From the heart- a 15 day journal exercise Part 7: Fear of Fear

It’s been a while.  It’s been a lot lately.  But let’s see how this chapter unfolds.  What it reveals.

I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart.


Part 1: Catching Up with Your Life

Part 2: Practice Dying

Part 3: Preparing to Die

Part 4: Dying from the Common Cold

Part 5: Renewing Evolution

Part 6: Famous Last Words

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I have been struggling between staying in curiosity/trust and floundering in fear.  And lo and behold, I open the book to the next chapter and it is titled:

Part 7: Fear of Fear

1. Journal exercise:

Get out a big piece of paper.  Write out the shit.  I mean really acknowledge what is making you fearful right now.  Really acknowledge what you are sick of.  Fuck affirmations for a bit.  Fuck gratitude. Fuck getting out of the way.  Fuck not allowing negative speak.  Stand up to it.  Face it.   It’s actually OK to acknowledge the pain that stirs within.

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I am tired of trying. I am sick of being broke, struggling through each month. I am sick of trusting the universe. I am so sad I had to cancel New York. No, I am mad. I am sick of churning stomach, applying for jobs, fearful of what is next. I am sick of PRAISE. For I am sick of counting coins while planning projects. I am sick of the word OPPORTUNITY. I can’t plan ahead if I can’t buy groceries or pay my bills today. It is never enough. I am wanting to land, but do I? I want to not have to take a giant student loan to get credentials I already have. I am sick of loving my home so much yet always being in fear that I can’t afford it. I am sick of not being rewarded for living frugally so I can afford to live in a place I deserve. I am sick of guilt. I am sick of fear that I do not know how to do this. Fear of failure is a failure, isn’t it? I want a clear calendar so I can start again.

Once you have vomited it all out, see if you dare to share it with someone- or read it out loud to yourself- or post it.  I learn from you.  You learn from me and we hold each other up.

Now alter it.  Any way you like.  You are in charge.

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Now throw it out!

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And hug yourself with humour and gratitude for YOU.  TODAY  it is ok to be in your own way.  TODAY it is OK not to flip all this vomit into a positive.  Cause we shouldn’t eat our own vomit.  Ideally.


2. Capture chapter highlights:

All fear has an element of resistance and a leaning away from the moment.  Its dynamic is not unlike that of strong desire except that fear leans backward into the last safe moment while desire leans forward toward the next possibility of satisfaction.  Each lacks presence.

Our unwillingness to enter each moment fully, without judgment or the need to control it, simply produces more fear and resistance to that fear.

“If I have only a year in which to soften my belly where do I begin?”

“In your heart.”


Soft-belly is a trigger for our letting go. Softening melts the armoring over the heart, experienced as hardness in the belly. Each time we remember to be present, to be mindful, we soften into the moment. Softening becomes a call to the heart that it is safe to be alive in the body once again. Soft-belly brings an end to our fear of fear.

Taking a few deep breaths, feel the body you breathe in.
Feel the body expanding and contracting with each breath.
Focus on the rising and falling of the abdomen.
Let awareness receive the beginning, middle, and end
of each inbreath, of each outbreath
expanding and contracting the belly.
Note the constantly changing flow of sensation
in each inhalation, in each exhalation.
And begin to soften all around these sensations.
Let the breath breathe itself in a softening belly.
Soften the belly to receive the breath,
to receive sensation, to experience life in the body.
Soften the muscles that have held the fear for so long.
Soften the tissue, the blood vessels, the flesh.
Letting go of the holding of a lifetime.
Letting go into soft-belly, merciful belly.
Soften the grief, the distrust, the anger
held so hard in the belly.
Levels and levels of softening, levels and levels of letting go.
Moment to moment allow each breath its full expression
in soft-belly.
Let go of the hardness. Let if float
in something softer and kinder.
Let thoughts come and let them go,
floating like bubbles in the spaciousness of soft-belly.
Holding to nothing, softening, softening.
Let the healing in.
Let the pain go.
Have mercy on yourself, soften the belly,
open passageway to the heart.
In soft-belly there is room to be born at last,
and room to die when the moment comes.
In soft-belly the vast spaciousness in which to heal,
in which to discover our unbounded nature.
Letting go into the softness,
fear floats in the gentle vastness we call the heart.
Soft-belly is the practice that accompanies us throughout the day
and finds us at day’s end still alive and well.

3. Explore another source regarding listening to the messages from the heart:

If you are older, trust that the world has been educating you all along.  You already know so much more than you think you know.  You are not finished; you are merely ready.  After a certain age, no matter how you’ve been spending your time, you have very likely earned a doctorate in living.  If you’re still here– if you have survived this long– it is because you know things.  We need you to reveal to us what you know, what you have learned, what you have seen and felt.  If you are older, chances are strong that you may already possess absolutely everything  you need to possess in order to live a more creative life– except the confidence to actually do your work.  But we need you to do your work.  – Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic- Creative Living Beyond Fear

4. Today’s angel card(s):

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