In Chinese medicine each season is associated with an emotion. Fear is the emotion associated with winter, the next season in the cycle of living after the grief of autumn. Unlike grief, which is a full emotion that requires us to experience it, fear is an emotion that calls us to action. There is danger and we must respond.
Sometimes that response is immediate: we quickly move our hand away from a hot burner, or we step back onto the curb when we see a car speeding down the road that we didn’t see before, or we grab the steering wheel back when our teenager is learning to drive and is about to turn into oncoming traffic (two down and one to go in driver’s ed for me!)
Sometimes fear feels more like anxiety and panic. So often when we’re in panic, we behave as if the danger is as imminent as pulling our hand away from a hot burner, and we make rash decisions that are often more harmful than helpful.
When we are overwhelmed with anxiety, we’re unable to take in the needed information to make any kind of useful decision. We become unsure of what to do next. This is the time to slow down, get quiet, be still. Sometimes we need to stop thinking, stop planning, stop worrying. We need to take a bath, sip a cup of tea, relax, go to bed early, and pick things up again anew, refreshed the next day.
Ot’s so important to give yourself some time and space to be still so you can not only hear, but also listen to that voice deep inside you that knows what the next right thing to do is. In a time of such uncertainty, we need to prioritize making time and space regularly for such stillness.
Sometimes we fear that we are headed toward a repeat of an old painful experience. This is an opportunity for us to heal from that old wound as well as consciously build resilience. Finding the courage to go through an experience again, we learn from the past about what worked and what didn’t. When we take informed measured risks in spite of the fear, we are shown what we are made of, what we are capable of.
Courage isn’t about waiting until the fear has passed to take action. Courage is allowing fear to move us forward anyway, not knowing what will happen next. This action without knowing is faith. Faith isn’t passive. Faith is actively knowing that the next thing in life will come. Faith is trusting ourselves and knowing that we have, can find, or will be given what we need to get through whatever may come next.
We are living through an unprecedented time in history. A time that is changing us globally. You are living through an unprecedented time in your own personal history, transforming yourselves into mothers (and mothers again).
Please be so gentle with yourselves.
Please reach out for help when you need it.
Please do not feel like you have to have to pretend everything is ok.
I promise, none of us are getting through this without some heavy, painful experiences. We are here to bear witness to each other, to help us bear it all.
Thoughts on pregnancy, birth and motherhood.