I was just laughing right before I hit record because I think it’s hilarious that I sometimes think about recording a podcast episode and I will not be sure. I won’t have certainty on what I want to talk about. And almost immediately after in the hours that follow, something happens and stirs shit up. Then I’m like… Oh, this is what I’m meant to talk about this week.
psst. Scroll down for the full transcript.
Here’s what’s happening friends. I am going on my very first solo camping trip. Fun, right? Hmm. Also scary. That’s why today I wanted to talk about shifting fear to excitement and the similarities between the two emotions. I noticed that sometimes. When I put something out into the universe and I am like, This is something I want to attract into my life, and I start to believe that it is already on its way to me.
When it gets here, I’m like, Hold on, hold on. I’m not sure I actually want this. That’s exactly what happened with this camping trip. I have an intention to create meaningful connections with all types of different people I like. You have many want many needs, many things I like and dislike, basically what I’m trying to say and not finding the best words.
I want to build relationships with all types of people that I can do all types of different things with. I like to be in a community with other human beings. I like how it feels. I like to bounce ideas off of other people who have different perspectives and different opinions. I also like to share things I enjoy with others.
I have a solid group of friends right now, but I also am excited to find more. I joined this hiking group on Facebook a few months ago. I have met with them but I’m gonna be super honest with you… only once.
I joined this group of hiking, women that hike, a few months ago and I was inspired to just create an event rather than just join one. I did it in a way that I felt safe. It was at one of my very favorite spots, and that’s where we met up. So I was familiar. I was oriented. I knew what I was getting into as far as the location. I knew the terrain. I knew it wouldn’t be too much. I knew I could physically and mentally handle it.
I got nervous. I got really scared, even though it was a place I had been a million, not a million times, but a place I had visited many times. It’s a place that brings me joy, happiness, and peace. It’s always a good time when I’m there. It doesn’t even matter who I’m there with. I can be there alone or with my kids… and also now I know, with people I’ve never met.
Well, this was a few months ago. I haven’t signed up for anything since. Until now.
This weekend I go ALL IN.
I like to camp. I love to be outdoors. I’m like a mix… I love to be outdoors, but I also love to be comfortable. So one of my dreams is to have a beautifully decorated camper. in-between time, I have a wonderful solution. I have a super easy-to-set-up tent that I and the mister can stand in. We fit an end table in there, our luggage can go in there. It’s just no problem, we can make it comfortable and we do. Well, this weekend I’m going camping for the very first time by myself. By myself, but not by myself. Alone, but together.
I’m meeting other women who live in the area. At this campground, we have a few campsites, and then Saturday, more people are joining us. We’re gonna spend the day hiking and kayaking and I am really excited.
This is what I want. This is what I asked for!
Another part of who I am is, well, you know, I love to be in nature. I’ve told you that, and if you’ve listened to the podcast a few times, you know this. I love to be outdoors. I love to be in the trees. I love to be next to the water. I love to feel connected to spirit & in nature is where that happens really easily. It grounds me. It helps me to get out of my head into my body.
Being outside in nature is probably my go-to thing for self-care. I cross so many things off the list when I just get my ass outside. So I got what I want. I found people I can take walks with. Outside people that like to hike.
Also, you should know, I’m not a very good hiker. I’m not an avid hiker. I’m a frolicker. I like to frolic in the forest, but I would like to become a hiker.
This is progress.
I connected myself to other people. I’m building a community with people who like that. People who have been doing that. People who are at all different stages and levels of expertise doing. And now also I’m gonna meet people who also like to camp. They don’t want to just be in the sun. They also like to be in the stars. They like to be outside at night.
I’m super duper excited. And also I’m super duper scared.
So my brain is offering me and has been offering me all types of thoughts as this event got closer. I signed up months ago. I don’t even know how long ago but I think almost immediately after the last event. So, probably a month after. Well, since then, I go back and forth from excited to scared. Excited to worried. From best case scenario to I’ve been murdered.
It’s so wild. But it’s also so understandable.
I know I’m not alone.
I know I’m not the only one who would have concerns.
I’m not the only one who would be worried.
I’ve been managing my thoughts. I’ve been managing my mind. I’ve been paying attention to how I feel when I think about this trip and when I see people post about it. I’ve been talking to my friends about it. I’ve been telling them, Hey, this is how I feel, this is why I think I feel like that, and they give me little pep talks.
They also help me to know it’s totally understandable to feel the way I do. And also I’m gonna have a great time!
I have such great friends that rally around me which is another thing I asked for and got. But it was still scary building relationships!
So, today’s the day!
I’m gonna be packing up in a few hours and heading out. I was having lots of feelings about it yesterday. Today I feel more excited than anything, but I know that when I get in my car and I start driving towards the campsite, my nervous system is gonna stir shit up.
I know this because I remember it. I remember that this is what happened last time, and so I’m reminding myself that I can plan for this if this happens.
