Early this summer I was alone at our Cape house writing. It was a great day–no pressure, and my creativity was flowing.
I went to bed feeling fine. But then around 3 a.m., I woke up to the room spinning. At first, I thought it was just my eyes adjusting, until nausea set in.
I got up to go to the bathroom and found the only way I could get there was by crawling on the floor. I was terrified. I was alone, it was dark and I had no idea what to do. All my fear responses started to kick in: shortness of breath, sweats, and a paralyzing dread of what this might mean.
Have you ever had an experience that throws so much fear at you that you feel paralyzed?
Then something incredible happened. Directions came from somewhere, which felt like a higher source. The message cut through the fear and instructed me to find a sharp focus. Find a point somewhere on the wall, the corner of a chest of drawers, a point on a door, anywhere, and stay there until you can find your way back to bed.
So that’s what I did. Since I was on the floor, I focused on the leg of my dresser. I brought my eyes to where the leg of the dresser met the floor and held my focus there. I laid my head on my arm and started to breathe deeply. After a few minutes there I began to feel calm and safe and made my way back to bed and felt the fear dissipate.
Once I was in bed, I was so relaxed that I fell asleep for the rest of the night. When I woke up I was still dealing with this intense vertigo experience, but there was no fear. I could take action without the confusion of all the frightening what-ifs, and that’s what I did.
This experience made a huge impression on me. It helped me understand how crippling fear is and how all our precious healing resources are wiped away when our mind falls into fear.
Fear energetically takes us out of the body because it no longer feels safe to be there, and yet when we activate a sharp, intentional eye focus we can encourage ourselves to stay calm and take action from a place of peace.
Practice: A Deep Meditative Eye Focus
- Notice when you are in a fear response. What does fear feel like in your body and mind? Do your best to notice and not judge.
- Stop whatever you are doing and take 3 long deep breaths.
- Assess things on a sensitivity scale. On a scale of 1-10, 1 being none and 10 being off the charts, how high is your fear response right now? Find a number and remember it.
- Find a place to focus your eyes. It can be a point on a branch, a knob on your dashboard or the corner of a door or window. Hold your focus there as you breathe. Stay there for 1-3 minutes.
- When you have completed your meditative eye focus, reassess your sensitivity scale number. Ideally, you want it under 5. If it is higher than that, repeat the exercise until you get there. You will get there.
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Photo by Drew Graham