Excitement Or Fear?

Excitement Or Fear?

Excitement Or Fear?

You all know the feeling. It starts in your stomach, maybe as butterflies.
Travels up to your heart, which then accelerates to Mach 1 pace.
Your face may start to get hot, your hands probably tremble, my lips buzz!
Is that excitement…or fear? 
You gotta be clear!

Almost plowing into the back of the car in front of you on the freeway, and waiting to find out what’s behind door number one, FEEL the same.
Speaking in front of a thousand people, and walking to the electric chair do too!
Your brains got to inform your body, because your body doesn’t know the difference on its own. 
Crazy, but true.
Since the beginning of time, all the same hormones flood your body, trying to get you to run back to the cave.

A good friend’s five year old used to tell her he felt “scared” on the way to Disneyland or a birthday party. He associated all his physical symptoms with the big, loudly barking dog next door. He was terrified of that dog, and so on the ride in the car, to the “happiest place on earth”, he was feeling anything but, labeling his excitement as fear.

Some of us still confuse the two as adults. We probably didn’t verbalize our fear when we were kids, I know I didn’t, it was the 60’s, children were “seen and not heard”….”Martini anyone?”

If your brain lets your body know: Hey, this is a good thing. I choose to be here.
You will save yourself a ton of grief.

I have another friend who hates any kind of surprise. She hates the way that rush of adrenalin feels at the reveal. She’d just as soon be shot out of a cannon, than to endure a surprise party. We had her first and last party at 21. When the lights went on, and we all yelled surprise, she peed her pants, cried hysterically for 15 minutes and then got absolutely shit faced drunk, just to stop the shaking.
Good times!
Excitement or fear?

Here’s the deal, both excitement and fear contain the element of anticipation. 
It is the adrenalin trifecta!
But, YOU have the choice of what label to put on a situation. 

So, you can anticipate the worst, a horrible death in a fiery crash or anticipate a wonderful tropical vacation.
Same plane flight.
You can tell yourself you’re the luckiest person in the world to be winging your way to Hawaii for ten days. You can be so appreciative of air travel and the fact that you can get across the ocean inside of a day, instead of two weeks at sea. You can start to anticipate your first Mai Thai instead of sizing up the people in the exit rows and trying to gauge who in the flight crew will deploy the rafts.

Give your feeling the appropriate name.
Use the anticipation to your benefit.
Let it help your body navigate the rush.

When you’re watching the movie Halloween Part 25, and your heart is ready to jump out of your chest; in order to live through it, you just tell yourself:
This situation isn’t real.
I’m in no danger.
I choose to be here.
That’s the agreement we all make when we walk into a theatre.

I’m embarking on several new things in my life this month.
At times I’m the five year old in the car, on my way to the party, feeling afraid. 
Then I remind myself; that feeling’s not fear, its called excitement.
There’s no danger here. 
I chose these adventures, this anticipation is a good thing.
This planes not going down, and I’m definitely NOT running back to the cave. 


  • I named grief this morning after my dream brought a memory I needed to deal with. My subconscious must have been preparing for this new wave yesterday, because I tried to write about joy in my blog……..but it just wouldn’t come.

  • viewpacific says:

    Woo! Hoo! It sounds like you’re bracing yourself for something big.
    I’m trying to name the feelings flying by, which was enough of a challenge. Lately, I’ve moved to simply and fully feeling it all.
    Just now as I was writing this, someone in the café next to me had some wonderfully strong mint tea. Did Brooke me back to some incredible mint tea I once savored, made fresh mint from the garden of a girlfriend of mine.
    That connected me with the feeling of how much I miss being with her.
    Nowadays, I say hello and goodbye to feelings as they pass through, allow them to energize me without overwhelming me, without getting so much into my head by naming them or rejecting them.
    It’s working for me now.
    Along my oath to doing this, I came across this Sufi poem:
    Enjoy your wonderful feelings, and being that five-year-old again.

    • jbertolus says:

      It sounds like you’re doing a great job! For all of us, it is easier said than done, definitely a work in progress.
      Thank you so much for reading and for such a thoughtful and revealing comment. Thank you for the poem, great! I appreciate that so much! Enjoy some mint tea and have a great day.

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