The ancient land displayed a variety of rock formations and colors that called me closer. A yearning in my heart said I must go. As I stepped down into the dusty ravine of large boulders, my body held onto the constriction from driving the narrow winding roads.
I made it to a steep edge that dropped down and wanted to go further, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it back up if I went down. The fear of being stranded down in the wild nature of the canyon kept me in place.
Fear is a companion that I have grown accustomed to, as I tend to let it hold me back. I freeze. I hesitate. I think too much about what to do. The fear creates doubt. However, on this occasion, I listened to the inner yearning of my soul calling for me to spend time with this land.
I sat down and asked the spirit of the Earth and land to guide me, teach me what I needed to know, share its wisdom with me. I was startled by a rustling sound behind me which I imagined was a snake, but it turned out to be my backpack scratching on a bush. I jumped up with a pounding heart and began to follow a trail to a large rock. I discovered the trail continued through the short bushes and spikey cactuses. I followed it to a narrow footpath, no wider than my foot. As the trail wrapped around the side of a mountain, I felt compelled to keep going and noticed my fear was intertwined with exhilaration. It seemed the two feelings were inseparable. Curiosity and adrenaline propelled me forward.
As I was drawn deeper into the landscape, new vistas opened up and I found myself in front of a mountain that had previously been quite far away. Distinguished saguaro cactuses stood proudly, populating the mountainside. A sunlit crystalline quartz layer sparkled on the ground beneath my feet. I humbly sat down to connect through my heart with the spirit of the land and asked to receive any wisdom it had to share with me. I focused on my breath and went inside myself, feeling a deep reverence in my heart for the spirits of this land, and the spirit of the Earth.
I became aware of two parallel columns of light within my stomach, above the navel. One column contained a primal fear of abandonment, of being left alone, not surviving, and feeling unsafe, whereas the other column contained the feeling of connection, security, safety, and a calm knowing I will be taken care of, a feeling that I am one with all of the creatures, plants, Earth and Source, connected to everything. Thoughts entered about how I can bring in this feeling of security into parts of my life where I hesitate due to fear. I saw images of many potential situations where I can carry this deep knowing of connection to all of life with me and sat with these for a while. I saw myself carrying this feeling in me at my job, on public transit, in conversations, at home, just to name a few.
I thanked the mountain, the Earth, and spirits of this place for this message. I made the trek back towards the car, all the while accompanied by the blending of fear and exhilaration on the dusty path, coupled with the inner knowing that I would be okay. The danger felt real, but I trusted I would make it back in one piece, aware of my surroundings and my steps, aware that I was part of this larger web of life in the landscape I passed through. I knew I would not be harmed.
The following day, at home in the backyard, I connected with the Earth and the Source of all life, with an intention to face the fear I had met inside my stomach the previous day. As I descended into my stomach, I could feel the tightening fear in my stomach and was afraid to look at it. But I made the decision to turn and face the fear head-on, and information began to flow to me about how this fear originates from the time of being a baby- fear of abandonment, of being left alone, of not surviving. The energy of this fear appeared as an erratic chaotic orange-colored energy. Behind me, I was now aware of the steady presence of the Source of all life and how this fear was separated from it. I chose to step forward and merge with the fear. Then I turned around to face the soothing light of Source, which filled me with a sense of inner strength, a feeling of being connected to everything in existence. It became clear that fear and calmness are different expressions of the same energy. The fear is chaotic because it is separated from Source, and out of touch with it. I moved closer to the light and allowed the light to transform the erratic energy within me into a more relaxed feeling, bringing the two opposing feelings into one of harmony.
And it was not over yet. Next, I entered into another experience around my fear of death. In this experience, I stepped into a puddle of water at my feet and was soon swept down into a vast sea of water. I panicked, afraid of drowning, struggling to breathe, consumed with the fear of dying, desperately wanting to survive. And I was being drawn down towards a light at the bottom that I recognized as being the soul of the Earth and at the same time, it was Source energy as well. They were one; Source energy was flowing through the Earth’s soul. My fearful mind was resistant to the process of dying and going to the light, but my body continued to move down, ever closer to this light at the bottom and my legs, then my torso began to slowly dissolve as it entered this light of the Earth and Source. My head and mind provided a lot of resistance to this process- I did not want to leave my human life- there were so many things I still wanted to do, but eventually my head blended into the light completely, where I became a consciousness instead of a body. I became one with Source energy. I had a peacefulness surrounding me and I was part of this peacefulness, my consciousness expanded out with no edges to define it.
I opened my eyes, returning to the backyard with an understanding that permeated my body- an understanding that I do not need to fear death. And I have carried this memory in my body ever since. Sure, I still experience fear in my life, but I am less afraid of death and being with the dying process as others transition through it. It has enabled me to hold space for those who are in transition- both animals and people. These experiences of getting to know my fear allow me to understand my emotion of fear better when it shows up. I find myself moving forward more often despite the fear in order to embrace new experiences.
Written by April Phillips