10 Ways to Stop Fearing and Start Feeling

December 10, 2015


After the Paris attacks, the Dalai Lama said, “We cannot solve this problem only through prayers. I am a Buddhist and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking God to solve it. It is illogical. God would say, ‘Solve it yourself because you created it in the first place.’ We need a systematic approach to foster humanistic values of oneness and harmony.”

In a recent NY Times video, a woman (only referred to by her first name, Carmela) who lives above Belle Equipe Café, where 18 people lost their lives, was interviewed.

She, and her two daughters, heard the gunshots.

“At one point I said, ‘Don’t be frightened.’ And I remember thinking that’s the most ridiculous thing. You are frightened and I am frightened and we have to share it rather than pretend it’s not there.”

Sharing what we’re feeling.

One of the best ways we can honor the victims of the terrorist bombings—and also harmonize and foster a greater sense of peace and well-being in our own lives, as the Dalai Lama suggests, is to start recognizing how we feel. And share what we feel.  

So, we pledge to do our best. We renew and start again with a new understanding of what it takes to live a life worth living.

1. I will not let fear be my first reaction to things. (And if it is, I will share that I am scared instead of pretending I am not.)

2. I will choose to start sharing more often what’s going on with me, rather than shutting down, running away, checking out, displacing, anesthetizing, or otherwise avoiding what I feel.

3. I will talk to someone about my feelings. Especially feelings I have shame around and have strong judgments against. Sometimes that could be a lover or friend or relative. Sometimes that’s going to a therapist to work through deeply-rooted issues that are holding us back.

4. I will stop holding myself back.

5. Holding myself back comes from having a level of feeling wanting to be expressed outwardly, but instead finds its way underground to not be expressed. This creates resistance.

6. In spite of how I incorrectly see myself—and therefore hold myself back—I’m going to do something anyway as if I were the badass that I am. Another way of doing it is channeling my inner acting hero. If I were Jennifer Lawrence, how would I do this? If I were Tom Hardy, how would I do this?

7. I will stop being scared of feelings. They’re just feelings after all. The last time I looked, no one died of feelings. People die from guns. And explosions. And weapons. And knives. And bombs.

8. I will take one thing, just one thing, that is making me feel badly about myself (which is simply a feeling not being expressed and instead eats away from the inside)—because I’m too scared to attempt that thing through which this feeling wants to be expressed—and I am going to follow this one thing through.

No matter what happens that will try to derail me, I will attempt to do this thing until it is complete. It could be calling and then finding an agent. It could be going to the gym. Or writing a screenplay, or taking an acting class, or asking someone out on a date, or getting new headshots, or moving to New York.

9. I will take one bad habit (which is just displaced energy, and feeling, not being manifestedcreatively, and then therefore channeled into a bad habit) and I will give that habit up in return for doing the aforementioned thing I’ve been avoiding.

10. These things seem to be the least I can do. I can do these things. I can create and get out of my own way and live a life more openly expressed, which in turn, fosters a greater sense of harmony and peace from within, and, seems to commemorate people’s lives lost in some small way, who no longer can create.

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