Looking into the face of fear

6197443243_1fc67fcca2_o by BioDivLibrary is licensed under CC-PDM 1.0

I know it’s not Halloween yet, but I couldn’t resist. Pretty awful illustration of a terrifying squid, right? Only a mother could love.

One day I was talking to a friend about fear; I asked what she was afraid of. She said, “Nothing, I’m not afraid of anything!” And the truth is, she is pretty fearless. But fear is a tricky one, and hides under so many of our patterned responses, we may not even know that fear is the base of whatever we are experiencing. Understanding the nature of fear and all the ways it manifests gives us the knowledge to address as we identify the source.

Fear is contraction, a tightening against unwelcome input. Different that what we expected or wanted, maybe possibly painful, wrong or bad, fear is the energy that says to our bodies, minds, hearts; everybody BRACE.

This is elemental, primal stuff we are experiencing, the same tightening our ancient cave dwelling ancestors felt when they heard a growl coming from deep in the sleeping cave. And, we have not evolved from that primal response, we do the same thing energetically as those folks did, we tighten, and we start telling stories of judgement and blame.

The only way out is in. If we keep contracting with more anxious energy and drowning in the ‘what ifs’, and ‘here we go agains’, more tightness is just more tightness, ease and peace a distant memory. So, what if we flip the narrative, play with the terrifying visage of fear, and treat it differently, so we get the ‘treat’ of peace and ease.

Think about something that causes you to feel anxious, irritable, sad, confused, alone, overwhelmed, for just a minute, bring one hand across your forehead, connecting the healing energy of your palm (we all have it) to the neurovascular reflex acupressure points on the forehead, that bring nourishment to nerves, flow to lymph and blood. Bring the other hand to the solar plexus, a gathering of nerves at the center of the body, right at the edge of the ribs. Keep thinking of whatever fear face contracts your body and mind— really ‘be’ with it, as you breathe and hold these powerful points. As you hold, you are teaching your brilliant primal brain that going into fight or flight mode is not necessary, not today. Feel the ribs expand and soften with the breath, drawing on the power of a full exhale and full inhale to release toxins (fear’s faces) and draw in nourishment. Take a moment to appreciate how cool it is, that we have tools for ease right at the end of our armbones. Give yourself a good squeeze, go on, wrap those arms around and give your sweet self a hug, you deserve it.

Fear says,

I can’t control things. I’m not safe.

Love says,

I got you. Right here, you are ok.

Give me a hug. Breathe.

Fear says,


Published by TerraLea

I lead mindful movement, qi gong, yoga and breath work to bring flow, space and vitality to everybody. I love to write, hike and play with Emma, our labradoodle. I am passionate about growing peace and calm in the midst of chaos.

2 thoughts on “Looking into the face of fear

  1. Thank you Terra Lea for giving us this knowledge and understanding on these essential life skills/tools as we go through this world of uncertainty. Two years ago when I was having severe back pain I recall all that contraction and fear taking me to dark places and catastrophizing and making body tense and unable to heal. With help of friend learned I could have control of it.

    So important to be reminded we have skills within us in our hands, in our mind, in our breath.
    Jan L.

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful response, Jan! I agree that the greatest wisdom is understanding that we have much more power than we think we do.❤️

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