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Living in Fear (and how to stop)

March 10, 2016

 

We live in fear. Then, we seek solace in the illusion of safety.

 

The picture that goes with this post is from our play yard. A few days ago, I was swinging my three-year-old son, and the swing broke. Just like that. Boom. My son had that “help me, Momma” look on his face, and I really couldn’t do anything.  Time slowed down, and I watched him hit the wooden railing and fall to the ground.

 

My husband came running over. I immediately unstrapped my screaming son, took him out of the seat, and assessed that he was ok physically but very scared. I held him and once he calmed down, gave him my breast. All was well. We felt very lucky.

 

My experience points to something profound: life is uncertain.

 

In a conversation with one of my mentors the other day she told me about something that she had gone through. She was in a class one day where the teacher commented that there is no safety in this world. My mentor thought the woman was insane. “No safety? Of course, there is safety!” she exclaimed in her head. After years of spiritual and personal work, my mentor said that she now knows this is true: there is no safety in this world.

 

Kind of harsh. So where does this leave us?

 

Not where you might think…

 

Naming things is healing. When you name something, you can work with it. In this conversation with my former client on Facebook, I realized that with every decision we make, we are weighing our options.

 

This is more important than that.

 

That doesn’t make sense, given my education.

 

What is everybody else doing? (Now, that one can get you into trouble sometimes.)

 

This would make sense if I were younger, older, stronger, weaker, richer, poorer, single, married, healthy, ill…the list goes on and on. One simple decision can be crazy-making, and difficult decisions can feel paralyzing.

 

The problem is that many people are unconscious and often uneducated. They are living in fear, often watching too much television. Running around making decisions from the lizard part of their brains. They are in survival mode. The prefrontal cortex is out of the game. We have to pull that thinking mind back in, and I think the only way to do this is to name it: we are scared. There is no safety.

 

I have a theory that I want to share with you:

 

We live in fear. Then, we seek solace in the illusion of safety.

 

I unexpectedly wrote that sentence to a friend the other day. It was an ‘A-ha’ moment for me. A former client of mine contacted me on Facebook because she works in the medical system and was pushing up against some of my anti-vaccination posts. She said something to the effect of, “Look, I know you. I respect your work, but how could you do this? How could you put your child’s life at risk like that? And then how could you promote it and recommend that other people take that path? Help me understand.”

 

I explained that my goal is always education. These are very personal decisions that people have to make and many people, if fully informed, would make another decision. When you don’t do what everyone else does, you start to study.

 

In her line of work, she sees atrocities everyday and is wrestling with what she is witnessing. She sees people who take things too far. They need medical treatment but choose not to get it. She’s witnessed little injuries that turn into gangrene on a baby – how horrible. She’s trying to make sense of things, just like I am. Some of these people claim that, like myself, they are holistic in their thinking. It is very troubling to her and to me.

 

We also instant messaged about home birthing and decisions around that, such as: to give or not to give the vitamin K shot. From her perspective, this was a no brainer – give it! We opted for vitamin K drops under my son’s tongue. She thinks this is short sighted.

 

I am so grateful she contacted me and that we stayed in dialog about some pretty controversial subject matters. In a community of health practitioners, these are the topics that polarize us. But these are not black and white issues, and there is something more to it. I kept thinking we are both right, neither one of us is wrong. What is underlying our decision-making process? What is behind our perceptions? It hit me like a freight train:

 

We live in fear. Then, we seek solace in the illusion of safety.

 

Let’s look at this safety issue from the perspective of birthing a baby.

 

Having a baby is risky business. Mom could die. Baby could die. Or maybe there could be significant complications. This can happen in the hospital or at home. Do you see that? Giving birth is putting yourself out there no matter where you have the baby. Thing is, our bodies know how to give birth. Women are designed to give birth.

 

I consciously chose to take my chances at home, as women have done for millions of years. I do not feel safe in a hospital. Many women do feel safe in a hospital, but some don’t and won’t fully acknowledge their fears. They think the hospital can prevent bad things from happening.

 

In reality, this dynamic will manifest something like this:

 

The spectators of the situation will see something go wrong with a loved one’s home birth and say, “See. She should’ve had that baby in the hospital.”

 

Or the spectators of the hospital birth that doesn’t go well, will say, “Oh, I could have told you that was going to happen. She should’ve had that baby at home with a midwife.”

 

My question to you is: what the fuck do we know? Sometimes shit goes down, and there is no way out. It is unfair, and it sucks. Until we name this, we are trapped in the illusion of safety.

 

Which takes me to the next part of my statement: we seek solace in the illusion of safety.

 

I had to look up the word solace. While I wrote the word because it came up for me organically, it is not one I use very often. The dictionary defines solace as “comfort or consolation in a time of distress or sadness.”

 

So there it is, many people view the hospital as a comforting place. Sticking to the theme of childbirth, if we choose the hospital, this means that our homes are not a safe place. But that’s not true, for most people.

