The Cure for Fear and Key to Freedom in 2021

March 18th, 2021

By Kristen Yates

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

A year ago to the day, I remember the slight trepidation I felt as I boarded a flight back to Bali in February for a retreat I was hosting there in mid-March. As a global nomad, this tremor of fear was a strange and unfamiliar emotion to feel with regards to travel, but the world was already buzzing then with the panic of a novel virus that has since escalated into the global pandemic we live in today.

I’ve never been someone to get caught up in collective worry, and always kept a cool head about my nomadic lifestyle even when people would warn me about various dangers. But in early April, even I was swept over by the fear for my own health and for those I love, and caught one of the last flights out of Bali to move into lockdown and isolation back in the US as we all waited for the storm to pass by in 2020. I was fortunate enough to be in Oregon, where access to nature was my sole link to sanity and reconnection to myself amidst the craziness unfolding around me.

I soon realized the virus was not in fact a threat to my own health, but I lived in respect and compassion for those for whom it was, and the new rules protecting them. But even then, I lived with this fear in my heart that I could infect my mom or someone close to me, and the desolation of our masked up and shut-down “new normal” started to pervade my normally optimistic outlook that this would all be over soon.

It was as though the virus was bound and determined to penetrate my consciousness, even if I had already chosen not to fear it. It was everywhere, all around me – on the news, on the streets, in the eyes of the man looking suspiciously at me from inside his 6-foot circle on the floor at Whole Foods. Pretty soon, it got to me – life was never getting back to normal, and we were all going to have to live with these new restrictions on our freedom and in our hearts.

In late summer, Mexico was hot on the map as a spot for digital nomads like myself anxious to start traveling again. Hungry for freedom and spiritual community, I flew to Tulum in November – but after just a month, realized that something was missing for me there. I had gone in search of spiritual connection, but immersed in the buzz of the busy beach town overpacked with Americans escaping the lockdowns at home, I only felt more lost and disconnected.

Back In January of 2020, I had sat with Huachuma (San Pedro) several times while living in Peru, and had been captivated by the experience. While I would have loved to immerse longer with the medicine, I’d had to leave for Bali in February to conduct my retreat – and shortly after, all COVID hell had broken loose. But I’d remembered feeling so deeply connected to myself in Peru, and intuitively knew that the Sacred Valley was a healing place for me to ride out this storm.

So in December, the window opened to return to Peru and I took it, catching a flight out of Mexico to the Sacred Valley to follow my inner call to be with plant medicine during these times. And being here, in nature and with Huachuma, has been the key to curing the fear and sadness which had been weighing on my heart even when I tried to distract it away.

Here in the lush valley of these sacred mountains, I am reconnecting with the source of aliveness. Surrounded by her lush vibrancy, abundant growth, and constant regeneration, I remember my true self, and simply realize there never was anything to fear at all. The panic of the world seems to dissolve within the raging rivers cascading through the Andes, and I remember in crystal clarity where I come from, and where I will return home to one day. This remembrance is blissful, and brings a sense of inner peace beyond words.

Nature is a power wilder and more destructive than anything we could ever conjure up as humans. She is greater than any virus, greater than any vaccine, she is the force beyond time sweeping over the Earth as we cycle endlessly through the panic and security of the illusions we create that we are controlling any of it. She is the eternal force that remains standing through the crumbling of old and rebirth of new civilizations. When immersed within nature, you connect with a space outside of time, which brings you out of your mind into the eternal present where fear simply cannot exist. Her sheer magnitude overtakes any sense you have of your own control over life – and that surrender is an awakening into pure freedom and bliss.

When we live away from nature, we begin creating prisons in our mind to protect ourselves from the unknown. We start to think that we need to control the world somehow, rather than trust in its ever-unfolding process that is greater than we are.

It is ecstatic to realize in Nature that you do not need to live in fear of losing your control in the world – because it’s impossible anyway. Any semblance of control we have in the world is a complete illusion. Nature brings us back to the source of our life within, which was an unbelievable miracle to begin with. Spending time here, away from cities, you remember what an unfathomably precious gift it is to even be alive and conscious. You start to awaken to the miracle of your own existence, and surrender to the fact that it can go at any moment.

With this realization, you suddenly begin to think and feel in new ways about this life you’re so desperate to protect with masks and vaccines. You start to realize that every day is a miraculous gift, and there is nothing to “wait for” because this miracle is happening now. You start to understand the urgency of living life fully in each moment, and the ridiculousness of waiting for some “normalcy” to return to the world, before you can enjoy your life again. Of course you want to protect your life and stay healthy – and you do so not from a place of fear, but from a deep reverence and gratitude for living.

And as we are all faced with the fragility of life during this global pandemic, we’re also seeing how fragile the paradigms are that we have around it. Nothing is guaranteed anymore – not our health, not leaving our house to see friends, not the freedom granted from our passports. Everything we once thought was normal is being shattered – and for many, this is driving them into depression and madness right alongside the fear of the virus itself.

But I want you to stop and really think about this all for a moment. Press pause on the game like we’re caught mid-air in the Matrix fight scene.

