Befriending Fear in Times of Crisis

From Surviving to Thriving

Will Franks 🌊
Predict

--

Fear is our friend.

A friend we have forgotten – at our peril.

This short piece is about flipping our relationship with fear, so that we can proceed to relate to it as a profound and life-enriching resource.

In recent years, a new term has appeared that capture’s people’s unease about world affairs, particularly with regards to global overheating and ecological collapses

Perhaps you’ve seen it.

Eco-anxiety”

Or maybe “climate anxiety”.

I want to advocate for a boycott of this term.

Why?

BecauseAnxiety” is a smokescreen for the real, underlying sensation of fear.

Anxiety is the visible tip of the iceberg.

Under the waters of conscious awareness lies the unseen and unfelt bulk of that iceberg: fear.

In modern culture, anxiety is understood as a “disorder”. A malfunction. If you experience it, there’s something wrong with you.

However, I have learned in recent months that saying (or believing) “I’m anxious” is simply a PC and socially acceptable way of saying “I’m scared”.

Only, people don’t say often say this, or acknowledge that this is what they are truly feeling.

This is because in general, Fear is not socially acceptable.

We are terrified of it!

This leads us to a dangerous state of affairs.

The fears we are experiment about global events are not something to “cope with” or get rid of.

Fears are something to listen to and act upon.

Fear is the innate intelligence of our body-mind system telling us there is something that needs dealing with. And, it tells us how to deal with it.

What an incredible resource!

Rewiring our relationship to fear is especially important with regard to climate and ecology and social crisis, because if I am honest and open and vulnerable about my fears around these topics, I’m going to catalyse the feeling of fear in others. And the majority of us worked hard to suppress and ignore our fear. We have trained ourselves to attack anything or anyone that makes us scared. So when thousands of scientists raise the alarm on global warming, we shun and ignore them.

Then we just conclude “I’m anxious”, that something is basically wrong with me, and try to get by. All the while our fear is bubbling under the surface screaming

THIS SITUATION IS NOT SAFE

SOMETHING NEEDS TO CHANGE

And fear knows EXACTLY what needs to change and will tell us – but only if we actually FEEL IT.

We need to know where our food, water, shelter, community, security and interpersonal connectivity are going to come from. Now, tomorrow, and in ten years time.

Unable to feel our fear, we are severely handicapped in the survival department. We don’t have access to our basic survival intelligence! And the cultural narrative around anxiety reinforces this.

So we are in a kind of deadlock. How to break it?

Feel the fear.

Actually feel how scared you are about everything collapsing.

YES it’s terrifying.

But it’s not going to kill you.

You know what could kill us? Ignoring our fear! Because then we are disconnected from our survival intelligence!

I thought I was anxious for a long time. Then I started working with fear and now it’s obvious: I’m just scared about something.

When I actually feel that fear in my body, act on it (make a resolution, say something, rearrange something in my life, resolve an emotional fear from a past experience) and the anxiety passes or at least lessens.

Fear is immensely intelligent.

It is the interior experience of surviving – and actually of creating.

Fear is neither bad nor good. Fear is fear: a neutral feeling which connects us a specific channel of information: the information we need to process in order to survive.

Fear is evolution’s internal design mechanism to keep us alive.

If we feel and listen to it, it can do it’s job.

If we suppress it, it cannot, and we run the risk of not responding to very real existential threats. Sound familiar?

If we pretend that “anxiety” is all that is happening, we miss the opportunity to work with our fear and to receive its wisdom and energy.

Probably the first step is reprogramming the idea that fear is bad and stupid. It is not.

The second step is recognising and feeling our fear of fear.

Why are we scared of our fear, the very feeling that keeps us alive?

That is a very interesting question to me.

I wager that we have collectively created a culture of suppressing our fear in order to NOT be fully alive. Because it’s too intense, too electric, too ecstatic.

So we hand our power over to exploitative corporate psychopaths, in order not to live in that intensity of surviving while living authentically. Most people choose survival at the cost of authenticity and empowerment. Because it’s less scary that way.

Recognising the intelligence of. fear, learning to channel that intelligence – which is, after all the intelligence of our embodied nervous system, evolved over four billion years of experimentation – this is the gateway to a whole new relationship with survival and creation.

Fear is an internal guidance mechanism.

It leads to one’s own survival, the survival of the collective, and ultimately to full embodiment and enjoyment of the magician archetype.

Fear offers possibilities. Options. Solutions.

Don’t take my word for this – choose to feel your fear and find out for yourself.

This is the third step. And it is the doorway to a whole new relationship with life and survival and thriving.

This works very well if you are also working on feeling and navigating with your anger, sadness and joy. Emotional healing processes are a good place to start. Then there is rage club and fear club and 3–3–3 and possibility coaching and expand the box trainings. All of these will increase your capacity to BE SCARED and to use this amazing energy to enter whole new realms of aliveness and creativity.

I left a Possibility Lab in Poland the day before the next one started, travelled four hours to another city, before I had to go back and attend the next LAB. Why? Because we working with feeling intense fear, I realised that this was by definition the most scary thing I could do at that moment. And therefore, the most transformative and conducive to my creative self-evolution. I went back. I lay on a mattress and screamed, all the way up to 81% percent. Now I have done that, I have rewired my relationship with fear and opened my capacity to access high-intensity fear anytime, anyplace, and receive its wisdom.

You can also do this. It is nothing weird. It is completely natural. Only, in a culture that does not initiate us into conscious adult feelings, we have little knowledge of these realms of experience. Hence, a culture that is deeply un-creative, inauthentic and destructive.

Every action that is truly creative will involve some amount of fear.

Fear is a form of love, telling us that we have a contribution to make NOW.

You know in a conversation when you’re scared to say something: that is exactly the moment when your fear is telling that you have an opportunity right here and now to shift the space, to truly create and to truly be authentically sourcing the life you want.

Whether to take that opportunity is up to you.

Increasing your sensitivity to your fear is the precursor to noticing those “doorways to creation” that are always presenting themselves.

Fear is your master guide in navigating a space of infinite possibilities.

What do you want to do, but are afraid of?

Thing like:

Speaking up. Joining a protest. Digging a flower bed. Buying that train ticket to a distant place. Booking that retreat or training. Asking a dangerous question. Asking for help. Starting a necesssry conversation. Stopping a harmful action. Signing up for a local veg box. Cancelling your Netflix. Throwing out your TV. Writing an opinion piece – maybe an angry one, or maybe one guided by your fear of near-future collapse. Making a speech at your local council. Stepping onto a stage to demand change, to embody change, to speak your poetry, sing your song, show your soul…

Fear comes and goes. It passes through us, and on the way tell us how to survive – and flourish.

What a gift.

We would be crazy to ignore it.

--

--

Will Franks 🌊
Predict

A Heartbroken Terrified Warrior Who Is So Happy To Be Here. Meditator. Researcher. Soulmaker.