Fear is necessary for our individual survival and staying alive. It is logical that having a functional fear response is essential in nature, because if an organism is not thinking about its own protection – it will likely become someone’s dinner. So, fear acts is a mechanism that protects the individual and keeps it away from danger and unforeseen circumstances that may result in injury or death.
In our modern world, when was the last time that you needed to run for safety because a big bear or a tiger was chasing you? Probably never! Most of us live in concrete buildings, drive metal vehicles and purchase our food packaged, so you have probably never seen a bear up close. But, we are a part of nature and have instincts that are hard-wired into us because at some point in our evolutionary history we needed them to survive.
In this day and age, the environment has drastically changed around us, but the biological instincts are pretty much the same as a few hundred years ago. Objects of fear and concern, such as bear or lion have morphed into external threats such as having enough money, being able to feed your family and pay the bills as examples. There is also the fear about rejection by the “tribe” or those who are a part of your family or a social circle. We naturally want to be accepted and avoid conflict, because of the real threat of not being included, disregarded, judged and left outside of the social circle. It is not beneficial for us, so we try not rock the boat and often do what others want us to keep the status quo and avoid being excluded.
What happens when the ego has much more control over your emotions than you would like? When something is not going right in your life, let’s say relationship problems with your partner – the ego has a solution! It is there to help you avoid pain, so the solution it offers is to not feel the emotional uncertainty through avoidance or consumption of alcohol, as an example. Voila! It worked! Tomorrow the story repeats and alcohol is there to relieve the symptom, again and again. Over time, the person is addicted to the substance while the family relationship that is causing the discomfort in the first place remains unaddressed.
So, what do we do? There are a few things that we can do here… We can stand in our truth and set clear boundaries of what we will and will not accept in our lives. It may sound egotistical and selfish, but it is actually selfish and egotistical to mislead, misrepresent, cover up and pretend than to be honest, genuine and transparent. We must muster courage and address the person who you have the disagreement with in a gentle and constructive way, of course. It is important to face the fear of being rejected, than living the lie your ego might want you to believe. It is better to voice your feelings and expectations than to postpone and pretend.
The next question is: how can we confidently and calmly address any uncomfortable issues in the future? The answer is: befriending the ego! The good news is that the ego is very linear. It is not creative and needs clear instructions on what programs to run and execute. It will do whatever it thinks is most beneficial for you, so the task is to tell it what is beneficial for you in the long term. When the ego is on your side – you have made the greatest friend for life!
The ego must be taught and conditioned through discipline. Yes, that word! For many of us it may seem like an insurmountable task, but it is very simple and there are many ways to regain control over your ego.
This part is important.
Are you worth the investment of 10-15 min of our time into ourselves, non-negotiably. First thing in the morning, every day until the day we die? The ego needs to know that there are no days off and it really helps with the commitment in the long term. Breathwork helps the ego to focus, facilitates gas exchange, opens up the lower third of our lungs where stress receptors can be accessed and turned off. Once the body and mind are relatively relaxed, it is time for the ice bath immersion.
One can use a natural body of water, such as cold lake, river or ocean. I prefer to jump in the freezer full of icy water for consistency, predictability and ease of use. You don’t need a friend to do it with you, no special gear, right time of year etc. You don’t even need clothes! The immersion chamber is always there waiting for you, set to the right temperature, which is about 0 degrees Celsius.
The first step is to use the power of imagination to see yourself having finished the immersion, feeling empowered, having once again re-established who the boss is in the relationship of yourself and your ego. Once you have the mental image and the feeling of success associated with it, you are half way there!
Next, it is time to confidently and slowly step into the water! One leg at a time, becoming an observer to the process. It is important to not control your reactions at this point. Just allowing the sensations to be and witnessing the whole process without attachments is way to go. One limb at a time, until the whole body up to the shoulders is immersed. Now we observe and feel! Whatever emotions come – just observe while taking deep breaths in and out. The mind may resist and the body may tense up – consciously relax and just be in each moment, passively experiencing what is!
You may wonder – when is the right time to get out? Great question! Whenever you are fully relaxed and surrendered to yourself. It may take a couple of minutes or it may take up to 5 min to release all tension in the body. Watch and observe… When you feel like you have stopped battling with the ego – it is time to get out, slowly and gently. At this point, you won! Nothing in the course of the day can take you out of balance. You have done something of high intensity first thing in the morning and now you can reap the benefits as the day unfolds. In great mood, feeling healthy, strong, confident, having negotiated with the ego and having put it in the back seat of your car! Sipping on some cold kambucha, while you drive your vehicle forward, making turns, picking up and dropping off passengers as you wish. Because you are the one in control! You have the last word! You are the winner. So, now you rinse and repeat. Daily.
We don’t want to squander the ego completely, it needs small wins from time to time and it is ok to give it what it wants on occasion. It will thank you, while you remain in control, steering your car wherever you choose, not the ego. You are the boss of your life. We must accept total responsibility for our actions as well as all consequences. Once we cultivate disciplined way of being and living – we become unstoppable and in control of what we manifest into our lives.
If you have children, remember that they learn by watching and not what we are saying. Would it be great if we were the most amazing role models for our children? They are our present and future. By working on ourselves we model what a healthy, disciplined, thoughtful life may be like. They will copy, no doubt! Let’s make sure they copy what they see – honesty, discipline, respect for oneself and others, physical and mental health and the ways to achieve all of them.
It only takes up to 15 min per day!
Allow yourself to be amazing!