back, trembling, vibrating with staccato, jerky movements. I moan like a frightened animal, hot tears falling down the sides of my eyes. The trembles slow and then get bigger again, slow, and then subside. My stomach gurgles. My chest rises and falls. Full-body goosebumps. And then, all is quiet. 

The remnants of fear, the reverberation and echoes of terror, the numbness, are still unwinding from my body, still reaching toward resolution. Despite the resistance, the discomfort, the “I should be through this by now” after years of healing, what I’ve learned the most loving thing I can do for myself is to welcome it. Befriend it.

Buddhist monk, author, and teacher Jack Kornfield shares:“Befriending fear becomes a gateway to freedom, an invitation to live more fully with trust and love.” This fear is known by many names. Whether it be trauma, getting triggered, feeling dysregulated, exiled parts, entities, the shadow— to WELCOME it (in spite of the resistance that naturally arises) is what sets us free.”

Today I got to dance to Organic House music with my son Arjan, to hug my best friend and feel the ripple of our sisterhood throughout my body. Today I got to pick weeds in the garden and notice the tiny green strawberries making their way toward ripeness. Today, this is me learning to live life more fully with trust and love. For me, this is freedom.

My invitation to you is: When fear, agitation, shame, pain and the like arise – whether you feel it mentally, physiologically, emotionally, or all of the above — Slow down, and find a space of safety and privacy. This space could be even a bathroom stall, sitting in your parked car. With loving awareness, explore the feelings that are coming up. What does it feel like? What are the sensations in the body? Be present with yourself and see what arises. 

As you make space for it, notice what else opens in your life? A pocket of joy? A moment of full presence? Sensations of pleasure? I’d love to hear from you and what comes alive for you in this courageous exploration! 

Grace & Grit,

PS: Be sure to check out (See Below) the Monthly Medicine Bag: Kundalini Yoga meditations, dance mixes by my husband (Naag), and cosmic highlights to support and uplift you.PPS: Included is my FREE Empath Mini Course. This is my FREE GIFT to soulful and sensitive beings looking to feel centered and empowered!

Photo by: Jilly Wendell

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