Before we can erase fear, it is important to know what it is ~ the fear I’m talking about is the feeling that overwhelms you – phobias, traumas, conditioning that crops up from time to time without warning or apparent cause. I am not talking about short term fear like being startled by a noise unless that happens to you all of the time.
These experiences do not have to be brought about by anything obvious or even necessarily physical. Sometimes they’re anxieties or worries that disable you and keep you from enjoying life to the fullest. Yet they all have one thing in common ~ something began the feeling, some original occurrence initiated the chemical flow through your brain and into your body and it keeps showing up.
I was born with one of those seemingly unexplainable fears; I might even say it was terror because it created complete cortical inhibition within my brain, made me break out in a cold sweat and disabled my ability to respond rationally. That fear was a total aversion to plant life. Now before you shake your head and say, “huh?” let me say it again. From my earliest memories, I was absolutely terrified of any plant larger than a pansy, trees not included so long as they had small leaves. Big leaves on trees were even worse than other plants. Vines were worst of all.
My sister enjoyed my distress immensely. She was the poster child for the younger sibling who wanted to terrorize her older sister in any way possible. Once she realized my inhibition, she chased me around the grocery store with large heads of curly headed cabbage, made sure she pushed me into the milkweed lining the sidewalks on the way home from school and generally made my life as miserable as possible.
This aspect of my youth remained unresolved as I matured. I moved from Reno NV to S.F. CA and brought it with me. I remember once walking through the arboretum in a S.F. park filled with its rubber tree plants sporting gigantic leaves and trembling so much that I had to run out of the building to allow those behind me to finish their tour. I did everything in my power to keep anyone I met from knowing about my fear because I was even more afraid that they would take advantage of it like my sister did in my youth.
Life continued until one day when I was facilitating a spiritual workshop. There was an upright African drum in the workshop facility and many people had been enjoying standing there playing it either with their hands or with the drumsticks. I knew I also had an estrangement from drums – really didn’t want to play them – yet it was nowhere as strong as my fear of plants. As I watched the various participants enjoying themselves with the drum, I decided it was time to do something about my long-hidden secret.
When it came time for the group to break for lunch which would be served in another building, I stayed behind with an intention of playing the drum and doing battle with my fear of plants. I didn’t know what I was going to do exactly, yet my inner guidance said this might work.
Once everyone had left, I settled myself in front of the drum and picking up the drumsticks began what I imagined would be a tentative beat. Another “I” took over and I was drumming for my life – and that was exactly what I was seeing. . . . . myself as an older Native American woman who had been left behind in camp with the other women and children while the braves went out to hunt. Another tribe, the enemy, was on their way to rape and kill all of us since the men were gone. I was drumming to alert our male tribesmen that we were under attack . . . fully knowing that I would be the first one they would silence upon their arrival.
And silence me they did ~ as I saw the other tribe’s warriors begin to enter our camp I dropped my drumsticks and fled into the forest. One of the men followed close behind, grabbed me by my flying braids and flipping me onto the ground gutted me with a long knife while the leaves, roots and creeping vines covered my face, neck and chest. I was being smothered in plant life while I was being forcefully killed.
As this memory came to the surface in this life, I ran outside to the medicine wheel that was near the building, threw myself over the center stone for grounding and support and threw up from my very toes. As I did so, clouds gathered overhead and thunder commenced. It had been a cloudless day. Later I mused that I must have ripped though some space/time moment to create such a dramatic weather occurrence.
After I was finished at the medicine wheel, I knew I was free. I immediately found several sets of grapevines curling around one of the building’s roofs and buried my face, hair and neck in their foliage. Nothing happened – no sweats, no trembling, no fear. I was free and remain so today.
So I was very happy to recently find an article in the online Scientific American entitled How to Erase Fear – In Humans. It talks about memory reconsolidation and how memories are dynamic, not static. In other words, when you call up a memory from your long term memory it “opens up” and becomes available for reassembling. When it reconsolidates it does so in a different configuration. Normally, if you summon a past memory containing fear or terror it simply reconfigures into another terrified memory configuration.
Yet, what the article reports is that if a reconsolidation of the memory is created within ten minutes of the fear memory being summoned, the brain will consolidate the memory in a completely new manner – in fact, it will create another “fearless” memory in its place; rewrite it. According to the article, this reconsolidation takes place through lab therapy, normal trauma therapy. It appears that the magic ten minutes is due to reconsolidation taking about ten minutes to kick in after a memory is recalled, and lasting for a couple hours.
So, basically what I had done was instinctual. I had no foreknowledge of a technique that was supposed to rewrite my memory. Yet, one aspect of my experience I felt important was knowing I was doing the investigation into my mental corners in what felt like a safe place to me. Though the SA article didn’t say that, I feel it is very important to take into consideration.
And, another aspect that causes me to smile is that modern science is working with post traumatic stress disorder, physical traumas and mental anxieties of this life in relation to what I have just related to you. My experience was grounded in my cellular memory from a parallel life demonstrating that there truly is no time and no space.
So . . . our life in this illusion is as real as the memories of any other illusion. We are the writers and the creators. We have the tools to rewrite any and all of our memories. How exciting is that!