We all have fears, bigger and smaller. We also all have periods when the grip of our fears is stronger and moments when our fears are not governing our minds.
Sometimes our fears are acute and predominantly in one area of our life – our health, business, a relationship, money ...
Sometimes our fears are under the surface, and we don't even notice them till we realize that we don't feel free to make certain choices or to take a step to live the life we are dreaming of.
So, how do we work with our fears? Is there something we can do to overcome them or are we always going to be frozen and limited by them?
A very effective and pleasant! technique I've been using, is a type of an art therapy.
So, here are the steps:
- Choose a quiet place, ideally somewhere in nature.
- Take white sheets of paper and colourful markers or pencils.
- Ask yourself “what am I afraid of?”, “what is holding me back?”.
- Allow these questions sink in and follow the movements of your pencil on the paper. Don’t plan what you are going to draw, don’t try to be in control. Just let your hand draw and observe the process. You can draw anything - shapes, objects or even a one-color page. Everything is fine, there is no right or wrong.
- Stay with these questions and when the answers start coming, let your hand draw what you are afraid of. Don't judge, don't try to change anything. All you want is to see your fears, to become aware of them. Just like you are able to see clearly when you turn on the light in a dark room. The shadows which looked scary before, are not threatening anymore.
- Keep on drawing for at least 15 minutes. Once you feel that you are done, break the paper into small pieces. With the pieces make a funny or innocent object, like a balloon or a flower and after that, throw the pieces away.
Do this daily for two weeks. You will notice that every day, you will be able to see deeper and deeper into your fears. They will become less scary.
Three things are key here:
- Don’t interfere with the process. Don’t control your drawing, don’t plan it, don’t restrict it. Let it happen by itself. Trust your hand. The pencil is its instrument and if you don’t get in its way, it will show you what you need to see.
- Some of the answers to your questions (= some of your fears) you are already aware of. Some will be new to you. Even when a familiar fear come up, don’t dismiss it with “I know this one”. Stay open and curious. Usually, our fears come from a deeper place than we think. Let the drawing bring you clarity and greater understanding of what you already knew. An extra deepening inquiry question could be “why am I afraid of this”. Stay with the question and see what comes to you.
- A trap we often fall in when we start working with ourselves is the impulse or desire to change or to remove the “negative” in us - limiting believes, self-sabotaging behavior, pessimistic thoughts, negative emotions, shadow side etc. However, what this resentful attitude does, is not only strengthening the “negative” part, it is infusing self-doubt in us and creating aversion for who we are. So, it really works against us. Instead of the urge to change things, we want to adopt an attitude of kindness, openness, and curiosity. We are interested in seeing what is there and understanding why it is there. This attitude is what is going to jumpstart the healing process. A lot of the emotional knots will disentangle just by seeing them and understanding why they are there. You don’t need to change anything. Change is already happening by itself.
Don’t be afraid to look at your fears. They are less scary when you put the light of your awareness on them!