Can’t believe it’s been a few months since I last connected with all of you via this newsletter! As they say, ‘Life Happens’ and before you know it time flashes before your eyes. I’m sure that I don’t need to tell you that there is something a foot in our world these days, have you noticed?
If you can’t feel it in your own life then all you need to do is turn on the TV and watch the world headlines: North Korea Preps to go Nuclear, Boston Bombings, Syrian War, Climate Continues to Change, Politicians Refuse the Will of the People Regarding Gun Laws, Political Polarization brings Sequestration, etc.
Personally as someone whose profession is to intuitively work with the psyche of individuals whilst tracking collective psychic movements at the same time, I’ve been quite overwhelmed these days. So much so that I took nearly a month off to get myself grounded! During this time of contraction I canceled many radio shows, cut back on working with clients, and went inside.
That said, I now feel compelled to bring to you, in various ways, insights gained during my retreat. One of my discoveries while on hiatus that I’d first like to share with you via this newsletter is regarding the nature of fear.
This is quite timely as there is an incredible amount of fear in the world these days, especially in the United States post the Boston Bombings we just experienced. Turn on the news and within 5 minutes you’ll see a world, culture, and society, manifesting what it fears the most because it doesn’t understand the wise use of fear and how to respond, not react, to real threats.
But as individuals are we any different? Of course not as it takes a combination of individuals to create manifested group dynamics. Said another way, it takes a bunch of reactively fearful individuals to create a culture of toxic fear.
So what is the wise use of fear? In short, it would be to consciously engage fear in ways that empower us to discern and respond to real threats without doing reactive damage to our liberties and each other. Can we really use fear in such a way? Take a moment and reflect on what you were taught about fear. Do you think of it as empowering? Does your fear bring you more into the moment or throw you back into your past? Can you embrace your fear?
If you said ‘no’ to that last question that wouldn’t surprise me at all. Even if you said yes, I’d encourage you to run that question past your Shadow and see if you still feel the same way. If you open up most self-help, coaching, new age, and spiritual books you might be led to believe that fear is the devil and told simply ‘get rid of it’. But should we? Can we?
In truth, your fear isn’t going anywhere and attempts to ‘get rid’ of anything that discomforts us in our psyche is really a euphemism for shoving it deeper into your unconscious. What’s more, fear is something you would be better served by keeping right in front of you! Then you might begin to discern that in as much there is healthy empowering fear, there is also a toxic form of fear that is…well…toxic! And while we can’t get rid of toxic fear, we can shift it!
Before we look at how that can happen let’s entertain some other questions about fear: First of all, what are you afraid of most in your life right now? Take a moment with that…! Next, how can we tell the difference between toxic and healthy fear? How does healthy fear empower us? How does toxic fear sabotage us? Why should we care? I couldn’t think of a better time than now to ask these poignant questions, so let’s dive in!
If you look up the definition of fear in most dictionaries you will find that it’s generally defined as: as emotion triggered by a perceived threat which causes a person to flee, fight, or become paralyzed.
What most catches my attention most here are the words in bold, ‘perceived threat’. This clues us in on the fact that our fear is directly tied to how we ‘perceive’ reality. Next I’m drawn to what we do with fear per this definition: Flee, Fight, or Become Paralyzed. We’ll come back to that in a minute, but first let’s go full on into what ‘Toxic Fear’ is…
If fear is an emotion generated by a perceived threat – then I would say that toxic fear is a reactive emotion triggered by a misperceived threat! What’s a ‘misperceived threat’? Exactly what it sounds like, a threat that you are seeing that isn’t really there. This means the toxic fear in our lives causes us to compulsively react, amps our system up into fight, flight, or paralysis — all based on the misperception of reality.
Furthermore I’d continue to define toxic fear as: fear generated by a misperceived threat that induces an unnecessary response to current circumstances, which sabotages your serenity, peace, capacity to make conscious choices, and highest potential.
As you let that sink in, I’d like to point you to back to the main cause of toxic fear: THE MISPERCEPTION OF REALITY. Imagine if you were in a dark room that had a cute furry stuffed animal you saw as a live rabid rat! Or what if you saw a fake rubber snake or spider on the floor and thought it was real, what would your system do? Feel into that for a minute, can you feel the fear? This is exactly how misperceiving reality creates toxic fear. And why is this fear toxic…?
Because it’s based on illusory danger and doesn’t serve anything useful in terms of self-protection and survival. And what we do out of our toxic fear takes a massive toll on our lives. As we defend ourselves against an illusion our efforts aren’t effective because there is nothing present our actions can effectively address.
This often leads us into a spiral of more reactivity and we exhaust ourselves punching at the phantoms in front of us never landing an effective blow to ward off the non-existent threat. This massively costs our lives in the form of wasted effort/energy, anxiety, controlling behavior that alienates others, restlessness, need I go on! Take a moment and consider for yourself where toxic fear tends to show up most in your life. Where to you react the most to misperceived threats – to False Evidence Appearing Real? Is it in your career, relationships, what you perceive others think of you in public?
Take whatever you have in mind and bring it forth for the rest of this article as we look at toxic fear manifesting in the three ways fear generally is processed by our psyche: Fight, Flight, and Paralysis.
