What This Blind Bird Can Teach Us About Overcoming Fear

What A Blind Bird Taught Me About Fear on My Kind of LifeFearless(ish).

The bird never saw Spunky aggressively lunge towards him, and thankfully right past him, missing his feathers by mere centimeters. With all the commotion, the bird just stood there, continuing to peck at what looked like muffin crumbles that had fallen to the ground. I was so taken with the bird’s bravery, that it warranted further inspection: There was a nasty looking growth covering the bird’s eyes and it never saw Spunky coming in its direction. In fact, the bird was probably deaf too, because just the snarl of this dog is enough to scare you away. The bird was completely unfazed, aimlessly walking around looking for food, even unintentionally provoking Spunky by walking towards his alert paws, which were ready to pounce. Was this a challenge? Brave bird, I thought.

Why did this bird not react to Spunky’s instinctive and snarling lunge? Were there not any senses left for the bird that could signal fear?

Watching the bird stand confidently as my dog lunged towards him gave me an interesting insight into fear. That is, that fear is strictly perception. The building blocks of fear are constructed from anticipation.

I’m “afraid” of skydiving. I have little interest in experiencing it because I struggle to breathe, even with the blowdryer in my face. There’s so much anticipation when I think of skydiving. The jump camp, gearing up, flying, the actual jump off the plane, pulling the cord, waiting for the parachute to open, thinking about landing and then actually landing. And there’s a million other things that I’d be cautious and afraid of.

Let’s say I was blind or sensory deprived and I had never been skydiving before. Would there be so much fear in just thinking about the act? If I never knew that I might struggle for a breath of air with the heavy wind in my face, would that remove the fearful block of anticipation that I’ve held onto for so long? If I were sensory deprived, might I trust in God, or the Universe, and just jump?

What a blind bird taught me about fear on My Kind of LifeHow many times do I stop myself from doing something because of fear? I thought of just five experiences in just the past day where I was driven by fear (oh, and the list could have gone on):

1. I rarely do a handstand without a wall in front of me. I’m afraid I’ll tumble into someone or hurt myself on the way down. The fact that I’m thinking about the way down tells me that fear is overriding my choices.

2. I’m fearful of crow pose because one way to fall out of it can be an ungraceful and painful face plant. And if I fell on my face, it would stunt my modeling career–you can see, the anticipation is incredibly high here. The interesting thing is, I used to be much better at crow, because there was little fear around falling when I wasn’t modeling. I am learning to remove my fear block and shift my energy from thinking about falling, to thinking about how strong I must be to do the pose correctly. Ugh, this one’s a toughie. 

3. I walk my dog on the same routes, never straying, because I know there’s no surprises like loose dogs in the front yard waiting to chase us down the block (which frankly, I think I’d pay to see since I’m a hair faster than a turtle). I’m afraid to get in a scuffle. I’m a bit superstitious too, so I’m fearful to change patterns that have been working well for me thus far. If I removed fear, might I walk in any direction that my intuition took me? Might I find something new–something amazing–on a new route?

4. I was afraid to eat Junior Mints at the movie theater because I know too much about sugar and terrible ingredients. I let fear change me instead of inviting in the situation with a positive vibration. Eventually I came around when I saw Matt was making his way through the box pretty quickly. In fact, it was probably fear that made me spring for the last few chocolatey mints: Would there be a Junior Mint left for me if I didn’t eat it now? Upon further inspection, if I could go back, I would have asked myself to be mindful, patient and intuitive. There are a million more Junior Mints in the world and I can have them at any time. There’s no rush to eat them–and the fear of there being none left for me should certainly not drive my decision on whether I should eat them or not.

5. I went to dinner with Matt and the options for what I really wanted to eat were limited. I let the fear of, “I’m not going to get exactly what I want,” dictate my ordering experience. As I apprehensively searched the menu aggressively denying any choices that were available, I noticed the fear creeping in. I took note of the negative anticipation of a bad meal and I shifted my experience into thinking about how abundant and blessed I am to have food served to me. And that the only reason I wanted to go to this restaurant in the first place was for the guacamole, which was already sitting half-eaten, right in front of me.

I’m going to dive into the topic of eating, mainly because it’s one of my biggest triggers of fear. If not, the biggest.

When I eat, I am learning to focus on removing the anticipation and fear associated before, during and after the experience. Now, I focus on channelling my experiences into a positive one because fear changes the way I digest food–in fact, it changes everything about the eating process. It’s very important for me, especially with a wealth of knowledge about the effects and energy of what I eat, that I learn to embrace the moment so there’s a positive vibration associated with the experience. I must relax into knowing that life, and eating, is like a balanced ocean. Experiences aren’t always one way, and if they were, how boring would it be to know exactly how things will always be for you?

Here are some of my fear-driven anticipations: Will this make me fat? Will I overeat? Will I get enough food? Is it vegan? Is it certified organic? Is there cheese on it? Is it too late to eat? Will this make me sick? If I travel, what can I eat? Will there be something for me in that country? If I fly, will this be the plane that tanks in the middle of the ocean? What if I’m never ready to be a mother? 

How about this one: What if I never make enough money? 

What a blind bird taught me about fear on My Kind of Life

Find where your fear lies, and try try try to relax into it. Picture yourself letting go of a particular fear, as if it were a helium balloon floating off into the horizon. Let it go without judgement. Release it so that it’s no longer yours. Surrender your fear to the Universe.

Have you ever taken a deep breath in, breathed all the way out, and held it out? That’s fear.

Try this: Breathe in for 4 counts. Hold it in for 4 counts. Breathe it all out for 4 counts. Hold it out for 4 counts. Repeat for 2 minutes, and each time you hold your breath out, try to relax into the fear of not having any breath in your lungs. The Universe will take care of you. This exercise is a gentle reminder that we can override fear if we accept it and learn to relax into it.

When we find ourselves being fearful and anticipatory with a negative association, stop and think about what exactly it is that’s holding you back. Fear is just a symptom and can be easily corrected with intuitive exercises.

What if I went to a restaurant without googling the menu beforehand just to know what I could eat there when I arrived? What if I walked down a new street and found a nice addition to my dog walk?  What if I cut my hair short, just because? What if I ate when I wanted to and let my intuition and faith guide me–instead of rules from a fad diet? What if, like the bird, I was unwavering in my intuitive search for more muffin crumbles, instead of jumping at a lunging dog that would miss me anyway.

What are we holding onto? What is fear preventing us from doing? Can we remove the block that’s stopping us from living intuitively?

If I covered my eyes as I walked through life, would my experience be different? Would I let certain things scare me, and would I stand bravely and know that God or the Universe has an awesome plan for me? Would I walk towards an aggressor knowing that I, too, am God. That I, too, have a plan. That I, too, have protection. That I, too, am fearless.

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oh darling, indulge a little