Learning to Dance with Fear | Janice Holland Blog

Learning to Dance with Fear

There are two opposing forces in the world… love and fear. Love reminds us to stay connected. To take care of each other, and hold each other up. It gives us space for personal interpretation, and helps us look for the good in every person and situation. Love is expansive and big. Love inspires us to grow beyond our limitations and see the world – and the people in it – with hope, curiosity, grace, joy, peace, and excitement. 

When I am centered in love, I feel invincible. I feel I am capable of anything, and I connect with the people in my life with the same curiosity and joy. Through the filter of love, I push myself to expand the limits of what I believe, and what I am capable of. It also helps me be more aware of how fleeting the joy of accomplishment is in my mind, versus being fully centered in an open, expansive heart. 

There are no shortcuts when it comes to expanding our hearts. We either take deep, cleansing breaths and expand, or we don’t. We either truly connect through love to the people around us, or we don’t. Sure, many people try to pretend to be expansive, accepting, and loving to others, but we can always sense a fear in this. It can take a while for some of us to trust these senses, but once we are in tune with our own loving, expansive heart, it’s easy to identify fear. 

Fear keeps us small. Fear tells us we will fail. Fear worries about all the possible painful outcomes and looks for them everywhere we go. Fear is narrow minded, and it wants to control, restrict, and keep you loyal to what it knows. Fear doesn’t want to seek new opportunities, new people, new experiences, or new ideas. Fear likes tradition and routine, and isn’t concerned with connecting to – or the wellbeing of – others.  

What’s interesting is that we have the voices of love and fear within us all day every day. Most of us are very tuned in to what the voice of fear has to say. We hear it often: you will fail, you can’t do that, don’t upset them, you’re disappointing, stop that, don’t ask for help. The list goes on and on. 

The mistake most of us make is believing that the voice of fear is our own voice. We think all these restricting thoughts come from us. The voice keeps us small, restricted, and stuck in traditions that no longer serve us. It keeps us fixated on the past, disconnected, and full of anxiety, worry and depression. We do all kinds of things to distract ourselves from the voice of fear. We chant, pray, run, cover up, over work, under work, and fixate on our minds. We do anything to dim the voice of fear to a whisper. 

In my experience with religion, most churches are run by fear. In fact, all churches I have been a part of are run by fear. We grew up afraid of getting caught, afraid of being a bad person, and afraid of going to hell. We were afraid we were disappointing people, afraid of wearing something revealing, afraid of having a sexual thought, and even afraid of life itself. Pretty much all I was taught in church was that God loves me and the fear I was experiencing would help me stay in line. Being afraid of all of the things meant I had respect for the reverence of the institution of religion, and I was a perfect product of their making. I fell for all of it, and honestly, it makes me sick to my stomach. I hid, stuffed, and denied every piece of my real authentic self to fit the mold of a girl who was pleasing, yet full of fear. 

As I have deconstructed all that programming, I have figured out that most people can’t tolerate living in true love. Why? Because love can’t be controlled. Love doesn’t have a beginning and an end. It doesn’t have edges to bump against. Love just continues to expand. The more you invest in opening your heart to the guidance and voice of love, the more you just keep evolving and expanding. We want definitions. We want controllable outcomes, and we want clear lines. We want our minds to feel safe and comfortable at all times. It’s challenging to live in the present moment and remain open to all that is available right now without knowing what’s coming next. 

We often think the constant disappointment and frustration we feel is because we aren’t able to follow through on the limiting predictable outcomes of our mind. We think we are disappointed because others have interrupted our lives with their abuse, neglect, selfishness, and chaos. But in reality, the disappointment and frustration we feel is because we were designed to stay connected to our hearts and expand. We’re designed to stay open to life and all it has to offer, and to simply be fully present in each moment. 

