Handling the Panic of Change



I write to remind myself of the mystery of life and the importance of surrendering to the support that God provides in moments when life seems scary.  Self-expression through writing, movement and sound are ways that I handle the panic when things are coming undone.  I am writing this article for myself and to share with you how I have learned to handle the emotions associated with major changes in life.


Panic is the state of psychological fear and bodily contraction that your personality experiences when life is shifting directions, changing levels or forcing growth and expansion. It is the feeling of being beside yourself, wild, near madness which we all try to avoid at all costs, until it overwhelms us.  When life is unstructuring your comfortable patterns, as is happening today with such economic uncertainty, the thing to do is make friends with the archetype Pan.  Pan was the mischievous Greek god of the fields and pastures who rustled the reeds to scare travelers as they passed through the woods. His name became synonymous with unsubstantiated anxiety and is the root of the word panic.


What I mean by making friends with Pan is to surrender to the psychological chaos and bodily-felt tension of panic, instead of fighting it.  Relax into the situation and free-fall through the changes that are happening in your life.  Let yourself flow through it without having to know where you will land or how it will be resolved.  Trust God and life to bring you out of the situation better off than where you started.  Keep in mind that life is ever evolving us as individuals and as the human race to higher states of awareness.  Old patterns have to die to make way for new ones.  When things in life have gotten too rigid and crystallized, they will inevitably have to be unstructured so they can rebuild into better things. And this is where we are today as a nation and perhaps as a whole humanity.


I have been at this place before several times, and I have learned how to surrender to the energy of panic to free-fall through the bad times and transform the experience into a joyful birthing of new possibilities.  I use the acronym F E A R to guide myself through the steps, and I will share them here in hopes it may help you if you are facing panic about the state of your life or the world at this time.


F – Feel the panic. Lie down comfortably, focus attention inside your body and just feel your feelings. Let the tension and anxiety have their way with you. You may notice that after a while the discomfort of the fear begins to release as you are no longer resisting the flow of feelings in your body.


E – Express the feelings.  Use some form of creative expression to get the feelings out of you.  Sing, dance, paint, write, act, whatever you can do to express it creatively.  Now the energy of fear is transforming from a state of contraction into a flow of energy in your body.  By now, you are feeling a state of release, maybe even joy!


A – Accept the situation.  Allow yourself permission to accept what is happening in your life right now.  Enjoy the feeling of free-falling into the future without knowing what will happen.  Give up control.  Embrace uncertainty.


R – Receive the new ideas and possibilities.  In a state of release, your mind opens to a new inflow of ideas, insights and you will start to see new possibilities so you can move into new action.


I recall the first time I went through this process consciously.  I had given up my low-paying job selling jewelry to devote my energies to teaching acting and voice.  For a while I did well enough and then things dried up.  No business, no classes, no clients!  I was panicked, beside myself with anxiety and worry about my future!  I did these steps in my living room for a few days until I became calm and peaceful even though I still did not know what to do.  Suddenly the phone rang and a woman I knew from having directed her play spoke cheerfully into my ear, “Sandra, would you be willing to take over my acting classes at Country Playhouse Theatre?  I am leaving Houston and need someone to teach several classes.  I thought of you.”


That phone call changed my life!  Those classes not only sustained me financially for three years, but they were the place I developed all my acting for non-actors classes and my Speaking from the Heart program.  The experience of teaching at Country playhouse provided the foundation for all the work that I do now with speaking, presentation and transforming fear of public speaking.  I am convinced that I drew that opportunity to me by the law of attraction because I was in a receptive state after doing the FEAR steps outlined above.


I hope these steps help if you are facing changes that you have no control over.  It is such a creative way of handling the emotions of change.  If you need help to go through it, in person, by phone or skype, call on me.  Visit for articles, ideas  and details of individual coaching.

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