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REAL LOVE Part 7: The Big Fat “F” (FEAR)

REIKI NEWS & REVIEW:

By Columnist Camille Lucy – Certified Holistic Health Coach & Reiki Practitioner:

Loving without fear allows you to embrace life wholeheartedly
Photo Credit: Emily Bergquist: 2009: Moving Beyond Fear to Embrace Love

It was only a couple days into my 90-day experiment (of finding truth, understanding and real love and connection during the onset of a new relationship) that I began to suffer at the hands of the big fat “F.” That would be fear, ladies and gentlemen. I kept a written log for a couple of months, to record how I was feeling, what came up for me, and to reference it as this journey progressed. They were just words, quick thoughts, concepts and feelings. I tried to jot them down as soon as they came up. [I do suggest this as an exercise for anyone that is willing to take a peek within and begin working through what’s really going on inside.] 

Quick Thoughts, Concepts and Feelings

By Day 20, I was walking more of a straight path towards love and away from fear, but the first few weeks were brutal. Every bad thought I have ever had, or could ever have, taunted me like the plague. I kicked myself when I was down, I resurrected bad habits of self-sabotage, and I fell victim to self-limiting beliefs. All of the abuse I had suffered in my life came back, and quickly. With a vengeance. I often felt inadequate and small, like a scared little child. Also, I felt unworthy and ugly in all ways. Thus, I wanted to crawl into a ball and hide away, never coming out for fear of risking my own exposure.

For your amusement and to develop a deeper understanding of my process, I’ll share some of those days here:

Day 4: Drain. Trapped. Fears – doubts about worth and value. Overwhelm.

Day 7: Doubt. Fear. Learned patterns picked up in last relationship and new fears I developed during it.

Day 8: All the reasons it won’t work. Beginning of sabotage. Emotional. Extreme fear. Butterflies. Notice disconnect I  feel. Could it be real?

Day 10: Overwhelm. Depression.

Day 11: Wept. Joy. Emotion. Raw. Things making sense. Small moments. Profound effect. Lead me to today. Doesn’t diminish anyone else. Each experience is unique and different and appropriate for that given time. Appropriate lessons. Then you reach the point where you’re ready to join with someone in creating something powerful for the highest good of all and to serve others that are also ready for it. Feel strong. Can handle life’s challenges. Fear— what if it changes like the other times?

Day 14 and Beyond

Day 14: Drop in confidence. Succumb to challenges and feel defeated and small. Not worthy. Useless as a person. Nuisance. Depression. Why am I even here? The uncertainty of relationship etc. And then something beautiful happened. During self-sabotage – He brought me back.

Day 15: Self-conscious. Shy. Small.

Day 16: Allows me to reflect, dig deeper. To question my actions and words and thoughts. Stop and think.

Day 17: Paralyzing fears. Worsened by trauma. Disconnect from human touch and affection. Intimacy. Discouraged. Disappointed by life situation, again. “Who am I kidding?” For the book – just flow. Let go. Just do and be. This is all so temporary, anyway. Everything. Only love is real, right? We all love and, that is all there is.

Day 18: “In the brush of the tangible lies the magic of the infinite and unseen.” Deep connection. Question what was? Surreal. World of opposites. Support and love. Partnership. A lack of cling. A Great love. Space felt fine….

Day 19: Misconceptions. Reflecting on them. How can I do this, again? Start over? There’s no one out there like what I need, etc. I don’t want help. Self-limiting beliefs and fears, patterns, stories. Hearing “you’re more trouble than you’re worth,” growing up. Seeped into the subconscious that I was a nuisance.

The New Relationship

I think that about sums up how the first few weeks went for me in regards to my new relationship, and on my journey to self-discovery through love and unravelling my “junk.” While it may appear to be more like a yo-yo bouncing up and down, to and fro, there was one common theme woven into the weeks that passed. Fear was beside me every step of the way.

As fate would have it, the effects of my erratic mind-frame spilt over into writing this book and telling my tale. The pressure mounted, and I lost sight of its purpose. I tried to force myself to write, not understanding why I was having such a difficult time. I had so much to say, but the words just wouldn’t make their way onto paper (err, a computer screen). In the same way as a relationship, I feared exposure. The book, I knew, would be transparent and speak my entire truth, ugliness and all.

We all have a public self, a private self and a secret self (according to Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, “All human beings have three lives: public, private, and secret”). Our public self, we show the world. It’s for all to see. Our private self is limited to those close to us that we trust. And our secret self is the part of us we bring to the grave. My story, this book, leaked out my secret self. While there is nothing more liberating than being able to reveal all of yourself, it’s probably the most frightening thing you can do.

