False Evidence Appearing Real (FEAR)
Oct 01, 2019 08:58AM
by Amber McKenzie
It’s October already, and Halloween is just around the corner! I love this spooky holiday almost as much as my kids do. A day to dress up and “be” whoever you want. A night to willingly face your fears and enjoy the thrill of being super creeped out. I remember going to haunted corn mazes with my friends back in high school and absolutely screaming our heads off while being chased by chainsaw wielding madmen (I mean, we knew it was coming). Or taking a group of international students to a haunted house and hysterically laugh-crying as freaky circus clowns popped up and yelled in our faces, scaring the bajesus out of us. It’s what I like to call “fun fear.”
It was fun fear because we knew it was fake and we were asking for it. Those were paid actors chasing us around with chainless saws and clown makeup, so we knew deep down we were safe. But the fear and the threat of harm still felt very real to our brains and bodies, which is why we all reacted accordingly by screaming, running, crying, grabbing each other, cussing, hyperventilating, and then eventually laughing at the fun of it all.
This got me thinking about the non-fun fear we encounter in our everyday lives and the profound impact it has on us. Most of the fear-inducing situations we face on a daily basis are non-life threatening; yet our bodies react as though a creepy clown just popped up out of nowhere. For instance, that guy who flipped you off on the freeway, the email you received rejecting your proposal, or the ‘we need to talk’ text from your partner, and on it goes. These common incidences can generate major fear responses, which express as panic, defensiveness, anger, high blood pressure, stress, anxiety, future tripping or any other go-to freak-out response.
But what if all these seemingly fear-based situations are lies? What if they are simply habitual responses from the past that are trying to get our attention in the present? What if they’re trying to show us where we need healing so that we can stop resisting and actually flow with life while focusing on who and what we have come here to be? Or at the very least, who we are not.
Because we are not our fears. False Evidence Appearing Real—this is the best acronym I’ve encountered regarding the truth of fear. In a recent Sunday message at Unity Spiritual Center, Rev. Dr. Jane Simmons talked about the illusion of fear (the non-life-threatening kind) and how it can serve as a powerful ally in our lives, showing us the parts of ourselves that are in need of healing. “Fear is always happening within a greater space in you that is not afraid,” she emphasized.
That space within that is not afraid is where our spirit lives, where our soul lives, where God (or whatever you call that which is greater than yourself) lives. That is the space where I want to exist more often and being conscious of my own inner circus clowns and chainsaw wielding madmen is where it begins. Those guys are as scared as I am, so instead of allowing them to ignite a drama storm within me, I’m going to lovingly investigate what it is they’re so afraid of. And with some awareness, self-compassion and guidance, I can create a new habit: to Face Everything And Rise. Won’t you join me?