Just over two weeks ago I had a surge of fear and anxiety arise. It was a broad and general fear - I wasn’t scared of anything in particular. I felt it in my chest first, like a hardening and weighing down of my heart, then it radiated tendrils outward and into my mind.
I’m used to fear and anxiety, as I’ve written before (here and here). In fact, most mornings I wake up into a mild level of anxiety, and I’ve grown to appreciate the genius of human survival instincts that have given morning anxiety to many of us as a way to help us ensure our safety over the millennia.
But this latest fear flare-up kept poking its tendrils in for over a week. It felt dark at times, and I felt alone.
On one of my final nights of this flare-up, I had an anxious dream where I was struggling with demons. I felt that the dementor-like demons were real and that they were pulling me apart physically, emotionally, and psychologically…
I’m not enough. I’ve never been enough. There’s something wrong with me. I just can’t do it. It's too hard. I'm too scared...
It was dark, I was terrified, and it felt like I was destined to feel this way the rest of my life. The demons were woven around and within my body and mind, clouding my vision, and terrorizing me.
Then, still in my dream, I turned my head and saw between demons to one of my sons sitting on his chair at the kitchen counter. He looked at me and said, “So what, Dad? What are you going to do now?”
And in that moment my vision cleared, the fear faded, and I was myself again. The demons were no longer woven within me - they were just ideas that I had floating around in my thinking and feeling.
The hell of this dream began to dissipate the moment I saw and heard my son - of course I'll step through and work through whatever arises in the face of me being the best dad I can be. Of course I'll keep moving forward.
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” - Winston Churchill
Keep going. This doesn’t mean to run from our fears or insecurities, to hide, or even to fight those demons. All of that perpetuates the battle.
“Keep going” means to keep our heads up. It means to continue to foster the feelings that we’re committed to feeling, like compassion, ease, love, peace of mind, and generosity. It means to continue standing in our intentions for ourselves and especially others. It means to remember who we are for ourselves, others, and the world.
“Keep going” means to trust that the heavens are always up there. It means that we are innately healthy and well, and we're only momentarily distracted from experiencing that well-being. It means that inspiration, hope, and ease will return to us soon - we don’t need to force them, they will come.
Here are a few practical things we can do when we're feeling scared of the dark:
We can remind ourselves that the dark will fade and light will return.
We can meditate, exercise, and breathe deeply.
Darkness is the absence of light, so move towards the light, dear friend, and the darkness will fade.
Keep going, and thanks so much for reading. ❤️