“When you aren’t afraid of your emotions and you don’t take it all so seriously, Being Human is infinitely easy and unbelievably wonderful.” Dr Amy Johnson
I recently came back from a trip to Greece with my family, and I wanted to share how for the first time I wasn’t afraid of being on that plane. Fears, phobias, stress and anxiety are things that have really interested me over the years, particularly since becoming a health coach. I see so many suffering from chronic underlying levels of anxiety, disordered eating, high levels of stress, health anxiety, fears, phobias, worries and more. I myself have suffered from many of these to varying degrees over the years, and have also watched very close family members suffer too.
And I’ve found (largely thanks to Dr Amy Johnson, Michael Neill, Jack Pransky, Mara Gleason, Dr Bill Pettit, Fiona Lukeis) that the answers to finding peace from these things all lie in the same place. That is in learning how we experience life from our thinking (not from the outside in), and that our thoughts are a universal energy passing through us that we really don’t have to pay any attention to at all. So if you’re interested in looking in a different direction to find that peace you’re searching for, seek out my coaching, or look up the names I’ve mentioned above.
I talked in my instagram stories yesterday that I was going to share how I had overcome this fear, and my 17 year old son said he was looking forward to reading it, but didn’t know that I actually did have a fear of flying previously. This led to a discussion on how many people suffer in silence with fears and anxieties, and that it is very common that no one around them may actually know about it. I certainly have never discussed my fear with my children before, for ‘fear’ of making them scared of it too. But until this last trip (and I’ve been on a few planes in my life), I suffered with fear about the upcoming flight from the moment the flight was booked. But like so many others, I lived in silence and kept it all within me.
As a child, I absolutely LOVED to fly. I clearly remember going on my first big plane trip with my family to America, and have strong memories of loving the plane flight. The more turbulence the better, as to me it was like a fun roller coaster ride. This was pretty much me until around the age of 27 I was on a plane coming back from the Maldives. The 4 hour flight to Singapore was the bumpiest flight I had ever experienced. It was dark, the lights were off, and the pilot did not talk to us at all about the conditions. I seriously thought this was my last ever flight. Things generally intensified after I had children, and my habitual thoughts centered around the plane crashing and leaving my kids without a mum, my kids being involved in a plane crash etc., then of course after September 11, I honestly thought that driving anywhere would be better than ever setting foot on a plane again.
But of course when you live in Australia, plane travel is usually a part of your life being so far from the rest of the world, your family living in Sydney when you’re in Melbourne, and then also meeting my now husband who loved to travel, and wanted us to do many family trips to Europe and Greece.
“You can’t choose the thoughts that come in to your head, but you can choose what you focus on.”
I don’t think I consciously made the decision that I had to get over my fear of flying. What actually happened is that because in my work and in my personal life I have spent a couple of years now learning (from those names I mentioned above) about how we work as human beings – how our thinking is just universal energy flowing though us, how I am not my thinking, how habitual thought patterns are created in the brain, how I do have control as to what I focus on, how if I leave my thinking alone it will just leave me without me having to ‘do’ something about it, how it’s not about ‘thinking’ positive but just understanding ‘thought’ – I realised a few weeks out from our trip that I wasn’t paying much attention to the habitual anxious thinking I had about our upcoming flight. This was particularly interesting given my older 3 kids were not coming with us, and this usually would have led to greater anxiety and thinking around the plane crashing and leaving them without me.
Now I did still have this habitual thinking, because that’s what our brain does. It doesn’t like change, and it likes to keep things the same especially if we have created this habit over a long period of time. So because I had created overthinking pathways in my brain, then there was little I could do to stop them coming up. But because I now see and understand all this, and understand I don’t have to fear my own thinking…. I could see these thoughts arising within me without the need to take them at all seriously. And of course.. you can’t control your thinking anyway!
“If the only thing people learned was not to be afraid of their experience, that alone would change the world.”
I mean, let’s look at what I actually know about plane travel, versus the fear I have created with my habitual thinking. How can the plane be causing my fear when I was feeling fear and anxiety months before even stepping on the plane? Because it’s not the plane – or anything outside of you – that causes fear and anxiety. It is the thinking about it that does that.
Planes do crash. But they are many many many times safer than every stepping out of bed. The drive to the airport is riskier than the plane trip. There are risks in just getting up and living your life in every day…
The turbulence on the plane is like the waves that rock the boat on the sea. They are normal and natural and in no way dangerous. Unless of course you ignore the seat belt sign and walk around and fall over or into something. Then you may hurt yourself.
On the plane during the bumpy times on my recent trip (which over a 24 hour travel period there is many), I found at some times I felt that familiar fear, and at other times I felt completely at ease. What I didn’t feel is the need to over analyse or assess how I was feeling.. because what is the point of assessing something that isn’t real, and will leave of it’s own accord anyway? Either way, I quickly saw my thinking for what is was, and without any effort on my part, I got back to enjoying my movie, music, or my kids… ie I stepped back out of my made up thinking, and back into the world of what was real and right in front of me.
When we don’t understand how something works, we get stressed by it. We also think that it’s up to us to fix it or sort it out. But as Dr Amy Johnson says above, the less afraid you are by your emotions – your thinking – the less seriously you take it all and the more you will free yourself up to live life. There’s nothing you have to do to fix it… the universe has your back.
As one of my clients Kelly said to me recently, “It’s blowing my mind that how nothing can change yet everything can feel so different. I finally feel like I can be in the flow of life – moment to moment – and not heavy or ‘offline’ in thought. I’m not even ‘trying’ to be positive or anything. There is nothing forced or fake. So much I thought was so real just… isn’t”
I cry with joy every time I read that. To find peace from years of habitual anxious thinking like Kelly has done, has just woken her up to the full experience of her life and what is possible with this gift.
We are all born with innate inbuilt wisdom. Just like the sun, it is always there. But sometimes like the sun, it get’s covered over by our thinking – particularly when we feel that some ‘thinking’ is more serious and real than other thinking. But all thinking passes. Without exception. It’s only when we choose to hold on more tightly to some thinking that we may feel stuck. But simply being shown how we work is the key to moving those logjams.
Can you see that it’s not about changing our psychology? What it is about is no longer fearing it and getting on with living.
So if you’re curious to explore this understanding more, please reach out to me or google the names I’ve mentioned above. I talk to this understanding in a couple of my recent podcasts too:
When we know who we really are and where our experience comes from, we don’t have to overthink things. We can live our lives and follow our wisdom knowing that when we’re up we’re up, and when we’re down, we’re down, and love, peace, connection, and insight are available all the time, regardless of how we’re feeling. It’s all part of the richness that is life, and there truly is nothing to fear.. or fix.