This article is written by Yuko Takara who attended my 1st Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway workshop (Edited by C.F.) Yuko has a beautiful soul and it is with great love that she wants to share her voice with the world.
I have been having difficulty dealing with insects since I was young. It isn’t just a fear, it’s more like a full-blown phobia.
Some boys in my elementary school would chase me with bugs in their hands just to make fun of my reaction, but for me, it was the most horrifying memory in my entire childhood. My mother is the same way. She still cannot handle any insects and freaks out every time she encounters them. Growing up with her might be the biggest cause of my reaction to bugs, but I am still not sure what the real reason is.
A few weeks ago, I decided to attend Dr. Martha Lee’s workshop to diminish my phobia and my day-to-day problems with bugs being around me.
I was simply tired of my daily housework being sabotaged by summer insect invasions. If I wasn’t afraid of them so much, I could open the windows whenever I want and my efficiency and my quality of life would be highly improved. My husband would also be more relaxed and happier because he wouldn’t have to deal with every tiny fly and ant I discovered.
But, in the bottom of my heart, I knew I wanted to attend this workshop not only for my bug phobia, but also for other kinds of “fear” I had been running away from. Fear of death, loss, failure and being hurt…these had always been hiding in the shadows of my mind and to end being chased by those various fears in my life, I needed to jump into it just like the title of the workshop: “Feel the fear and do it anyway”.
After the workshop, I started to practice the methods I had learnt to fight my bug phobia.
At first, because of the strength of my phobia, it seemed to be almost impossible to wipe all the doubts and negative thoughts that I could never overcome my fear out of my mind. But then, this had been totally cleared a few after I continued my practice from the workshop.
Here’s what I have been practicing to get rid of my bug phobia:
1. The enemy is not them, it’s the illusions I have about them.
For me, this was the most important step.
Let’s calm down and stop fighting with bugs for a minute. What am I fighting with? They are not monsters, only small creatures. I need to be calm and analyse the situation—whether I really need to take action (if they’re poisoning or harmful)—or not. If not, what’s the point of fighting them?
They are simply living their lives to struggle to survive on this planet…
2. Affirmations. “I am powerful!” “I can handle it!” and…“I’m the monster!”
Once I calm down and analyse the situation I am facing, I tell myself that “I am so much bigger, heavier, and scarier than they are!” “To them, I’m like a monster!” I don’t know if these are truly affirmation lines….but it helps me to feel strong and brave enough to handle any kind of situation.
3. Let’s name a bug and talk to one of them.
After I feel so big and brave, I will name them and call them by their names.
I don’t mean to name them individually, but generally. I usually call them “Little buggy”, “Buggy-chan” (‘little miss’ in Japanese) and imagine that I am communicating with them, such as “Oh, you must be lost…poor buggy-chan…here, go outside”
By doing this, I can establish some feelings of compassion towards them and it will help to ease the fear or hatred against them.
I meditate every day. It has become part of my life now. A few months ago, a beautifully-coloured bug appeared during my meditation and suddenly stung me. I was surprised but at least it wasn’t painful.
Recently, I tried to engage with this particular bug in my meditation and tell ‘her’ (I named her ‘Queen of the Bugs’) that I only wanted to stay in my living space peacefully. At this time, my whole apartment building had a termite problem, and there were thousands of them flying around outside of the building. Since my unit is on a lower level, our balcony was totally occupied by them. But, after our ‘peace talk’ in my meditation, they mysteriously disappeared. There were no termite prevention measures taken on my balcony or outside of my unit, and I don’t know how to explain it, but it seemed to work for me.
Now, I am not afraid of bugs and I don’t notice their presence so often.
I can open my windows without being anxious about bugs coming in. I don’t fight with them because they’re not invaders. They are conscious entities.
The biggest thing I learnt from the workshop and my own experience is that fear can be completely controlled.
It is not easy to face the fear and deal with it, but being constantly surrounded by the shadow of fear would be even more frightening and painful. Now I know that I will never let the fear control my life and I will always have the power to handle it by myself.
– Yuko Takara
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