David Robert Jones, MS LPC

Fear is a Thing (8)

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“Soul would have us go where we fear to go in order to learn who we are intended to be.” (Michael Meade)

Fear is a thing. An object. Some thing that is perceived. As a thing, it comes and goes. It has a life span. We notice it coming, we notice it when it is in front of us, we notice it when it is in our bodies, we notice it when it is occupying our minds, and we notice when it goes.

This is wonderful news. 

In March of 2020, I was one of the early Covid cases but couldn’t get medical attention because I didn’t have a fever. I also didn’t have high enough O2 levels, but that was before any of us were really thinking about it.

So, one night, as I was downstairs away from the family, I “suffocated” and lost consciousness over and over and over, unable to call for help. Wide-eyed and gasping I would come to consciousness only to go under again. Somehow, I made it through that night.

Fairly terrifying. Actually, beyond terrifying. I personally believe that I was gone several times that night and got to come back. You know, the bright-light-on-the-other-side kind of gone.

The beginning of the experience actually occurred when I was lying down earlier that evening doing a Yoga Nidra session and felt like there was an elephant on my chest. I got up gasping but just attributed it to some fear-induced panic from a lack of sleep and the constant news cycle of a catastrophic epidemic.

For many months afterward, all I had to do was lie down and I felt like I was suffocating again. Doing Yoga Nidra lying down was a particularly strong trigger.

Since then, as I have noticed the fear of suffocating come and go, I have welcomed it as a part of my practice/journey, I have been with it and felt it in my body, I have let it go, and I have let in hopeful messages and connected my breathing to thousands of repeated positive experiences. 

I haven’t really thought about suffocating in years.

Until I began doing Wim Hof breath retention exercises earlier this week. 

It has a been another experiment of going toward the fear, turning the lights of my awareness on it, examining it, feeling secure in my body, grounding, and using the many techniques and strategies that I have learned and now teach others.

As part of this method, you intentionally hyperventilate for, in my case, 35 inhalations/exhalations. These are quick breathe-in and breathe-outs. At the end of the 35th exhalation, you hold the breath out for as long as you can. Once you inhale, you hold the inhale for 15 seconds and then begin the round of 35 inhalations/exhalations again. I do 4 cycles and I do them before I ever get out of bed in the morning. 

Before experimenting with the Wim Hof method, I don’t remember ever holding my breath for more than a minute. But, I consistently average about 1:40 seconds over the course of the cycle of 4 and today I hit a personal record of 2:11. 

However, I have begun to notice fear creeping in as I hold the breath past a certain point. I am the Wim Hof app with Hof’s voice and music in the background and I now know what little chimes and cues mean and they are becoming associated with certain levels of comfort and discomfort. 

Some of the discomfort is connected to the remnants of trauma left in my body from March 2020. I didn’t really expect to see them, but I’m feeling them and noticing them.

And, I don’t need them anymore. They are things in my body that are connected to an experience I am not currently having. 

By pairing my present secure awareness with these rising sensations and accompanying thoughts, I am noticing that the remnants are moving out of the body and the triggers continually diminish. 

The fear doesn’t have to stay. I can let it go.

Fear is a thing. I have firsthand, direct, personal experience with  PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, and post-traumatic brain injury syndrome. I have seen many faces of fear, I have been debilitated by fear, I have feared fear.

The lessons of these past 8 years and the lesson of my life have been that fear is a thing. It comes and goes.

I remain.

What is different now is that I am safe and secure with myself. I am unchanging loving awareness in which the ever-changing flow of life arises, including fear. And all of the changing phenomena in life have become my teachers - teaching me to be who I am intended to be.

As Michael Meade reminds us, “Soul would have us go where we fear to go in order to learn who are intended to be.” 

Let it Be. Let it Go. Let it In.


Ready to take the next step?

I’d love to hear from you. Contact me via social media or at [email protected].