1) Car accident... hurricane... hunger... losing a job... foreclosure...
When we think about each of these, what comes up inside of us? Fear.
2) Full-blown tantrum in a restaurant... meltdown on a plane... the 500th parent-teacher conference in a year... detention... your teenager dating one of the "bad boys" or 'bad girls"... flunking out of school... What comes up? Fear.
Ok, let's do a reset (and then I'll get to my point!). Imagine you're in the bright sunshine, laying on a beach, feeling the warm sand under your feet, hearing the waves crash, hearing the seagulls cry, sipping on a cool drink with an umbrella, feelin' the love... Hahhh, ok we're back now. Sorry about that up there. Those negative scenarios are no fun to think about, but what's important to realize here is that what comes up with each of these is fearful thought which causes the body to react physically. Whether the scenario is major or minor, threatening or non-threatening, when you experience these different types of fearful thoughts your body has the same reaction: constrict, shut down, flee, survive. It basically shouts, "Nooooo!" Not good, especially when our bodies regularly experience these types of responses in situations where we aren't actually in any danger.
Millions of years of evolution have brought us to this state... this place where it sometimes feels like fear runs the show in our lives. Our bodies actually change physiologically in response to fearful emotions, whether perceived or actual. We find ourselves in non-threatening situations with our children all the time where we think a thought and the fear floods in. It literally may feel like the worst case scenario is just around the corner. It feels so real because that is how are bodies are designed. Our bodies tell us: Fear = Take Action... Now! This formula is spot on if we happen to be faced with a hungry grizzly bear as we jog down the street. However, when all we're having is one of those pesky, non-threatening, fearful thoughts (that all moms do) we gotta revamp the formula.
Our new Mindful Mama fear formula: Fear = Respond with Love... Now!
The following three shifts in perspective can help you to approach any situation you're faced with from a place of love (maybe even that grizzly bear).
Shift #1: Fear Is Not Real
Shift #2: Fear and Love Cannot Coexist
Shift #3: Love That Fear
Fear is something that we can (and SHOULD) learn to transform into love. Every... single... time. Love is real. Choosing a loving thought or action will bring us toward peace and happiness. Love is where we want to mother from and where our true and best selves lie. Love is when we feel connected to our hearts, not our egos. When we "love that fear", we are basically telling our egos to (lovingly) step aside so that our hearts can guide us.
I've been fascinated lately with looking directly at my fears in an effort to try and transform them. So, I did a little experiment. With the guidance of our pal, The Joyful Mother, I took one fear and focused on it for four days. The fear I chose was "a fear of self-love." Whenever this fear came up I marked it down on a piece of paper. You know what I found? I found that I thought about it A LOT! And being more mindful of my fearful thoughts in general, I found that an uncomfortable amount of my thoughts are fear-based throughout the day. Yikes! Now c'mon... I know that fear is not real, and fear and love cannot coexist. So, hmmm... what does this little experiment say about how I've been livin'? How I've been manifestin'? How I've been co-creatin'? How I've been motherin'?! Fearfully, not lovingly. Try it out for yourself. Pick a fear that you have, big or small, and place mindful attention on it for four days. Keep track of it and see if it is something that you can let go of... something you are willing to transform into love.
As mothers, we experience situations everyday that hand us the opportunity to grow and learn and evolve. I think that's why it's sometimes referred to as "the toughest job you'll ever love!" When our Fear = Respond with Love... Now!, we will find ourselves mothering from a more peaceful, productive space. We can let go of the fear, knowing that we are choosing the right path.
ps: If you have a tip or technique on how to overcome your fears, please leave it in the comments below. We always love to hear and learn from our mindful mamas!