Fear Inventory, or, How to Invite Your Fears to Tea

teacup

Although I have met healers who say that we can get rid of fear completely, I don’t believe that. We are human beings and it is natural to feel fear.

To live a truly turned-on life means facing down fear and choosing courage. To get to courage, you must walk through the fear. Choosing courage is a practice, just as choosing to accept and love ourselves is a practice.

We face all kinds of fears, daily. Fear of rejection. Fear of talking to a guy we think is cute. Fear of raising a hand in the work meeting and saying what we authentically think and feel as opposed to whatever people say to curry favor. Fear of moving to a new country, striking out on your own after a long marriage, or fear of success.

What we can change is our relationship to fear. We can learn tools and strategies for letting those fears in and knowing that they do not have the final word. Those fears may just want to be heard. We can hear them and then we can make a choice about how we want to act.

Here’s the thing about fear and why it’s so important we develop a new relationship with it.

Fear hides our desires.

We get caught up in the fear voices. We need to let the fears have their say so we can then find out more about what we really want. And to find the courage to move forward.

“Life is an ongoing process of choosing between safety (out of fear and need for defense) and risk (for the sake of progress and growth). Make the growth choice a dozen times a day.” –Abraham Maslow

Here is an exercise that can help you to welcome in your fears and discover your courage. It’s called a Fear Inventory.

Invite your fears to tea.
The Fear Inventory is like a fear tea party. You welcome in your fears and ask them to have a cup of tea. You see your fears a bit more objectively. You witness your fears and see what is below and behind them. You get to see the underlying desires that emerge after the fears have their say. This is not about wallowing in your fears, it’s about letting them be heard.

A fear inventory helps you to witness yourself and lessen the resistance that you feel to yourself. So often we are in a spin cycle with our fears in our minds. We feel their power because we don’t stop to just let them speak. You could do a fear inventory when you are having trouble making a decision, when you are afraid of a tough conversation, quitting a job or taking a leap. You can do it daily and wow, will you feel more courage in your life! There have been times in my life when I do it daily and it helps me to feel very turned on to name fears.

Fear inventory is cleansing and helps me get in touch with what I really want.

Here’s how it works.
Each of us carries a heavy load of unconscious fears in our body. These fears prevent us from expanding into our full potential. When we take a fear inventory, we’re bringing fears to the surface and seeing them more clearly. When we read them back to ourselves or out loud, we’re shining light and approval on our fearful selves. At the end of the list, you may find that you have more space and freedom within yourself because you have articulated all these fears. You may very naturally find yourself listing your desires because once all this space has been cleared, you naturally feel into your next steps.

Fear Inventory instructions
Time: 15 minutes to 1 hour. The longer you go, the deeper you go.
What’s needed: pen and paper.
Why do it? Fear Inventory clears fears that have built up in your system so you can witness them, making space for ease and desire to shine through.
You can do the fear inventory as a daily practice, or, you can do it when you feel yourself stuck or clogged up by fears.

Step-by-step
1. Find a private place to sit (at home, a coffee shop if you are alone).
2. Pull up a blank document or piece of paper
3. Take a minute to reflect on a person, issue or experience that has been triggering or nagging you recently or keeping you stuck.
4. Write your inventory according to the format below. NOTE: Don’t forget to add your prayer at the end for what you want in place of your fears.
5. Optional: Email or read your fear inventory to a trusted friend. You can partner with someone who also sends you his or her fear inventory.
6. Repeat as needed. You can do this as a daily practice or to release fears when you feel them clog you up.

Structure
Begin your fear inventory:
“Fears about x”

I have fear that . . .
I have fear that . . .
I have fear that . . .
(this can go on for pages, the longer you go, the deeper it goes)
At the end, be sure to write a line to release the fears: “Spirit please help me release these fears so that I . . . (what you would like in their place here).”

Use “I” in your statements to get at the deeper fear.
For example, you could write “I have fear of what Mona will say in my performance review.” Or you could write write “I have fear that I am dependent on Mona’s approval in my performance review.” Using the “I” in your statements really helps you get to the underlying motivations and desires, which is what a fear inventory is ultimately about.

At the end, write a prayer.
At the end of your inventory, write a prayer to release these fears and to ask for what you want in their place.

Write something like, “Spirit (or god, or higher self, whatever works for you), please help me release these fears so that I and this person can live in more harmony and love.”

Some people find it helpful to tear up the list. Some people find it very helpful to read the list aloud to someone else or email it to someone else. You can experiment to see what works best for you.

Example
Fears about speaking tomorrow at the conference
I have fear that I won’t make sense
I have fear that I will look stupid
I have fear that I don’t have the confidence necessary to do this job
I have fear that I will be revealed as not good enough etc.
Spirit, I ask you to remove these fears and any others so I can be more free and live in ease when I speak tomorrow.

At the end of your list you can also write a list of desires.

Your statements may naturally turn to . . . “I have fear that I want . . ” Now that the fear voice have spoken, the desire voices can speak.

The more we clear our fears, the more courage we discover to act and the more space we have to discover what we want.

Fear always comes up when we want to move outside of our comfort zone. Fear can manifest as confusion, spaciness, or getting frozen and stuck in repeated patterns. We can be scared and do things anyway – that’s the magic in life. That’s courage.

When I work with my coaching clients, I teach you a variety of body-mind strategies, including the fear inventory and other fun ones such as “the wiggle,” to help you bust through fear to discover the desires on the other side and take action. If you are curious about working with me 1:1 to get support in your life and work, drop me a line here, and I will reach out shortly to you.