Fear and Fearlessness Ritual of Healing #62: JOYFEAR

In order to know fearlessness you must know fear - Pema Chodron

We have so often been trained to run from fear, to interpret bodily responses to fear as something "bad", and to be avoided at all costs. Avoidance is a diagnostic hallmark of all anxiety disorders. We live in a culture defined by distraction in service of comfort. Eat this, watch this, text this, drink this, play with this, take this pill and get comfortable, indulge, relax, you deserve it! This leads most of us to feel like something is seriously wrong when we are uncomfortable in any way. Being uncomfortable is an unavoidable, normal and important part in the tapestry of the human experience. When we can only tolerate comfort, we cannot tolerate life!

Mindfulness, presence, meditative and contemplative treatments and practices have become our saving grace. Attunement and attention are our way back to sanity. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to all parts of our experience as they arise, non-judgmentally, in the moment. In Mindfulness based psychotherapy we purposely learn how to stand feelings and thoughts we were previously couldn't tolerate: This is true freedom.

We don't avoid. We don't run.

We learn that we can face feeling uncomfortable and then, surprisingly our capacity for JOYFEAR will begin to grow.

JOYFEAR presents itself at those times when we've pushed beyond what we know, when we have stepped beyond our comfort zone. Here we find joyfear waiting, it surfaces like a wave and washes completely through and fills us completely with this thing called the human experience.

Check out ZENHABITS for his full definition and experiences.

Practice stepping beyond comfort in some small way today, maybe in your exercise class, try to go a bit deeper or maybe at work, volunteer for a project, say hello when you might usually hide ... in some way move beyond what you know and get closer to JOYFEAR. Or perhaps you're already uncomfortable. If you are, try to stand it, this is called growth. It will pass. YOU ARE DOING IT RIGHT! Picture from: ZENHABITS