Right now I’m sitting on the patio of a coffee shop in the beautiful Former French Concession of Shanghai. People are walking by, the smell of coffee and cigarettes are in the air, beautiful spring flowers are in the planters and there is a light misting rain falling. It is an amazing moment and I stop writing every few sentences to take it all in. This is what is real right now. When I connect my mind to my heart and take deep breaths to connect to this moment, I have all I need. I am excited about the future even though I don’t really know what it looks like. I have hope. I have grace for the past and all the mistakes I and others have made. I have grace for the pain others have caused me, and I have grace for myself that I have always done the best I know how. When I choose to sit here connected to love, it isn’t hard to be grateful, feel joy, and an immense amount of hope for my future that I cannot see. 

In the background I can hear the voice of fear. Fear tells me my future will fail. Fear tells me to focus on the ways people have hurt me, and not to let it go. Or  them go. It tells me to hang on to all the wrong that has been done to me because they don’t deserve for me to let them go. And if I don’t keep thinking about the ways I was hurt, then I will be hurt again. Stay quiet, it says. Stay “humble”. Just live your life and don’t make waves. Stay vigilant and don’t make any moves unless you can see all the outcomes. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

Here is what I have learned to do with the voice of fear. I have learned to dance with it. I don’t cover it up, argue with it, chant over it, or attend any form of religious ceremony to try and ignore it. I don’t go into over achieving and over working to prove it is wrong. I know that none of that works. No amount of money in the bank can overcome the scarcity mindset. No amount of religious exercises, affirmations or chants can silence the voice. We must learn to dance with it. 

What do I mean by dancing with fear? Pull it close. Allow yourself to sit in the discomfort of all that voice has to say. The key is reminding yourself that it isn’t your voice. It is the voice of fear. When you can sit with the voice of fear and not hear it as your own, then you are truly free. 

One morning I woke up with a racing heart, terrified I would lose all my money and be homeless. You know what I did? I said out loud, “hello fear,” and I welcomed it to come in. I felt the tingle of fear from the tips of my toes to the top of my head. Anxiety was restricting my entire body. I asked, “what do you have to say”? The fear told me all the ways I would fail and not succeed. I didn’t argue, I didn’t try to override, nor did I respond in fear. 

Instead, I connected to the voice of love that is also in my body. I always picture it as a bright light. As I lay there with fear consuming my whole body, I asked love to show me where it was. It was a light in my chest. I decided to take some deep breaths and asked the light to expand as I continued to breathe deeply. I chose to focus on the expansion, peace, and safety of love. I told fear, “I hear you”. Then, I decided to make the intentional choice to connect with the feeling of love in my body rather than with the fear. As I aligned with love, the tension in my body released because my alignment was shifting. I danced with fear, but I didn’t align with it. I didn’t own it as my truth. I welcomed it in, and I didn’t argue or push away. I just told it I wasn’t going to align. 

I got to choose. You do too. You can choose. Some of us are so caught up in the story of fear and we need help realigning our thoughts. Some of us have been so conditioned and programmed that fear is the truth; we can’t see or hear any other way. 

What is so sad to me is the millions of people who have been programmed by religion to believe that the voice of fear in their head is the voice of love. It isn’t. If you feel unsettled inside, walking through the motions of what you have been taught, but not experiencing true peace, it is ok to open yourself to exploring what the true voice of love has to say. This is a scary concept for most because we have been conditioned through FEAR to believe that if we explore other thoughts we are bad, going to hell, disappointing, or out of alignment with truth. This is control and brainwashing at its finest. Do you see? 

This is a conditioning tactic based in FEAR. Fear never has your best interest at heart. Fear will always restrict and disappoint. Learn to dance with the voice of fear. Learn to see and hear it. Learn to accept its tactics, hold it close and not align. Then, you’ll be unstoppable. You back down on nothing when you can hear the roaring voice of fear, bring it close, stare at it, and not let it change how you feel about yourself, your future, your actions, your view of life, or how you expand. 

You dance with it as you continue to evolve, grow, expand, and fully express yourself with all the gifts, talents, ideas, and voice that only you can provide. We need you. We need you to show up with all of yourself. You have so much to offer the world around you. So, if you want to evolve past being disappointed with life, dance with fear and evolve beyond the limiting restrictions of your mind. 

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