It’s this place – right here – where we humans now reside. For some, it’s a place of curiosity and watchfulness. For many others it’s a place of distrust and fear, and something that at times, borders on outright panic.
Does the Coronavirus have you on edge?
Do you think twice about signing the iPad at the coffee shop with your very own finger? What about the gas pump? And worse, what’s lurking at your favorite restaurant?
Are you flashing back to ’08 as your 401-K starts to wither? Wondering how far your savings might tumble this time?
Even though I’ve literally made it my job to locate and uproot unfounded fears in my clients and myself, I notice that I’m thinking different thoughts at the grocery store. I’m looking around to see who’s sniffling, sneezing, or coughing.
The vibration of mass-scale fear is seeping into my system. And if I’ve got a boatload of tools to counteract that fear, how is everyone else managing?
What do notice over the last week in your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors? Where are you thinking and acting from fear? Does it serve you?
You are built for fear. Dare we say… addicted to it?
Fear keeps us alive. It’s what kept our ancestors out of the tiger’s mouth.
In fact, our bodies are equipped with an incredible threat response system that has saved kerjillions of human lives over countless millennia. You know it as Fight, Flight, or Freeze.
This system is pretty amazing. It’s a combination of lightning fast, mostly involuntary responses to a perceived existential threat.
As soon as you see that tiger your vision narrows, your body tenses, your heart starts pumping. Adrenaline starts coursing through your veins. It’s go time! All in preparation to fight, to flee, or to hide.
That threat can be existential, meaning your very life is at stake, or it can be a threat to the ego, the spirit, or the heart and mind.
This is where that genius system of ours breaks down. Way down.
Because I don’t know about you, but the last time I saw a tiger chase me was, well… never!
What we have are near misses on the highway, not enough social media likes, bosses we hate, people who betray us, and right now: minor to major hysteria over the Coronavirus.
All of these scenarios cause us to live in fear. But unlike our ancestors and that tiger, our perceived threats don’t go back to their den, leaving us to peacefully recover and paint some cool stuff in caves.
Because of our big ol’ brains, our perceived threats never go away. Once that mean boss is removed, we simply find another reason to keep the familiar, fear-induced chemical reaction happening in our bodies.
We’ve become addicted to fear.
Have you noticed yourself slipping into fear lately (or historically)? What’s the cost of playing in this space?
You need a strong immune system right now. This instant!
But here’s the thing, when we’re living in fear, it takes a heavy toll on our immune system. When all that blood is moving out to your legs to run or your arms to fight, your other body processes get turned down. This means they don’t function at full capacity.
When you’re running from the tiger, the last thing your body needs is to properly digest your meal, or keep your Coronavirus-busting T-cells in high production. None of that matters one lick if you end up in the tiger’s belly.
Fear and health do not and cannot co-exist over the long term.
Fear degrades your body’s ability to repair itself. And it inhibits your immune system function.
Fear – and living in a constant state of fear – will help you get sick. It’s that simple.
(Of course, it’s already making you sick in terms of your thoughts and emotions. It shows up as shame, self-loathing, unworthiness, not-enoughness, perfectionism – none of which feel very good in your body or improve your health outcomes.)
You are so powerful! Have you noticed how your thoughts vibrate out and affect the animals, plants and people around you?
Breaking the fear cycle is possible… and necessary
If you’re on a spiritual path of deepening self-awareness and increased self-actualization, then you want to be living in Corona-Land right now. This is a blessing.
Everything that comes into our experience, no matter how truly scary or deeply uncomfortable, can help us learn to better manage our fear so that we can stop fighting and start creating life on our terms.
We are creatures of physical and mental habit. And living in fear has become a habit, conditioned from birth.
And while our brains have not evolved as quickly as human technology has, we do have the capacity to choose to respond rather than react to whatever occurs in our lives.
There are very real risks to human health posed by COVID-19. This is a fact not to be undermined or disregarded. But let’s be real, chances are pretty good that you won’t get sick.
But when we are choosing fear over love, we’re infected with another kind of virus altogether. And there ain’t no antibiotics that can tackle this one.
The good news is there are so many ways you can choose to respond to these risks.
The work ahead for all of us is to remember to choose how we will respond, and not be taken over by fear and instinctual reactivity.
Again – you are so, so powerful! You can choose love and curiosity over fear, and when you do, you are remembering why you are here.