If you are getting in your car… Amy, if you are driving down the highway and you feel like you’re not getting enough oxygen, this is why. Because that’s what happens to me folks. My anxiety gets sky high, I start to breathe shallow, and then I hyper-focus on my breath. I make a not-great situation worse.
I know this about myself and so I can prepare and plan for it.
I know I’m gonna be driving in the car. It’s very highly likely that I’m going to get nervous. I can recognize that I’m getting nervous when I also recognize it when I start to have thoughts that I’m not breathing right when I start to have thoughts that I’m not getting enough oxygen. When I unroll the window to get fresh air, I know that is a cue that I am having a nervous system response to excitement, not to fear.
I’m not afraid. I’m excited.
I will feel this, and I’m going to think that I’m afraid. It’s my job to feel those feelings work through them in real-time, and reframe my thoughts, talk to my feelings, tell myself what I’m experiencing is normal and this is what is actually happening.
You’re not afraid, girl, you are super fucking excited. You are about to meet some people that might turn into lifelong friends. Who knows? Maybe you find a future camping buddy. Maybe you’re going to find somebody who’s also looking for a friend who likes to forage but really doesn’t know shit. Maybe you’re gonna make a friend who does! Maybe you’re going to meet people that also love music.
The possibilities are endless. All I know is I’m doing something highly uncomfortable that is in alignment with what I want.
I have asked for this.
The universe has responded, and here we are.
I’m getting all tingly just talking about it. I am having a nervous system response talking to you about what I’m about to do.
My heart is racing right. I have shivers. My little arm hairs are standing up. I have little goosebumps all up and down my arms. My throat is tightening up. You might be able to hear it in my voice. I have tears coming out of the corners of my eyes. I’m not crying. I’m not crying. This is just what happens. Like this is joy. I have joy in my eyeballs, excitement in my chest, and pure positive anticipation exuding from my arms.
This is it. This is the manifestation. This is what I wanted. I wouldn’t have arrived here.
I did not remember that yesterday. I did not automatically think to set myself up for success and remind myself how closely aligned fear and excitement are. What I know but did not think of.
That was not my default. My default was to have the thought but not let them ruminate and just work through them and find calm. Regulate my nervous system. That is what I was telling myself to do, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, my niece reached out to me this morning.
She recently was let go of a job. Don’t even get me started it was nonsense. Right away went into action. She applied all over the place and she ended up with like four interviews, I think in one day. Got multiple offers accepted. One she didn’t really love, but whatever we have to do, what we have to do in the moment, especially when we’re taking care of people that are not just ourselves. When we have our human beings to be responsible for.
So she took the job. Celebrated that she got the job, and kept applying at other places. Then this morning she had an email that one of the places she REALLY wanted to work, we were just talking to about it last night, literally just was telling me last night how she applied it, this place, and how those were the places she saw herself. Those were the places she wanted to be. Well, she got an interview and reached out this morning and told me, Hey, Auntie Amy, I can’t believe it. I got an interview and I’m so fucking nervous.
Of course, you are. Of course, you’re nervous.
And in talking her through that and offering her some perspective, offering her some things that she could try, I remembered what I already know, but don’t always think of I gave her some advice.
The first bit of advice was to really like manage the anxiety and the fear and the nervousness was to come back into her body and ground herself and find calm and I suggested she do something that I do often. It’s something that my coach got me started doing regularly. It wasn’t an everyday practice until I signed up for the coaching program that I’m in right now.
That is to place a hand on your heart, a hand on your gut, and do a breathing exercise.
You inhale for however many seconds, and then exhale for double the number of seconds. It really, I’m really bad with how to pronounce things. Para, Oh my God, I’m gonna slaughter this. Nobody laugh at me. It stimulates your parasynthetic nervous system. I think I, I hope I said that right, If I didn’t, Oh, well this is what you signed up for.
Anyways, it basically calms the nervous system down. I like to not just go straight to it because like I told you a few minutes ago, I have a trauma response to my breath, and when I have anxiety, when my nervous system is like really in hyperactive mode, super scientific way of saying that… my breathing gets really shallow and I hyper-focus on it. I think I’m not getting enough oxygen. If I follow that trail well, I’m in a heap of a mess. I’m probably pulled over on the side of the road, hyperventilating into a bag.
What I like to do is hand to heart, sometimes the other hand on gut too. And I like to take a few really deep belly breaths just so that I can feel connected to myself.
Again. I’m so much in my mind, I’m so much in my thoughts, it can take me away. And so I like to take a few grounding, beautiful breaths to get out of my head and back into my body. And already just doing that, I can already sense a, calmness coming over. And then I like to follow my breaths for a few cycles.
Just sort of follow ’em like you would do when you’re meditating. You know, just notice them. Just sit with them, be with them, follow them. After I’ve done that for probably like 30 seconds to a minute, then I will start intentionally breathing. Then I will do a breathing exercise.
