Conversations with my Seven Year Old: In the Fear Forest

One of the blessings of having a second child is that we, as parents, gain some skills by walking with the first one through predictable stages of growth, maturity, illness, and emotional challenges. When our firstborn had a high fever, we panicked. When the younger one has a fever, it’s old hat. When our firstborn struggled with separation anxiety we thought he would never leave our side. With our second born, we trust that he will find his way with time (and some help, if he needs it).

These milestones of childhood often manifest as confrontations with fear. In the early days of this blog I often wrote about my older son’s fear of the dark and his intense fear of change and death. Like many highly sensitive-creative-prone-to-anxiety children, the fear of change and death tends to arise early and can easily preoccupy their minds for hours on end. Left … Click here to continue reading...

In Bed With Fear

We hear a lot about the power of fear these days, and the way we culturally/psychologically talk about it speaks to our beliefs that there are forces “out there” that are dark or evil that we need to overpower. In the early days of my work, I also spoke of fear in these terms, but over the years I’ve softened my perspective and have come to see fear as an inner bully that doesn’t need our aggression as much as our loving attention. When fear takes over, especially in the form of debilitating anxiety, it’s easy to feel like fear is the aggressor and you’re the victim. The truth (as I see it) is that “bully and victim” are two sides of the same coin, characters that are co-creating a dance that stems from pain and, when met with force, leads to more pain.

What happens when, instead of meeting … Click here to continue reading...

Turn to Face Your Fear

Most of us spend our lives running from fear. We run from the bear chasing us in the dream. We run from the vague sense of discomfort that seems to follow us on a day spent alone, in silence, away from the distractions of crowds and noise. We run from the things that scare us most, whether it be flying, public speaking, or intimate relationships.

It’s natural to run from fear, of course. It’s pure instinct to run from the wild animals and places that lurk in the underbrush of consciousness. We could say it’s the most primal instinct of all species to hide or run in the face of fear. But, interestingly, it seems that one of the paths to emotional freedom is facing the inner landscapes that scares us most.

When I attended a dream workshop a couple of months ago with Jeremy Taylor, one of the most … Click here to continue reading...

Love is Stronger than Fear

Everest is still struggling with his nighttime fears. He’s been engaged in this battle for a year and a half and, while he’s no longer in a state of terror, the fear creeps up steadily enough to prevent him from falling asleep easily. We’ve introduced him to every technique and tool we can think of to manage the fear, from talking about it to guided imagination work where I’ve led him to his “special place” and taught him to invite magical friends to advise him on the fear. I’ve taught him Inner Bonding, changing the channel (from negative thinking to positive thinking), meditation and saying “No!” to the fear. Fear is so powerful that it needs to be worked with from every angle, from the emotional to the psychological and spiritual. All of these have been effective and all are worthy tools to learn.

Fear arrives in many forms: … Click here to continue reading...

Update on Everest

So we followed through on our promise and bought three little glo-fish for Everest. One of them is, of course, named Mocha, and he insists that she’s the reincarnation of our cat who died last spring. In case you’re new to the blog, part of helping Everest prepare for Mocha’s death and helping him with his own transition of losing his first beloved pet included long discussions about what happens when we die. Everest created his own mythology about a place called “the kitten crane” where Mocha would wait until she found her new cat body and reincarnated as a kitten. We had every intention of getting a kitten, but when my husband’s allergies cleared up in Mocha’s absence to the point of stopping all of his medication, we had to put health first and told Everest that the kitten would have to wait.

Everest seemed to understand, but the … Click here to continue reading...