To Fear or Not to Fear: Two Images to Help

Some of us have lived in tremendous fear in our lives. Some of us still do.

I want to speak a little bit about what fear does to us and some images that may help you as they have helped me.

One things fear does is narrow our focus- completely- to ensure our survival.

Fear activates the sympathetic nervous systems (SNS). Now, the SNS is wonderful, awesome and a key component of survival. The SNS handles your “fight or flight” system. And it is designed to do one thing and one thing only to the best of its ability- keep you alive. Such a clear, bottom-line goal, and it will not deviate from it.

The SNS integrates with almost every system of the body. When it is activated, it is all systems go: Pupils dilate, HR increases, bronchioles dilates, blood sugar increases, blood flow to the digestive organs and kidneys lessen and so on.

There is no in-between state here. You don’t get to choose to dilate the pupils but not elevate the HR or blood sugar. Such options are removed.

Think about it- have you ever been frightened by something silly- a book falling off a table or something? What happens? Before you know it- you’re breathing heavy, your eyes are wide, you are pale for a moment and so on. Your SNS is doing its job.

But this single-pointed focus costs you. It does not deal with gray areas, states of in-between, or nuance. When it is “On” it is “On” full-force. So committed to its goal, it removes many options from the table.

The SNS and single-pointed focus is fine in survival situations, but what of “normal” life. Life is not meant to be lived in this state of activation, because what happens when you activate the SNS is that you lose many of your options. You don’t get to ebb and flow and adapt to life on varying levels. It is either all “on” or not.

And this is what I feel fear does to us symbolically. When we are in a fear-ful state, we do not see we are surrounded by options. Fear constricts us and our sense of choices. Options are removed to reduce everything to single-pointedness- survival. This is how I draw it.

The Fear State

The Fear State

You are the vesica pisces in the center (divine integration), but half the light/color options are removed. In fear, you only operate with a portion of your available options. The rest seems as if they are mentally removed into the darkness.

But, truly in life, we are surrounded by 360 degrees of light and options. I drew it this way:



It has a red spiral in the middle indicating generation and the 1st chakra (survival), spinning a person around so you can see all 360 degrees of potential that surround you in any moment.

I don’t know if these images help or not, but I have thought of them so many times during the past days, as I have whispered to myself “Kim, you always have options, all of them are available to you all of the time.” )

16 thoughts on “To Fear or Not to Fear: Two Images to Help

  1. Thank you so much for this article and images! I love the images! You have explained everything very nicely! πŸ™‚ My problem is that I have lots of nightmares, I have been troubled by this since I was little. Sometimes it is so awful that I wake up feeling depressed and exhausted. I always remember my nightmares and when I wake up they feel like memories. I am an extremely sensitive girl so I do keep away from horror movies, news, action movies, scary images, books etc. But something scary always sneaks in……

  2. What a great post! I really like that you give us the science of what is happening to the body. SNS: Great when you need it, but as you make clear, not good as a way of life! Stress is a killer, no two ways about it. By telling yourself that you have options and calming the mind, how quickly does the SNS slow down and return to normal? I know studies have shown that cortisol remains in the body for many hours. I wonder if there is an antidote? (I just looked up antidote in the dictionary and it used the word in this sentence: “Laughter is a good antidote to stress.” LOL So I guess that answers my question!) I think meditation is good as well.

    • Oh my goodness, that quote is such a God-send!! Meditation is wonderful. I had never thought of it in that way- but it certainly opens us up to seeing options. As for the SNS returning to “normal”, it takes TIME. As you know, to me at least, if feels like transitioning form another state when coming down from an SNS activation. Anyway, thanks so much for enjoying this posting.

  3. You explain this beautifully, thank you. Living in continual flight or fight mode really did give me tunnel vision, and made it hard for me to see there were other options open to me. Wish I’d had your explanation a long time ago!

  4. Pingback: Faith or Fear: Roots Run Rampant | Joan T. Warren

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