Last time, I introduced the idea of darkness as any time in life we are faced with a change so significant that we lose everything once familiar to us. Changes in family situations, employment, relationships, both positive or negative, can lead us to a place that is so unfamiliar we are often left fumbling around in the dark, trying to get our bearings. However, these dark seasons can also serve to remove previously limiting beliefs and patterns of constraint and open our minds and hearts to new possibilities. Darkness in this context is meant to be embraced, not feared. Take another leap with me. Are you willing to celebrate fear? Come on, just this once. It is Halloween season right? Can I convince you that in that moment of change, you’re not actually afraid—you’re excited. What is the difference between fear and excitement? Nothing physiologically. In both cases your body ramps up the sympathetic nervous system, also known as the fight/flight/freeze response. Your heart beats faster, you breathe more rapidly, and your blood pressure increases, all helping to deliver extra oxygen and fuel to where they are most needed. Your five senses become heightened in preparation for the coming challenge. What changes fear and anxiety into excitement and anticipation is the story you tell yourself about what’s happening as you navigate these dark, unfamiliar spaces. Are you excited about possibilities lying ahead or terrified about the potential threats and unforeseen challenges? Both are completely imagined. Why not create a good story—one in which you become the hero? Turn fear into excitement. Your body has done most of the work for you. Just focus on changing your emotional reality, or your feelings about the situation. This is true alchemy. You can do this by asking yourself different questions. Instead of fear-based questions like, “What if I fail? What if this interview goes horribly? What if I get injured and can never run again? What if s/he doesn’t like me? What if I don’t know all the answers?”, ask questions based on excitement and curiosity. Here are some examples: “What if this is wildly successful? What if s/he is the one? What if this is the best match/game/fight of my life? What if this new job/ field/ occupation is the perfect fit?” Then the positive emotions and heightened physical readiness become the fuel for your success. Take this into the match. Job interview. Game. New adventure. Emerge from the darkness with a new sense of clarity and heightened awareness. Trust your inner light to guide you.
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