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Loving Our Fears: Support for our Nervous System and Body

Loving Our Fears: Support for our Nervous System and Body

At the end of 2021, my year of Flow, the universe brought me my next word of the year for 2022: Love. I kept seeing and hearing the word 'love' everywhere. At first, I resisted the word. I thought love meant something cute, romantic, sort of fluffy or fantastical. Through 2022 and beyond, I have been learning the depths of what love truly is.

"We have been brought up in a world that does not put love first, and where love is absent, fear sets in." - Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

In diving into my year of love, I started with the book A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson. Reading these pages showed me how truly afraid I was at that time. Afraid I wasn't good enough, afraid my body would never heal, afraid I wouldn't provide meaning in the world…afraid of love. Since that year, I have more deeply studied somatics, trauma, and the nervous system I realize my body was living in survival states for so long, living in states of fear.

My past, unprocessed emotions and stress held in my body, beliefs about myself and others - these were creating a story of threat and danger about the world. I felt I had to always be on guard, hold things together, independently take care of myself, and that it wasn’t actually safe to relax. There was a perspective that I was alone in the world and that I was meant to suffer, that I could not ask for help or trust others, and deep down a belief that I wasn't worthy of love, that I hadn't done enough good in life to deserve it.

Through healing mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual wounds, I have come to know that the core of myself is love. That my essential nature is one that is connected with everything and is never alone, that is good and perfect and never flawed or undeserving, and that is meant to experience the freedom and joy of giving and receiving love.


Love to me is the deeply peaceful and compassionate acceptance, seeing, and feeling of ourselves and others exactly as we are. Love is commitment to the most true, authentic nature of ourselves and others. Love is the felt sense of knowing that we are all connected and one. And for me, we experience this through presence, through the body. When our nervous system finds a place of safety, we can open to the vastness of love.

What do I need to know about Fear?

We can define fear as an instinctual emotion arising in response to a perceived threat. Fear wants us to survive, so it gets our attention and alerts us to danger - and the key of this being perceived danger. Fear is a valid, necessary, intelligent emotion and response that activates protective patterns we want and need in our bodies - it helps us notice when we might need to fight, flee, or freeze in a situation to stay alive. And - what we want to observe and track in ourselves is this:

1) Is my fear response matching the cue (is my level of activation what is needed to effectively respond to this experience)?
2) How flexible am I with my fear responses (am I able to move fluidly through survival activation and come out, returning to safety without getting stuck in a survival state)?

There are certainly situations that necessitate a fear response pattern and survival state activation - and then there are things we perceive as danger that take us out of feeling safe and into heightened stress. Perhaps there is a re-org at work and uncertainty of what is to come, witnessing a disagreement between family members, or feeling behind in life when comparing yourself to someone on social media. None of these directly are life threatening, but the brain and body could perceive them as threats depending on the stories we tell ourselves about these situations (and especially when combined with many other stressors of life). If we aren't skilled in tracking our sensations and supporting our body through activation, we can potentially move into a heightened state of feeling in danger and go into survival mode. When we are in a fight, flight, or freeze state, we don't have access to our full range of rational thinking and certain functions in our bodies start to shut down. Long term, staying in survival states can lead to health conditions and make it difficult for our bodies to heal. These survival states are ways our bodies speak to us and are opportunities to give ourselves love.

What does it mean to love my fears?

To support ourselves in navigating stress responses, we can go far by bringing in compassion and curiosity.

First: We can't change what we aren't aware of.

See if you can start tuning into your body, noticing sensations, thoughts, and patterns that might cue you into awareness of a survival state compared to a safe, grounded state of presence. How are you breathing? What is your heart rate like? What can you notice about energy patterns, tension, pressure, and flow within you? As you track and observe this in yourself, doing so without judgement if you can. This is information, your body is so smart for the signals it sends, and this is a time for creating a new relationship with your body, with fear, and with love.

Second: Be with what is here.

If you notice you might be in a state of fight, for example, we want to complete the stress cycle of activation. Your body is ready to discharge energy, so we want to consciously and safely allow it to do so. Perhaps you can take breaths, notice your feet on the floor, or offer yourself gentle self-touch as a way of resourcing yourself, giving your body a reminder of safety and bringing in a little bit of presence and access to rational thinking. Then, see how the energy wants to move and express itself. This is an act of love, accepting the emotions and sensations that are part of being human and giving them space to exist. Hearing, seeing, and feeling more of your being.

Third: Support and reconnect.

After allowing your body to complete its natural cycle, you want to make space for support. Another act of love is continuing to listen to your body and see what it needs now. Perhaps some gentle swaying or rocking, some time in nature, a warm blanket, a hug, dancing, or something else. This is a time for reminding your body of safety. After fearful and stressful situations, our bodies want to return to presence. Taking even a few minutes to connect with yourself, your truth, your heart and body helps to encourage the pathways back to safety and vitality.

"There is no fear that love does not dissolve." - Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

Examining our beliefs and perceptions around fear is powerful work, and perhaps even more powerful is the work of embodying love. Allowing fear to exist and be experienced, so that we may learn something about ourselves and come back to a place of deep connection with our true nature, with love - this is the gift we get to give ourselves and each other on our journeys.

For more information about Meagan and Presence With Love, visit her on the WISe Marketplace here, on Instagram @meaganconnley, or at

meagan connley

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