Critically Looking at How You Deal With Others

On Day 8, I noticed that fear was pushing me inward, but not in a positive way. I was chugging along, “not me, not again. That won’t happen to me.” I was afraid of reliving the pain I had endured in previous relationships. My walls went up, my defences were activated, and I was guarded. I retold my stories, blind to the extent of the damage I was causing myself. And so I disconnected from love.

On Day 9, I began to soften, again. Day 10, I was back to fear-based living. On Day 11, I was overjoyed by love and its infinite possibilities. Day 12 brought with it a desire for more, I felt alive and at peace. But then I thought, maybe I should “let this relationship go out of love.” No, it wasn’t love, I was feeling. It was fear. Self-sabotage. It was quite a roller coaster ride.

On Day 26, I was given the opportunity to face a lifelong fear, albeit an irrational one. I was reflecting on my self-defense mechanism to never get too close to anyone. But why? No one close to me ever “left” me. I wondered where this came from. All I knew was that it had affected me for the long haul, and I never became too close with anyone in my life, including family.

Understanding Where These Responses Come From

As a child, I would often “interview” myself for fun as I was playing alone. As an only child, I spent a lot of time in solitude. One day I asked Little Camille, “Would you rather be rich and happy or live in a box with the person you love?” Being the hopeless romantic that I always was, I chose the box. Nothing could compare to being with the one you loved. No money, no mansion, no success.This I knew at a very young age.

My next question was, “Would you rather a horse or a boyfriend?” I said very definitively, “A horse! They won’t leave you!” Sure, I really loved horses. But there was something more to my answer. I was always very reserved, closed off and isolated, even at an early age. My report cards dating back to Kindergarten and even Pre-K reflected this behaviour. Many a teacher wrote that they wished for me to become more confident, so I wouldn’t “slip through the cracks.” But I wanted to slip through, unseen. From early on, I was petrified of being seen, exposed and vulnerable. I wanted to remain detached and unable to be harmed.

In hindsight, I surmise that much of this stemmed from watching my parents argue and fight. How two people that “loved” each other would hurt each other. And not knowing why. It felt dangerous and scary.

Uncovering Your Fears

So, while some fears are very loud and obvious, there are others that present themselves in subtle, quiet ways. My inability to become too close to people was a fear I kept secret from even myself. I built camouflaged walls and an invisible ceiling that always kept me in a contained, safe place.

Another discrete fear I had developed was that of not being good enough. It disguised itself in many other forms. And it was not until I was on my journey of self-exploration that I uncovered just how far and wide its effects reached.

My entire life, I felt I had to be perfect. I had huge expectations to fill, in my household, in my family, at school. For instance, I remember one day very vividly, in college, that epitomises just how large, and tireless, those expectations seemed to be. Seeing my father outside of my dorm room (he worked at Hofstra, where I was enrolled, so I would often bump into him as he was entering the buildings or driving to and from). So, I said, “Dad! I got a 4.0 in this class!” I thought he would be proud. And I was excited. He said, “Well, Camille, you should’ve tried harder.” I said, “Dad, I got a 4.0, you cannot get any higher than that.” He said, “But you could’ve gone to class more.” And such was the story of my life.

I could always do more, be more, reach more, try harder. And man did that sink in. To this day, I struggle to do anything unless I can give it all of me. An example of that would be this book, the 90-day exploration period, and my new relationship. Failure was not an option (I’ll have you know I don’t even believe in the world failure – it is an illusion – and what we call failure is simply an outcome other than what was desired or expected). And by failure, I mean giving less than 100% of myself. And when I slip to 99%, suddenly I feel not good enough, and all of the awful things I have “heard” throughout my life come crashing back on top of me.

Confronting Your Fears

It was not easy to work through these paralysing fears. And though I wish I could say I have banished them all into the unknown abyss, never to be seen, again, I have a few stubborn ones remaining that won’t shake quite that easily. Fear can very well be our #1 enemy. And there is no mistaking that fear tears through relationships and rips people apart.

Our negative behaviours and patterns all stem from fear and its conditioning. Be very cautious where your focus goes. That which you pay attention to grows and consumes you. And in the same way, if you dwell on particular issues in a relationship, those issues or topics soon become the backbone of the connection.