All of the freedom and “normalcy” of life we had before is dissolving, so it wasn’t ever truly real, was it? It was all an imagined construct, which can be taken away at any time – as we are now clearly understanding. Your ability to travel, your ability to do things in the world… these are all freedoms you took for granted as normal before, which are disappearing.

So doesn’t that make you wonder what “normal” really means? What freedom really means? Were you really free before, if your experience of freedom was actually dependent on the external world – and it could be removed in an instant?

True freedom by its very definition cannot be taken away from you. Coming into nature away from the chaos illuminates the fact that as long as your freedom was given to you by the outside world, it was never true freedom.

The chaos of 2021 is not just taking away your external freedom – it’s shattering the entire paradigm that we were ever free in the first place. And this is where you have a choice, for possibly the first time ever: to continue the illusion that your freedom is dependent on the outside world, or to wake up to the freedom you carry within you.

This is a huge opportunity to is to see the situation right now as an opportunity to grow from within, and realize your true inner liberation amidst the madness. While we cannot control the virus, we can (and must) control our mind and our response to the chaos. And when you learn you can choose your own response to the madness around you, this is true freedom.

Because in just the same way we are faced with the fragility of our own lives right now , we’re seeing the walls crumble on the seemingly solid world we all thought we knew.

The key here to realize is that this crumbling of reality can either destroy you – or empower you beyond measure. You have the power to transmute your fear and uncertainty into an understanding of the freedom and well-being within you that is not dependent on the outside world.

By returning to nature, you exit the fear paradigm and return home to your source of life – and your source of power. Quite simply, when immersed in nature’s abundance, you realize that nothing real can be taken from you – and your fear simply dissolves.

We don’t know how long this will go on – how many more years there will be new strains, new vaccines, masks everywhere we go. We cannot wait to start living again – and we cannot let the uncertainty dictate our inner state of being. The uncertainty of our world can either be crippling or liberating, entirely based on how you choose to see it. That choice is the pure freedom you never had from the ability to travel or gather in a group of ten.

We must wake up and return to our true state of being NOW – and become empowered in the freedom and well-being we carry within – not that which is granted from outside of us.

I’ll be honest – the world is a scary place right now, and that’s coming from someone who identifies as pretty fearless and unshakeable. It’s just an objective truth that I’m noticing out there. Even in rising above fear of the virus, it’s pretty unsettling to navigate the world from behind a face shield, surrounded by masked military officials in the streets and new announcements everyday about lockdowns and borders shutting down.

But when you realize that fear is a choice and freedom is a state of being, you awaken to one of the most empowering insights you can have in this lifetime. Returning to nature brings you a new perspective on yourself and the world that empowers you with a resilience you could never be taught in words. It is an embodied experience of being that wakes you up to your true self without fear.

In moving to Peru in 2021, I have been shedding so much of the heaviness that was never mine, and is truly none of ours to carry. It is not living in ignorance or denial at all, but rather radically choosing a life of clarity and well-being in a world that’s pulling us in the opposite direction. I believe it is a time for each of us to make that decision for ourselves, and own our experience of life – because we are each the master of our own minds, no matter how crazy and uncertain the world is out there.

Nature has been awakening me to both the massive power and the aching fragility of my life. And in that, I am finding the freedom that I realize now I never had even a nomad in the pre-COVID world.

Being here, in the overwhelming chasm of the Sacred Valley, held by these mountains which have weathered the entirety of existence, I pray to the Earth in gratitude for the gift of my being here. Because I realize that I too shall pass, and return once again to the soil, to the water, to the trees, to the sky. I surrender my body to that which is all-healing, the never ending stream of life force regenerating in new ways, over and over forever.

And in waking here on her soil in my conscious form while I have it, I am filled with a fire to live like I have never known. In surrendering to the fragility of my life, during a time when this collective fear is more present than ever, I am finally awakening to my reason for living it.

As the “normal” world out there collapses, all illusions are collapsing with it. Nature is the place to feel empowered and centered, it is the calm within the storm, the key to your inner clarity and the one truth standing as the rest crumbles around us.

The madness of 2021 will cease not when the curve flattens or enough people are vaccinated, but when enough people wake up to their ability to choose life over fear. Of course we all await the day that the virus is curbed, but we must realize that the fear will not subside until we wake up to make this choice for ourselves, as individuals and as a collective.

Here in nature, that choice becomes blissfully obvious. And once empowered by it, you become an embodiment of the cure the world so desperately needs right now – a flicker of light contributing to the tipping point of the global wave of awakening.

About the author:

Kristen Yates is a certified life coach, yoga and mindfulness teacher, and somatic healer with a passion for helping people connect to their innate confidence, clarity, and calling. She weaves together her background in psychology with holistic health and embodiment, energy work, nature-based shamanic practice and intuitive guidance into her guided journeys of personal transformation. She is the host of the Wild Awake Podcast and YouTube channel, and hosts transformational retreats and workshops worldwide in a mission to inspire people to activate their truth and inner power as the key to their freedom.

Connect with Kristen here:

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