An Invitation: Facing Fear in Uncertain Times
Liz Corwin is a KiraGrace Ambassador and world traveling yoga instructor. She is also a 15-year US Navy Officer and former F-18 Navy jet pilot. Liz knows fear. She was involved in a mid-air collision during an eight-hour combat mission over Afghanistan. We asked Liz to write this piece for us since she has intimate experience facing and managing our greatest fears:
Between the constant news updates, travel advisories, precautionary essential oil suggestions, Vitamin-C recommendations, hand-washing memes, school closures, masks, Clorox wipes, stock-piled toilet paper, and varying opinions about whether we are over-reacting or under-reacting to the global crisis of COVID-19 – we are being overwhelmed with information right now yet none of us have CONTROL over the unknown.
So HOW do we accept this invitation from the universe to face our fear and accept the unknown in uncertain times?
This does not mean that we should stop doing what IS in our control, and many of us have begun taking precautionary measures. But it simply asks WHY we are individually becoming so triggered to those things OUT of our control? Where specifically is that fear coming from, and how do we shift it?
And what an invitation that is.
DIS-EASE. Many of us have this dis-ease right now whether we are coughing or not.
We are uneasy about what is to come - because we simply do not know. No amount of preparing for the future or analyzing the past, may alter what we simply do not know. Even those not in the most vulnerable age and health demographic to COVID-19 are being triggered by the instability around us. Much of this may in fact be justified, but what if some of the fears are not justified and are simply our old issues coming back to light? What if we are being asked to address this shadow energy within us and reintegrate it?
FEAR is not always ‘bad’. It is an instinctual response to danger that often keeps us alive. But when we allow fear to take over our clarity, we are no longer responding calmly to the present moment, but revisiting old fears and traumas as well. This ‘memory bank’ of fear may be compounding the current experience and leading us to a more reactive versus responsive state of being.
FEAR is the shadow of the first chakra, Muladhara. This is the corner stone and literal foundation of our individual identity of SELF-PRESERVATION.
Anodea Judith summarizes these issues in her incredible book “Eastern Body, Western Mind – Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self” as safety, financial stability, trust, grounding, home life, family, boundaries, prosperity, nourishment, and health .
It is no wonder why the unknown is so frightening when it threatens the foundation of our entire sense of security. This fear then focuses our attention outward so that we become hypervigilant, anxious, restless, and on-guard. This heightened state actually begins to become the baseline of daily experiences to the point that the FEAR response and ‘stressed state’ make us FEEL in control (even though deep down we may know we truly are not). We may even begin to crave this hyper-aroused state so much so that relaxing may feel threatening when we have so much adrenaline pumping through our system, so now what?
So what can we do to manage this fear?
How can we allow in this invitation?
What can we do to accept the unknown?
It is even possible?
Anodea Judith’s book contains incredible practices that we can utilize to begin to accept these fears and process them even amidst uncertain times. Remember, the first chakra is about the physical realm and embodiment. When we begin to stress over the uncertain possibilities that may or may not occur in the future, our thoughts take over these fantasies and pull us out of our bodies. We become ungrounded, shaky, daydreamy, unstable, and scattered. Therefore, we must counteract these impulses to regain center.
Here are a few of her suggestions:
1. Reconnect with the body/physical activity
We need to allow the body to express the responses of fear. Thinking or recognizing them are not enough. We need to move and allow our bodies to express the responses they desire to release. We must dissipate this energy, or it begins to get stuck in our thoughts, habit patterns, and body. You may not be able to go to the gym or the local yoga studio at this time but find a way to MOVE the body at home or outside.
2. Grounding practices and meditations
Grounding helps orient us in time and space to the present moment and allows the body to feel safe in its own containment, if even for a moment. Safe enough though that it can begin to recognize truth from illusion and how we are currently presenting ourselves. In this state we can regain boundaries and confidence of our own source of support. So many incredible yogis are offering online meditations at the moment, even five minutes may alter the course of your thoughts and day.
3. Hatha Yoga
Yoga helps reestablish communication with the body and a new relationship with our physical form. To literally ‘feel’ the ground beneath you and your experience with physical expression and sensation. Many studios are even taking their classes online right now which is an incredible opportunity to not only practice but stay connected with the community.
“Breathe and everything changes.” – Seane Corn
As we face the uncertainty of the next few weeks and months, may we find the space to reexamine the triggers we may be confronting. Where are they coming from? What needs to move and shift? How can we better see the truth behind our fears so that we can show up more compassionately and connected to those around us? The compassion we invigorate within ourselves will allow us to understand that others may be experiencing the same uprooting and compounding of past fears. It will gift us empathy if we allow it.
“If we can replace unreasonable fear with reasonable faith, then we have a natural antidote to our first chakra demon.” – Anodea Judith “Eastern Body, Western Mind”
The invitation begins with us.
Liz is going to be offering online yoga classes from her Instagram account @lizcorwin and Facebook @lizabethcorwin , to help you face the coming weeks and months. Photography by Robert Sturman.
If you liked this blog, check out our other blogs like: "7 Silver Linings to Soothe You", "Routines & Schedules: Why Something That Sounds Boring Is Powerful", "Inside the Coronavirus, I See Hope", "Way Out of our Comfort Zone", and "Taming Your Mind in the Face of Fear."