Tag: positive thinking

Slay Your Dragons, Face Your Fears

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We’ve all heard the fairy tales where the beautiful princess is locked away in a room that’s in the highest and farthest corner of huge castle that is protected by a fierce, fire-breathing dragon. If the knight wants to marry the princess, he must rescue her by first slaying the dragon. Well, I’d like to offer you a different, more life coaching interpretation of this story. Let’s say that, in this game of life, you are the knight in shining armor. That dream, desire, goal or wish that you want to accomplish or possess is the princess. The castle represents the steps you must take to achieve your desired goal, object or person. The dragon is your fear. It does not matter if your dragon is big or small, fire-breathing or just bites your ankles, you still must slay it to get that princess. If you are cleaver, you can trick the dragon into thinking the two of you are friends and use it to your advantage. We’ll call this action taming your dragon. Either way, what you want is on the other side of that dragon! What are you going to do about it? Let the dragon keep you from even trying to reach your goal? This option gives someone else the opportunity to be what you want to be, have what you want to have. I don’t know about you, but I would rather get slain by the dragon attempting to reach my goal, than to live forever knowing I was too afraid to even try. In most circumstances, once you finally step foot into the castle, you realize the big scary dragon is really a harmless gecko that is more afraid of you than you are of it. In other words, once you begin to actively pursue your dreams, you will realize things are not as scary as you originally thought. So what if you are brave enough to enter the castle only to be slain by that dragon? Since this is a fairy tale, you get another life to either continue attacking this dragon or celebrate the fact that you tried and move on to slay the dragon protecting the princess next door. Whichever option sounds more appealing to you, keep battling the dragons! The more dragons you slay, the easier each sequential battle gets.

Fear is paralyzing if you let it consume your life or let it influence your decisions. Not only do you miss out on the element of your desire, but you miss out on so many unknown opportunities along the way.  Opportunities that otherwise would not be available. Haven’t you ever done something despite being scared, then had an awesome experience, perhaps even something unexpected, result from that experience? I have. Recently, I had a dream of acting in play. When the opportunity to audition became available, I was overwhelmed with fear. I had two weeks to decide if I wanted to slay that dragon or walk away. I chose to slay the dragon and pursue my dream. After I made the decision, that intense feeling left me. On the day of the audition, I was only a little nervous. There’s a big difference between being nervous and having fear. I felt good about my audition and so proud of myself for doing it. As I’m leaving the building, I notice a sign on a billboard announcing that the same theater group is looking for writers to submit plays about Goddesses or women of influence. I CAN write about Goddesses and women of influence! By the end of that day, my play was completely written and I submitted the next day! Had I allowed my fear to paralyze or consume me, stopping me from attending that audition, I would have never known about this amazing writing opportunity.

One of the most controversial rap artists of our times wrote a song that relates to this article and speaks to anyone faced with a rare opportunity to do something different, amazing and life changing.

“Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted. one moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip? …
He better go capture this moment and hope it don’t pass him.
You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime…” —“Lose Yourself” by Eminem

As I mentioned earlier, there is a difference between fear and nervousness. There is also an outstanding difference between fear and danger. On certain occasions, these three emotions may feel similar in our bodies, causing similar sensations or physical responses, however, they are completely different. Nervousness is a form excitement. Your adrenaline is going, your heart rate increases and you may even have a little doubt about the situation, but not enough to hinder the activity. This is a common reaction to doing something new or challenging. Fear, as I just mentioned, is paralyzing, comes with a significant amount of self-doubt and may halt further activity until calmed or resolved. Fear is in our heads, it is imagined, it is not real! Danger, on the other hand, is real and threatens your safety. These 3 words are not synonyms. I would also like to mention a fourth scenario, where sometimes contentment is confused with fear. This is where non-judgment and acceptance of others becomes relevant. During a recent trip to Chicago, I had a conversation with a man who stated that I could make more money if I moved my massage therapy practice to the Windy City. My response to him is that I’m not a big city girl. He instantly labeled my preference as fear. My contentment, passion and love of the Lansing area, which includes the friendships I’ve made and the business I have created, is not fear based. Chicago is a great place to visit, but I don’t perceive it as home. On the flip side, I assumed a self-employed friend was experiencing fear when she was perfectly content having a part-time, low key business.