So, be wary what you invite into your heart and home. If jealousy, for example, comes up time and again, you’re going to have a very unhealthy relationship loaded with a lack of trust and jam-packed with the opposite of pleasure. On the other hand, if you focus on love and that which you cherish about your partner, you’ll be grateful for the connection, and it will be encouraged to grow. You’ll receive many more things to be thankful for, and the other person will appreciate being seen.

Dissecting Failed Relationships

My failed relationships were an example of the ego taking the reins. Fears and insecurities ultimately destroyed the bond we shared. Where there is fear, there is no room for love. However, where there is unconditional love, there is no place for fear. Sure, it comes up. But we must not water the seeds for they will take over like an overgrown garden of tangled ivy. Ever see a house with ivy growing up its side? It’s hard to see what is even underneath it any longer. The ivy consumes the structure. The beautiful architecture of the home gets lost under its grasp. And so it is with fear if we feed it and nurture it.

It takes an extreme level of trust, and an unwavering commitment to wanting more, to face our fears and work through them. They expose us. They strip everything off of us, and we are naked. If you look closely, you will catch a glimpse of the vulnerable inner child that has been hurt, is starving for unconditional love and is seriously afraid. It is far from easy to be seen for all you are and have been.

Unconditional Love

I was blessed, I had a partner who was willing to hold my hand through the unravelling of all my junk. However, there is a reason I never faced all of my issues prior to this new relationship. I didn’t feel I had a safe space to do it. As a result, conditional love kept me squished and quieted, hidden away in the shadows, my fears feeding off of me like leeches. It’s where I thought I belonged.

Shine? No, I can’t shine. That’s threatening. Become who I am meant to be? Nah. Too scary. I chose relationships, unknowingly, that kept me small and fed the cycle of self-limiting beliefs and conditioning I had been raised upon and came to find comfort in. Fears are painful, absolutely. But what is even more painful – or so it can seem – is change. The unknown can be terrifying. And digging up old junk isn’t what most consider some afternoon fun. You just don’t know what you are going to find. Anything goes when it comes to trauma and emotional baggage. Sometimes we do not even realize the extent of the damage until we start digging around and loosening it up. And while it’s not important to get stuck on the “why ” it is definitely eye-opening.

As Mary Ferguson said, “Ultimately, we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom.” Sure is, Mary. Freedom to become who we really are, to let ourselves live lighter, to love unconditionally, and to live without self-imposed limitations and beliefs.

Unpacking Your Baggage

Through unpacking my baggage, I was blown away by the many ways my fears had been holding me back. But, when I say they affected every area of my life, I am not exaggerating. They had a hand in every single area of my life from fun to career to love to friendship to fashion to sleep to health…and everything in between. So, it’s really a tough pill to swallow to realize that your life has been spent living in fear and shying away from love, that which we really are. Therefore, to accept that we are given this glorious life to lead, and because of the unhappiness of other people – and our own misalignment – we sabotage that beautiful miracle time and again and settle for much less enjoyment and that which we are capable of.

So, here I was, in a brand new relationship, feeling like a wounded beast. Struck too many times over in my life by the arrows of conditional love. To say I felt far from beautiful and strong is understating it. Sometimes it takes a special person to encourage us to open our eyes to see things differently. Other times, we come to it all on our own. But it definitely helps when there is someone beside you, nudging you along and encouraging you, giving you strength, as there was for me. Speaking to your heart, whispering words of love when you are drowning in despair. Of course, you can have a whole army shouting things at you, but if you are not ready, it will fall on deaf ears. You must be ready to embody change and desire more for yourself and your life.

Overcoming Fear

Crippling or not, overcoming fears is possible. They will never cease to exist, but they can be managed differently. In a healthy way. Norman Vincent Peale said, “Fear is never a reason for quitting; it is only an excuse.” Sure, this is putting it simply. We don’t really perceive ourselves as making excuses when we are trembling in sheer terror. But, at the end of the day, it is always our choice how to handle what we are given. If you choose to love, you choose a miracle.

Unlocking your fullest potential and true nature, simply by allowing yourself to utilize your relationships as a mirror, is certainly a gift and a divine blessing. It is magic, it’s real and alive. It’s the breath of life inside you, an overall love and elation.

Day 33 and Beyond

On Day 33, I referred to love as “freedom, hope, beautiful, healing,” in my log. On this day, I found some of my old writings from my teenage years (I shared three of them in the foreword of my book). They were dripping with pain and the salty taste of tears. But just the same as my log, which bounced from fear to bliss, my writings reflected the same pattern. Pain, to love and hope, to pain, etc. I knew everything I know now, though I didn’t know it at the time. Feeling confused, but it wasn’t my time yet to fully understand. Though I had had my share of uncomfortable experiences, there were many more still to come to bring me to today. I was too young, too immature and naive to fully grasp that which I understand now.

