Fear was my #1 issue during a personal growth session in 1991. It took us two hours to reveal what the particular fear was: everything! It took me years to recognize the insidious ways fear had molded my life since childhood.

Like attracts like. When the vibration of fear precedes actions, the results reflect that energy. What follows is lack; struggle; failure; disappointment; frustration; worry; anxiety; loss of business; financial hardship; and that dreadful fear of the future – “what if” things don’t work out and I face a fate worse than death?

Especially when I felt justified, being afraid was like adding sugar to yeast – “Just look at my circumstances. Anyone in them would feel this way.” Fear multiplied which attracted more things to be afraid about.

Once when my budget was screaming “ouch,” I feared missing a credit card payment. I knew someone this happened to, and her rates skyrocketed. My negative musings caused me unconsciously to pay my bill from an account where I don’t keep money… and I missed my payment.

My preoccupation with my imagined, financial ruin also had me overlook paying my water bill. I opened the top portion of a letter sent to alert me and set it aside thinking it was next month’s bill. Only after coming home from burying my cat who suddenly died and discovering my water had been turned off did I see it was a disconnect notice.

I had the money, but I was so consumed with fearing future disasters that I created them!  As Job said, “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.”

You may have been pulled into the quicksand of fear. Once you start sliding  down its slippery slope, every frantic breath has you descend into it more deeply.

All my successes occurred when I let go of fear.

What is quicksand, and how does it work?

Quicksand is just a soupy mix of water trapped in ordinary sand that can’t escape, a liquefied soil that can’t support weight. It can occur almost anywhere if the right conditions are present. Contrary to being the frightening, bottomless pit portrayed in the movies, it rarely is deeper than a few feet.

Stepping into quicksand will not swallow you whole or suck you under, but thrashing about will force you deeper into it. The more you struggle, the faster you sink.

Most people who drown in quicksand or in any liquid are those who panic and start flailing their arms and legs. However, it’s easier to break free of it than you may think.

To escape you have to stop fighting. The key is not to panic.

The way out is to relax and make slow movements back to the surface. Because your body is less dense than the quicksand, your body will float to the surface if you let go of the struggle and relax. In fact, it’s easier to float on quicksand than on water. Once afloat, you can find your way back to safety.

Hmm, so similar to fear – how we drown in it and how we can escape its murky mud.


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  1. Sven Miller Says:

    I like this metaphor and example on the struggle with fear. It leaves me wondering now what the specific strategy and pointers is/ are to address the “invisible fear”, a conceptual demon, versus quick sand – although I have never been literally, physically in it – which to my understanding presents a concrete, physical obstacle.

    I think, for me, the tricky thing with fear is (as you say earlier in your blog) it has sneaked its way into my being, practice of and outlook on life on such a profound physiological, biological, psychological and emotional way that it’s hard to identify it in times when I am prone to the grip of fear and its thrashing of my gifts.

    Any further thoughts on that: Concrete Strategies and Daily Practices/ techniques to evaporate the fear demons?


  2. Virginia Goszewska Says:

    Thanks for your post, Sven. I read that even with “this concrete, physical obstacle,” a person would practically have to dive in head first to drown in quicksand, unless injured or struggling. Fear is in our interpretation of any event.

    Regardless if it’s a physical or “conceptual demon,” fear really is all in our perspective. We’ve been trained to fear; we’re wired to believe in it. So we obediently give away our power to it.

    To break this habit, we can start by being present. Instead of jumping into the emotion, take a few deep breaths, pause and observe. This allows a moment of choice before the emotion consumes us. Once we’re fully into it, it’s more challenging to release the emotion, but it CAN be done.

    You can observe your own process/pattern. For example: fearful thought searches for fear-based association. From this, feelings arise that accompany that thought, and fear takes over. We often open the doors of our inner sanctum and submit to this wild band of barbarians.

    Another option: fearful thought; breathe; pause; observe the situation instead of going into a knee-jerk emotional reaction; put things in perspective; make a conscious choice of how to proceed.

    Be aware of your typical knee-jerk reaction. For example, is it defensive, fighting, panic, whatever yours might be. Once you become aware of it, the spell it has over you begins to diminish.

    Don’t judge your reaction. Simply notice. Breathe. Make a conscious choice. Each time we do this, we retrain the brain. These reactions are a habit and only patterns in the brain. They are not you. We rewire them each time we make a different choice.

    While watching Deepak Chopra being interviewed for an upcoming PBS show last week, he said “before you react to any situation, observe your reaction to react.” Take three deep breaths and smile inside your heart. Train your brain to behave in a certain way. Train yourself not to be reactive.

    With practice, fear can be released gently with grace and ease.


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