Past trauma and your fear response
Let’s be very clear on one factor, though. Most (probably all) of us have experienced physical, psychological, or emotional trauma in our lives. And trauma changes the way your brain processes threats.
Trauma will cause us to go through life with certain reflexes “turned on,” which means we get stuck in fear-based reactions. We get triggered. And then we react unconsciously.
This makes it much harder to make the kinds of choices that will allow our immune systems and other health-promoting body processes to function properly. And duh, this trauma reaction also makes it harder to feel happy and connected and fulfilled in our lives.
We need to heal our trauma and old wounds if we’re going to be able to get really good at what’s called “Top-Down Processing.” It’s when we get to use the rational part of our brain to analyze a situation and decide how we’ll respond. “Bottom-Up Processing” is when the fear center of our brain, the amygdala, takes the reins and we react unconsciously to the perceived threats in our life.
Acting unconsciously is the same as saying we are not aware of our triggers and we react out of instinct, not out of reason. When we’re unconscious, our conditioned program is running the show and life feels like it’s happening to us.
At some point in the future, the Coronavirus will be behind us. But all of those other fears and perceived threats will still be by our side.
But neither these threats, nor your past pain or trauma defines you. It is not who you are. It’s a jacket you’ve been wearing. It’s a little crusty – are you ready to take it off and trade it for something else?
Will you choose to heal your past in order to create the most vibrant, healthful, alive, purposeful future possible? (This makes life way more fun, not just for you, but for every life you touch.)
What you can do right now in the face of COVID-19 (or any other fear in your life)
First and foremost, remember, dearheart, that you are powerful beyond measure!
Right this very moment, there’s plenty you can do to treat the combined threat of COVID-19 and widespread fear. Here’s a list to get you started:
- Practice mindful self-awareness and/or meditate like a mofo. Are you spinning out right now? Can you pause just long enough to stop spinning and reconnect with your higher knowing? See if you can start implementing top-down processing.
- Most of us take short, shallow breaths. Fully exchange the air in your lungs, even better if you are outside in sunshine. Practice taking slower, longer breaths and you’ll calm yourself down pronto while also stimulating your rest and repair systems.
- Nourish your body with healthy foods, drink lots of clean water, get plenty of rest and consider supplements to boost your immunity like zinc, vitamin c, adaptogens, or turkey tail mushroom powder.
- Use essential oils like eucalyptus, tea tree, lemongrass, peppermint, and lemon among others to keep your hands clean on the go and to clean surfaces at work and at home.
- Tap or thump your thymus, located in the center of your chest (or heart center area). This stimulates production of those good killer T-cells that fight the good fight against viruses.
- Get and stay grounded. Nature time will help immensely with this.
- Turn off the TV (or whatever your fear delivery method of choice is).
- Patronize your favorite small businesses, including restaurants. The employees of small businesses stand to lose the most from our collective fear.
- Move your body and be with friends to boost your feel-good chemistry.
- Stay out of catastrophe-thinking and watch your worried thoughts. Worrying is like praying for something you don’t want to happen.
- Use common sense. Stay home when you’re sick. Wash your hands with soap and water. Often. Soap and water is way more effective than hand sanitizers. (You should be doing this anyway.)
- Make a plan to heal the past pain or trauma that keeps your immune system down and that keeps you stuck in unconscious reactivity so that you can be a force for good and joy and connection in this world.
*Please Note: This is a quickly changing landscape. Stay up to date by going directly to the source (rather than panic-inducing news media who are profiting from our anxiety) so that you can make the best decisions for you and your family: World Health Organization and the Centers For Disease Control
If this does get as bad as some are suggesting, we get to choose to work consciously, creatively and collaboratively to ensure the health and well-being of our entire community. This is an opportunity to step up.
Always, always remember that collectively, we create the world we live in. Times like these it’s great to ask ourselves: What are we creating today?
If the Coronavirus or anything else is keeping you up at night and you think there’s a fear-based pattern or trauma connection at work, reach out for some complimentary clarity and personalized recommendations to make that shift out of fear and emotional pain and into a healthy, vibrant life of purpose, ease, joy and connection.
On March 29th at 11am PST, I’ll be hosting an online healing circle [[ Is Fear Blocking Your Highest Wisdom ]] where we’ll deep dive into the connection between fear, higher knowing, the crown chakra (awakening) and the coronavirus. Grab a ticket and join us if this resonates or you want to know more. We’ll close with a global healing activation. Join us: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/99243942303