 

The reality is that THERE IS NO SAFE PLACE. 

 

Our need to control runs so deep that we don’t even see it. Grasping to the illusion of control comes with great cost. A hospital can take what would have been a healthy birth at home and then when one intervention leads to another intervention that leads to another intervention, the soon-to-be-mommy is lying there hooked up to machines wondering what happened. It is tragic.

 

This is at the forefront of my mind right now because I just found out that March is Birth Psychology Awareness month. You can visit this wonderful organization here birthpsychology.com – how you birth your baby matters.

 

To live an empowered life, you have to make informed and difficult decisions. You have to weigh your options.

 

And then, of course, there is the broken swing. Life is out of our control.

 

Let’s revisit this again: We live in fear. Then, we seek solace in the illusion of safety.

 

In addition to birthing, what happens when most people get sick? They run to the medical doctor, effectively saying, “Save me from this pain of being sick.” The doctor may give an anti-biotic. It may be necessary. It may not be necessary. But if you are in generally good health, your doctor and his/her antibiotics should not be your first line of defense against an infection. Most infections are self-limiting. If given enough time, rest, and herbal and nutritional tools, your body will find resolution on its own. But we run to the person in the white coat out of fear, the need to control and the desire to be comfortable.

 

But we don’t grow when we are comfortable.

 

Check out this short video for an enlightened perspective.

 

Reflecting on my past, I now realize that one of the reasons I was motivated to make the changes necessary to heal from thirty years of asthma is because I stopped covering up my symptoms with steroids and antihistamines. I was using my Albuterol inhaler hourly, and I wanted to stop. I was very uncomfortable, which lead me to make changes in my life, like cleaning up my diet and getting rid of my dog.

 

Yes, there are people and situations that require medications. I clearly used to be one of them. No, not everyone is eligible for a home birth. But there are healthy people in this world, giving their power away to institutions out of unexamined fear.

 

You know what’s really scary? Getting in your car. Our bodies were never designed to get in a metal box with wheels and move 80 mph down the road. Most people never think twice about driving to work. But a woman’s body is designed to have a baby. My family totally freaked out when we told them that we were having home birth (I did it anyway).

 

It’s such a contradiction, isn’t it? The message under my family’s response to my home birth was: you can’t trust your body.

 

Sadly, for-profit companies will go broke if they cannot capitalize on our fears. Think about it – the auto industry is a mainstay of our economy, but home births…not so much. What would our hospitals do if all eligible mamas started having babies at home? Well, I suppose they’d have to tip their hats (and their empty pocketbooks) to all the midwives and doulas out there helping them do it.

 

Fear will always be with us. It keeps us alive. I respect my fear but it does NOT need to run the show called My Life. I’m learning to acknowledge the fears I have and then do what I need to do despite them.

 

My husband is 27 years older than me, I just turned 40 and we have a three year-old son. When I was four months pregnant, a man I barely knew at a party asked me an unexpected question. First came, “Congratulations!” then he cocked his head and said, “But, tell me, are you prepared to be a single mother?”

 

I was flabbergasted. I can’t even remember how I responded. I have rolled that question over and over in my mind so, so, so many times.

 

Am I prepared to be a single mother? Nope.

 

Am I prepared to be a married mother? Nope.

 

We don’t know what life has in store for us. We have to learn from our past, plan for the unknown future, and live in the moment. What a dance we humans have to do!

 

The only reason I am here with you right now writing this article, creating a book, and participating in social media is because I acknowledge that my fear of rejection is real, but I choose not to live out of it. I want to be here with you more than I want to hide, but it does come with risk.

 

Hitting the share button, the like, or the heart on social media platforms is not a casual task for me. Every time I do it, I feel a little scared. What will they think of me? So I set that thought aside, and I hit the button anyway. It is so healing.

 

As I reflect on my past, the reality is that I wasn’t physically well enough to do what I am doing right now. It was difficult for my nervous system and body to put myself at risk. I couldn’t handle it.

 

Well, those days are over.

 

I birthed our baby at the foot of our bed, and I ate my raw placenta, like a warrior goddess.

 

When I get sick, I don’t run to the doctor, I care for myself. I know my body is amazing and in most cases, will resolve the situation.

 

To me, the question I repeatedly ask is: how close to Nature am I? There is freedom in this. No one is right. No one is wrong.

 

And that’s the freedom I want for you. I promise that I will give you everything you need to claim your vitality, so that you can then align yourself with a higher purpose and put yourself at risk.

 

The foods you eat, the quality of your sleep, staying hydrated, daily movement - all of these things and more either take away or add to your feelings of aliveness. I am here to bring clarity to what it means to be healthy, well, and vital. Let’s be physically and mentally strong, so that we can fight the good fight.

 

On the other side of fear is a life worth living. Come with me…Eat in Peace and Live in Peace!

 

Love,

 

Charlotte

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Charlotte Kikel
Eat In Peace Wellness Consulting

303-747-3767 office
eatinpeace@protonmail.com

 

 

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