I like to do four seconds of inhalation, sometimes I like to hold them for four seconds, and then – that’s a different technique so let me stop myself. Let me stick to what I’m talking about. I like to breathe in for four seconds and then exhale for eight so that was the advice that I initially gave my niece, and then I was like, well hold on though, because for me that was the problem at first, and it might be for you too. Another thing you can do is not worry about doubling your exhale. You can just let your exhale be like one or two seconds longer than your inhale, and that’s gonna also help you. And then when you get more familiar with this practice, well you can, you know, change it. You can do it differently. But for now, if it feels good, don’t worry so much about doubling up on it. Just make sure that your exhale is longer than your heel. And I thought Dang good advice! I was proud of myself. Like, you just helped her. And then I got to thinking. I was just sitting here, you know, doing the old day job and I had this like download from source or self, could have been my inner being, I don’t know where it came from. My brain offered me a really good thought and it was this.
Fear and emotion are almost the same thing. Fear and emotion are almost the same thing. They’re about two inches apart. Hardly different at all, but how we process it, and how we perceive it, leads us in very different directions.
And so I thought about that for a few minutes.
I remembered all the things I already know. And then I gave her new advice. The advice that I’m giving you right now. Not advice, just gave some information. And it is that fear and excitement are so similar. When we are experiencing a physical reaction to the emotion, because emotion is all energy, it’s all physical. When we notice our breathing has gotten a little wonky, when we notice that our heart rate has increased, when we notice that our palms are sweaty, that is a signal that we are in high arousal. There is a chemical being released. That is an opportunity for us to make a choice. We have a decision to make.
Are we going to sit in our fear and take action from fear, or are we gonna let ourselves be excited? Because we can. We don’t have to always go back down. We don’t always have to regulate our nervous systems in the same way. We have two, we have three choices to be afraid to sit with the fear. Four choices…
We can be scared and just say, fuck it.
So for her, it could be like, I’m just not gonna go to the interview. For me, it could be, I’m just not gonna go camping. Just fuck it. I’m gonna find a… don’t think I thought of all the excuses I could. I came up with all types of reasons why I didn’t need to go. I even came up with an exit strategy should the worst-case scenario arrive.nSo I’m good. But that’s the choice.
Fight or flight.
We can fight through the fear or we can run from it. We can ground ourselves. We can regulate our nervous systems and then make another choice. We can get ourselves back to a better emotional state, not better, but a different emotional state that feels better, and then we can decide how we move forward.
Or we can be excited! We can shift our fear to excitement and that is often quicker.
So I told my niece, I’m like, So the advice I gave you was bad, but also good. There’s just something else. There’s another path you can take. For sure if the anxiety is debilitating or if it’s like succumbing you… if the fear is overwhelming and then for sure do the things. Just try the things that we already talked about. But if you’re in your car driving up, if you’re walking into that building and you are noticing that your heart rate is going outta control, your chest is gonna explode, your palms are sweaty, your armpits are dripping wet… You also can just be excited, and here’s how I like to do that.
I shift fear to excitement in real time by doing just a few simple things.
I talk to it. I tell myself why I’m excited. Like, you’re not scared, you are excited, and this is why you’re excited.
For her, it was the job you wanted. This is the job she had been working towards and I invited her to visualize herself in it.
What’s gonna get you excited? What’s gonna shift fear to the excitement even more? You’re going to visualize yourself actually there. The dream has come to fruition and you are living it. As you’re walking into that building, you can think about how good it’s gonna feel when they offer you this job. You can think about how much you’re going to love doing it. You can think about what you’re going to wear the first day, how you’re going to do your makeup, how you’re gonna introduce yourself to your new colleagues, and you can just enjoy that.
Visualization paints the picture and it helps us to feel ahead of time. We can anticipate all that is going to come and feed off of the emotion of excitement and will have a different experience.
So for me, I’m thinking about how tonight I get to meet some new people and I get to sit around a campfire and learn about them. Practice listening. I’m a yapper. I would like to be somebody who listens better, and I get to! I get to learn how to do that. I get to practice that skill with other human beings. I get to listen to other people. I get to learn about other people, their life, their families, and what gets them excited. I get to think about all that’s possible, and I’m going to! As I am driving up there, I’m gonna be having nothing but pure positive anticipation. I’m going to be thinking about who I’m going to meet that is going to teach me this, or who I’m going to get to talk to about.
I know it’s going to be okay. I know it’s to be expected. I know nothing has gone wrong because fear is basically excitement.
If you catch yourself feeling really excited because you asked for something and the universe responded and you’re in alignment, now is your time, but you’re also scared. Give yourself a high five. You’ve made it. You have arrived.
You have arrived. This is what you wanted, and it’s going to be okay. Nothing has gone wrong. You know what to do, and you can trust yourself. You got this!
Roots Change, with every choice we make. Until the next time, you are loved, you are worthy, and you can achieve anything.