The very next day, feeling overwhelmed by positive emotions, I had my daughter’s baptism. However, I was sharing the day with my ex and his family, alongside mine. It had every right to be an epic disaster. But it wasn’t. Overall, I’d describe the day as pleasant, everyone got along: it remained about the baby. Before leaving the church, I hugged the deacon. This may sound trivial as you squint your eyes and say, “Okay, big deal, Camille.” But to me, it was a big deal. Prior, I had been withholding affection and acting on my true desires for connection for a long time. It made me vulnerable. But, by opening myself to the possibility of what is on the other side of fear, I was now able to express myself in this manner.

For many of us, we have deep-seated fears carried in every cell of our being. Not all of us have support and true love from others throughout life. There is hardship. And though we have the ability to learn our greatest lessons this way, it can be a challenge to walk out unscathed. But there is one thing I know for certain, and that is through the eyes of unconditional love and acceptance, we can liberate ourselves. Fear builds walls, but love comes like a wrecking ball and tears them down.

(Real) Love and the Big Fat F:

Fear is part of our ego, and our ego is a very real part of ourselves. As a result, we cannot hide it, we cannot forget it is there, we cannot will it to go away. No matter how “evolved” we are, there will always be some type of fear or discomfort that follows us on our journey through life.

But, how we manage that fear is, however, under our control and ultimately determines the path we will take for the rest of our days in these bodies. When we learn to act in alignment with love instead of fear, this is when our lives begin to take a turn for the better. This is where the magic happens. As with nutrition and the crowding out theory (slowing taking in good foods for our body, and habits, has a crowding out effect, and the unhealthy junk becomes less and less a part of our diet and lifestyle), love soon replaces fear and the effect it has on us lessens over time.

LOVERCISE (Excercise) 

Reflect on some of your biggest fears. As you do so, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What fears do I see repetitively showing up in my life? In my relationships? 
  2. Why am I afraid of these things? Where did this fear stem from?
  3. What stories have I told myself to keep the cycle of fear alive in my day-to-day life?
  4. How does this fear seemingly serve me or protect me?
  5. In what ways are fears holding me back in life, love, career, etc.?
  6. Are there risks to facing my fears?
  7. What are the costs of remaining afraid?
  8. Would my life look different if I were to challenge myself to overcome these fears and heal from the inside out? How does that feel? What are the benefits of moving through my fears?

Write down some ways in which fear is holding you back from the life of your dreams. And similarly, write down what your life would look and feel like if these fears were not present. If you had no fear…what would you do? Who would you be? Envision yourself doing those things and being that person. Now, keep that vision strong and begin moving through your days as if you already are that person doing those things. In actuality, you are! Although, you just haven’t realised that yet. You are perfect and whole, and all that you desire. Look in that mirror, you are so much more than your fears allow you to be. It’s time to own your magnificence.

Next month I’ll cover “Too Good to be True?”

In this 11-part series, I have taken excerpts and information from my book, “The (Real) Love Experiment: Explore Love, Relationships & The Self,” to teach about (real) Love and what it means. I will discuss relationships as the backbone of our existence and how these help us to heal. Plus, we’ll focus on loving ourselves and how this is a gift. Furthermore, I will also discuss how behaviour patterns such as fear, omissions, trigger buttons and desires tie into our relationships and ultimately the quality of our lives. I will then conclude with the ‘Top 5 Ways to Truly Love Someone (and Yourself).’ At the end of the 11-part series, you should have a better understanding of the inner workings of your mind, heart and soul and should begin to feel more joy, love and fulfilment both in your relationships and your life in general.

About Our Reiki News and Review Columnist – Camille Lucy

Camille LucyCamille Lucy is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, Certified Reiki & Raindrop Technique Practitioner, Ordained Holistic Minister, graphic and web designer, business consultant, and Vice President of a local non-profit that “rehabilitates people through animals.” She is also a writer, a Mother of 3-girls, an artist, a Life-and-Love Junkie, a Self-Expression and Development advocate, and – well, you get the point. She’s a lot of things, just like all of us. Camille is also author of, “The (Real) Love Experiment: Explore Love, Relationships & The Self.” Learn more about her and her adventure(s) at www.CamilleLucy.com or on social media at @LiveFullToday.

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Disclaimer: The information published in this column is the author’s professional opinion, based on their knowledge. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment in any way. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have about a medical condition. Also, always consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on InShape News.

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