There is a spiritual and psychological concept that says that all human emotions can be distilled down into two base categories – fear or love.
All of the emotions we consider to be “positive” come from love – like happiness, contentment, peace, joy, hope, gratitude, faith, trust, harmony, and freedom. All of the emotions we consider to be “negative” come from fear – like anger, hate, shame, guilt, doubt, anxiety, frustration, judgment, and insecurity.
Swiss-American Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross has said, “It’s true that there are only two primary emotions, love and fear. But it’s more accurate to say that there is only love OR fear, for we cannot feel these two emotions together, at exactly the same time. They’re opposites. If we’re in fear, we are not in a place of love. When we’re in a place of love, we cannot be in a place of fear.”
‘When we’re in a place of love, we cannot be in a place of fear.’
This is such an important teaching at this time in the world, a time that deals with immense fears like terrorist attacks, divisive leaders, and what feels like a constant string of deadly viruses.
There’s no denying that the fears around these situations are founded in actual truths. It feels like the only response we CAN have is fear.
So where does that leave us?
When we feel powerless to control our external circumstances we are easily thrown into feelings of fear. The Coronavirus is the latest perfect example of not being able to control an overwhelming external circumstance.
Though we feel powerless, it is helpful to know that we always have a choice. The power to feel a certain way is always in our hands – and it doesn’t mean that we are simply in denial of the situation.
Psychiatrist & Holocaust-Survivor Viktor Frankl has a quote that I love and think of often. He says,
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.”
This humble sentence reminds us of the huge truth that we always have the power to choose our response.
Do we choose to respond with fear or love?
When we choose fear, we feel powerless; when we choose love, we experience freedom.
The media is an important tool for conveying information. Considering how technologically connected we are today, the media is also in our faces constantly. It’s easy to blame the media entirely for instilling these feelings of fear within us. But we, as human adults, also have power over the amount of media we consume.
Pay attention to how you feel when you mindlessly or endlessly consume the news. The news is a tool to be used in moderation. Tortilla chips are also delicious – but when I mindlessly or endlessly consume a bag of chips, I end up feeling bloated and unhappy. Is your mindless or endless consumption of the news making your spirit feel bloated and unhappy?
This is self-care in the most fundamental sense. It IS important to take care of your body, your physical health, and your immunity – we can take protective measures like getting enough sleep, paying attention to what we’re putting in our bodies and choosing supportive foods like vegetables and fruits, taking our vitamin C, sipping immune supportive cups of tulsi tea, washing our hands, staying home when we’re sick.
But be mindful not to sacrifice the health of your soul and spirit as you do. The Moondance motto is: “heal the soul and the body will follow; support the body so the spirit has room to dance.”
You are both a body and a soul. While lovingly caring for that body, don’t forget to care for the health of your soul and spirit as well. Spiritual Teacher & Author Gabrielle Bernstein has an awesome message about using your hand sanitizer as a smart precaution, but thinking to yourself while using it: I’m using this hand sanitizer from a place of love and not fear!
And, if you are a highly sensitive person (HSP), empath, or any other kind of sensitive soul, be EXTRA mindful of your news consumption – it won’t do your body’s protective mechanisms any favors to be dealing with a jangled up nervous system as well. Be kind to yourself and know your limits of media intake.
But what happens when we’ve done everything we can to support our bodies yet still feel gripped by fear?
When an external circumstance occurs that makes us feel powerless, it is fairly natural to react out of fear and allow ourselves to be overcome with anger, hate, shame, guilt, doubt, anxiety, frustration, judgment, and insecurity.
But this is where we have a choice to lean into our power and choose our response out of love, allowing ourselves to be filled with happiness, contentment, peace, joy, hope, gratitude, faith, trust, harmony, and freedom.
Our ability to choose our response – is our ability to stand in our true power.
These teachings are based on the principles of mindfulness – the ability to be fully aware of what’s happening in the present moment and not overly reactive to or overwhelmed by the stressful circumstances of life.
Unfortunately, we actually have to train our brains to be able to do this. The positive side however, is that stress resilience isn’t just something magical we must be born with – it’s a skill anyone can choose to develop.
I absolutely love the hurricane visual that Author & Yin Yoga Teacher Bernie Clark uses when describing this skill:
“Consider a powerful, destructive hurricane: at the center is the eye – the point of absolute stillness. Now think of all the drama and activities happening in your life right now: where is your still point? Where do you go to find the eye of your storm?”
He goes on to describe how this skill of finding our still-point can be developed and honed during the practice of yin yoga:
“When we practice finding calmness in the midst of a fierce storm during our yoga practice we learn how to find that same centered still-point at other times in our lives, when drama threatens to overwhelm us. When we are calm, our vision expands and we can decide more skillfully the course of action we wish to follow. When we are stressed…we have no ability to seek a wiser path; we simply react instead of reflect.”
Every day and every moment we have the choice to react to our external circumstances out of fear, or to respond from a place of love. This is a skill that we learn by engaging in the practice of Mindfulness. We can learn Mindfulness by engaging in a practice that forces us to slow down and train our brains, such as Yin Yoga.
We are unable to access our personal feelings of peace, safety and contentment from a place of fear – we can only experience these feelings when we align with the energy of love.
Just like we must learn the skills to take care of our bodies and be mindful of our safety, we can learn the skills for dealing with the heaviness and overwhelm of the world.
With all of the fear-inducing situations that have been happening in our world lately, these are skills I want you to learn!
Because remember – it’s not always about changing your life; sometimes it’s about changing the way you experience your life.
What are you aligned with – the energy of fear? Or love?
Practice Right Now
Cast Out Fear by Focusing on Love – Meditation on Love
1. Sit or lie down – close your eyes.
2. Begin deep breathing (expand your belly with every inhale & contract your belly with every exhale) – count to 4 as you breath in; count to 4 as you breathe out. Repeat 10x.
3. Visualize a shimmering golden light in the center of your heart.
4. Imagine this golden light spreading from your heart throughout your whole body – let your body become saturated with this golden light. Let it flood from your body creating a halo of light and love surrounding your whole body.
5. Feel the feeling of light and love within and around you. Think of something you are grateful for.
6. Imagine sending this love out to the people you love, your friends and your family. Picture each person you love and something that you love about them.
7. Then send this love out to people the whole world over.
8. Even send this love out to those you do not like (because the more love you send out, the more you yourself are filled up with golden light and love).
“When we’re in a place of love, we cannot be in a place of fear.”
Learn the skills to deal with the heaviness and overwhelm of the world through the practices of Yin Yoga & Mindfulness – the first 6-week session begins next week on March 18!
Plus, an Acupuncture + Tea Ceremony workshop to help you align you with the grounding and balancing cycles of life – Spring Equinox: Embrace New Beginnings happens March 21st!
And, Personalized 1:1 Coaching that allows you to explore your inner depths, stand in your personal power, and experience an unshakeable inner peace. Accepting new online clients for the spring starting now!