When we are misperceiving reality in ways that scare us what do these responses/reactions really look like in our lives and how do they screw us out of conscious choice? To model this let’s apply this to something I’m sure we can all relate to: Toxic Fear in Relationships!
Toxic Fear in Relationships
Have you ever fearfully reacted in a relationship based on a ‘misperceived’ threat? I can’t count the number of intuitive readings I’ve done which have involved me helping someone discern a real vs. illusory threat when it comes to intimacy. And Gods know I too have done my share of toxic fear based engaging with others! So let me break this down in a way that will model for you how to look at the toxic fear not only in your relationships but also in any area or life where it’s present.
When toxic fear is triggered in a relationship it will indeed cause us to flee, fight, or become paralyzed. But what does that often really look like? For example, what if you’re going on a date and get triggered or putting a need out there to someone you are already committed to? Based on my experience it most commonly looks like this:
- Flee = some form of self-sabotage that gives you permission to call it quits. Whether that’s doing something so the other person rejects you or you make them wrong so you can reject them – you’re outta there! Why is this toxic? Because often it disconnects you from giving someone a chance to LOVE YOU.
- Fight = most often some attempt to control another person and this is usually done through shame/criticism. Out of your insecurity you become fearful of abandonment and then the fight is on to make someone feel ashamed and guilty. Why is this toxic? When did shame or criticism ever bring you closer to someone? The more you try to control others eventually they want to break free and will usually abandon you to do so – pretty toxic and painful stuff!
- Paralysis = go unconscious = resort to an addiction. In the case of toxic fear paralysis most often times is the equivalent of us using an addiction to go unconscious. In fact this aspect of toxic fear is breeding ground for all addictions. In relationships this often manifests as sex, drug, alcohol addiction – but most often co-dependency. How many times have you used this reaction to handle toxic fear triggered by your relationship insecurities?
The above is just a brief sample of many of the options that can come up when toxic fear is in your relationship hood! That said, let’s not forget that there is something called ‘Healthy Fear’ that may also show up in our lives and relationships. But what is healthy fear
If toxic fear is reacting out of a misperceived threat, than healthy fear is responding based on a REAL threat! Healthy fear is a present moment intuitive response based on real danger that puts us on alert. This heightened state of awareness then guides us to discern the best choices available to us to handle the threat and guarantee our safety.
Living in the wilderness of Colorado I most obviously see healthy fear in the wild animals that inhabit my back yard. Take deer for example: They are under threat from coyotes and mountain lions here constantly – not to mention various humans! Yet as I watch them stroll into my yard they go on alert when they see me, take a pause, evaluate that I’m not a threat, and then go back to eating my wild grass. I don’t see them project onto me the last trauma they had with a mountain lion or another human being. They are present enough to intuitively sense the ‘energy’ of my intentions through their healthy fear.
And this brings me to a massive question: How can we tell the difference between toxic fear and healthy fear? It’s quite simple really. Toxic fear is based on a threat you are seeing via your past trauma, not present danger. As such it throws you out of present time into all the reactive and adapted strategies you’ve used in your past to cope with your fears. Not only that, toxic fear can throw you into the patterns your ancestors used to deal with life that may have little use for you now!
And sometimes we are perceiving what might be a real threat but inaccurately because of past trauma being triggered – which means our response may be inappropriate in terms of adequately addressing the issue at hand and that usual equals sabotage of ourselves, a relationship, career, public reputation, etc as we over react!!
Conversely, healthy fear comes from real danger and then guides you to go on alert to:
- Wait and sense if the threat is real and then discern how dangerous it is.
- Consciously evaluate your options in responding to the threat which may include fight or flight.
- Consciously default to whatever training you know, much like someone in the military or police force, to handle the threat.
- Ask for help in handling the threat whether that be others around you or invoking a Divine Power to help you.
- Stay on alert until the threat has passed or been neutralized.
Above all healthy fear has within it direct engagement with the present moment, a heightened sense of intuitive perception, and above all – conscious choice!
So if you want to know if you’re coming from toxic fear or healthy fear, ask yourself where you are! Are you HERE or 30 years ago in the first time you experienced abandonment? Are you seeing what’s really going on or projecting from your wounded filter of reality?
How do we shift the toxic fear in our lives? This question brings me back to the ground breaking workshop I did in 2011, Co-creating Your Destiny in Present Time, during which I addressed the way we end up in a time warp because of how our psyche locks trauma into place within the subconscious mind. After which the subconscious literally ‘recruits’ archetypes like ‘the Perfectionist and Addict’ to manage the trauma.
Understanding and working with yourself from this awareness is key in shifting toxic fear and really would require much more than a newsletter to address. Above all, I encourage you to embrace your fear in whatever form it shows up, whether toxic or healthy or a mix of both! If you do, then you open yourself up eventually being able to perceive what threats are real in your life while cultivating conscious choices on how best to deal with them.
If we can all learn to do this, imagine the kind of world we would create together. One of true safety insured by conscious responses to danger – instead of reactive responses that actually incite more terror and harm. I’m not done with the subject of fear just yet…stay tuned as I plan to address in an upcoming newsletter why we fear our own empowerment! Oh yes…lots to say about that!
Until next time, be safe!
Intuitive Life Strategist