The lesson that I share with you is this: just because someone’s dream is different than yours, does not mean he/she has fear around that subject or object. However, someone with a genuine fear should be supported and encouraged along their path, without judgement. When that someone is you and you are faced with a decision, it is important to know yourself well enough to distinguish and discern between nervousness, fear, danger and “this is not right for me.” Honor your nervousness, respect and avoid the danger, celebrate your passions, let go of what does not suit you then face your fears and slay that dragon!

by Beverly Bates

originally published Sept 2014, updated Feb 2021

When Emotions get Physical: The Effect of our Thoughts on our Bodies

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“The cells in your body react to everything that your mind says. Negativity brings down your immune system.” Anonymous quotes like this are all over Facebook, we like them, but do we really understand how these negative thoughts affect our bodies? Every emotion, thought and belief, whether helpful or harmful, gets stored in our bodies. All harmful emotions, at their core, can be categorized as either criticism (also known as hatred), resentment (also known as anger), guilt, or fear. Each specific emotion has a matching body part, and each body part represents a unique and specific aspect of our life. For example, the right side of our bodies represents our masculine side or the giving side. If Joe has anger and resentment towards his father, there will be pain or dis-ease on the right side of his body. More specifically, if Joe feels overwhelmed caring for his ill and grumpy father, he will have physical pain on the right side of his neck and the right shoulder.

The longer the harmful emotion goes unresolved, the more severe the physical aliment. If we are aware of how our bodies feel at any given moment, we can sense when something is wrong immediately and can reverse or correct the culprit behavior or thought. Disease occurs when the issue is allowed to continue for many years. Since everyone is unique, the severity and amount of time it takes for an unhealthy thought to manifest into a disease will vary. An example of an unhealthy belief that is ongoing yet easily resolved is Kim’s story. As a child, Kim never felt like her parents paid enough attention to her. When she started going to school, she felt as if her teachers did not notice her. In her teenage years, she could not find a boyfriend. Kim’s ongoing feelings of rejection lead to chronic nosebleeds. Once she began to love herself and feel that the attention she was getting was enough, the nosebleeds subsided, as if they never happened. An example of how an unhealthy thought that goes unresolved can lead to a disease is Bethany’s story. As a young person she never embraced her femininity, she was adamant about not having children, she avoided bonding with children, she was constantly frustrated with her menstrual cycles and she subconsciously believed that her feminine qualities were a curse. In the young adult years, she experience troublesome periods. As time went on and those harmful beliefs continued, she developed several large uterine fibroids which worsened her periods. Once she began to embrace her inner-woman, feel more feminine, began to enjoy being a woman and began to truly experience the love a child, her fibroids began to shrink and her menstrual issues slowly eased up.

As mentioned previously, each body part represents a unique aspect of life. As in Kim’s case, she experienced nosebleeds since the nose represents self-recognition, which is what she lacked. In Bethany’s story, the uterus is the ultimate symbol of femininity and thus the most logical place for disease to manifest when a woman’s femininity is challenged. Oftentimes, old sayings hold relevance in the location of our issues. In the case of Joe’s shoulder pain, he was “carrying the weight of the world” with his caregiver role. His father was also grumpy, therefore his father was “a pain in the neck.” Some examples of obvious coordinating ailments and physical locations include the eyes representing the ability to see clearly, the ears representing emotional hearing, the blood representing joy flowing freely and the legs representing carrying us forward in life.1

Not all physical ailments or diseases that we endure are caused by emotional dysfunction. However, it is a common belief that we create ALL of the illnesses in our bodies and in our lives. Some conditions are lifestyle related, for example the quality of our food intake, the amount of exercise we get, our sexual habits and our use of drugs (illegal, over-the-counter, and prescription), alcohol and tobacco. We have a choice on the types of food and substances we put into our bodies, the amount of exercise we participate in and the type of sexual activity we participate in, therefore we create our own health status. Some diseases are karmic, meaning we did not completely resolve an issue in a past-life so it has manifested as a disease in this life. The healing of these issues happen simultaneously with the healing of our everyday thought patterns. The last cause of physical disease is accidents. According to Louise L. Hay, “Accidents are no accident.” We have the emotional distress that attracts accidents to us, such as anger, built-up frustration, rebellion against authority, guilt, and attention or sympathy seeking.2 We may also have a lesson to learn from the experience, that could include compassion for self and others, being content with our current situation or trusting life’s process. Our thoughts are powerful tools that can either hurt us or heal us. Being consciously aware of our self-talk and beliefs, striving for the most authentically positive and loving perception of our circumstances and always communicating from a place of love, joy and respect will bring us a life of peace and good health.

“Watch your thoughts, they become your words watch your words, they become your actions watch your actions, they become your habits watch your habits, they become your character watch your character, it becomes your destiny.” -Lao Tzu

1 Heal Your Body A- Z by Louise L Hay

2 You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay

By Beverly Bates

Originally published Sept 2013, updated Feb 2021