Choosing Flight Over Fear

We were flying a visual course over eastern New York, in the Cessna 172, when we unexpectedly hit dense cloud cover. John radioed air traffic control in this crowded airspace, and the operator told him to climb while they rerouted us onto an instrument course. It was winter, however, and so we started to accumulate ice at the higher altitude, which is dangerous – we had to descend immediately while John communicated with control, who at first kept telling us to go up.

There is no room for panic when you are hurtling through space in a beer can, thousands of feet above the ground. Pilots train to be able to manage dangerous contingencies in real time; you click into gear and go through the tried-and-true steps, knowing they are the fastest course out of danger. I could feel the tension and focus, and there was nothing I could do to help.

But there were plenty of things I could have done to make it worse, and it wasn’t enough to not talk. I had to actively bring myself into a centered and calm place of trusting his tools and the divine order of things, so that my energy field would be solid and clear and not triggering for the kids or distracting for him. I sat in Attunement, and I stayed with my breath while he did what he needed to do. Forty five minutes later we were able to return to a visual flight and the kids never had any idea there was an issue.

Through all the trials of treatment for leukemia, there was only one moment when I was overcome with fear. In the hospital I contracted a cold which turned into pneumonia. Every time I sat up my body would try to expel the fluid from my lungs, and I would choke on the mucus that I had to pull out of my mouth with my hands. Too weak to overcome the infection and gasping for breath, I turned to the nurse and asked her if I was going to die.

“No, you’re going to be okay.”

She had no reason to be confident of that. I ended up needing a procedure that I won’t describe in detail, where the doctors put a tube through the naso-pharynx and hosed out the bronchial tubes with pressured saline; delirium is a powerful defense against the horrors of experience at times. But I do believe she knew everything would be okay; when someone can support from their own center, secure that the outcome is always correct, you feel it.

I did make it through; I am more than okay. As I connect with people right now who reach out to me in my professional capacity from their private hells of terrifying asphyxiation, I hear that terror. Sometimes they express it directly, in those very words. As I have discussed in earlier posts, the loss of breath is the loss of inspiration, and to lose inspiration is to die.

Every illness exists on all levels: spiritual, mental, physical. Every remedy and medicine affects all these levels, too, although that understanding is not widespread in the world of pharmaceutical prescribing. But anyone who has taken steroids, or antibiotics, or analgesics, knows that there are clear mental states a person experiences after taking them. So often we see a medicine that suppresses effectively on the physical plane, but the patient is prescribed anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications following treatment.

Fear has been the order of the day for almost two years of constant drumbeats, meant to suggest an enemy at the gate. It’s not surprising that fear is part of the spiritual, mental, and physical levels of this pandemic; the details of what is happening biologically aren’t important in this conversation, because we are most certainly living through a worldwide crisis of fear. I’ve written on this before as well, and the power that fear confers; the unknown awaiting with every promise, confined only to the dark if we chain it there. There’s a flavor of fear for every taste, on offer at the push of a button.

It is no surprise, then, that when people do come down with the circulating respiratory illness, many of them feel extreme fear. I have observed that even people who do not have those symptoms, and are not usually fearful, express uncharacteristic and even unjustified fear; fear is in the air.

Fear, like every emotion, is a visitor. It is here until it is gone; you have the power to receive the message and allow it to move through. It may stay longer than you’d like, but don’t be tricked into dalliance with its reactive cousin, panic.

The most critical early treatment option is calm. When we get spun up into a state of needing to do something, anything, NOW, to make the problem go away, we make poor decisions. Yesterday, a project I spent several hours on collapsed in an irredeemable heap on my desk. I tried crying and swearing and pacing around, but none of those actions solved the problem. I tried fumbling around on the computer idiotically for an hour in an unsuccessful attempt to reverse time.

Then I got up, walked away, took a deep breath, had a cup of tea, and dove into an entirely different task. By 7pm, I had an inspiration about something that never would have resulted from the original approach, and I’d remembered a resource to help me make it happen. Fear looked like: “I can’t survive this!” Panic looked like: “Do all the things and make it unhappen!” Health looked like: “Why is this occurring? What growth opportunities does it present? What resources do I have to achieve that growth?”

Recovery looks like however much time it takes to gets there.

When your health is compromised and your body feels scarily at risk, the first reaction is “I can’t survive this!” Then comes “Do all the things and make it unhappen!” What you really need is to get centered and allow the questions to be there: “Why is this occurring? What growth opportunities does it present? What resources do I have to achieve that growth?” Recovery looks like time.

Don’t expect to have the answers immediately. Put the questions in the field and wait. And ask for help. Ask early. Ask as soon as you feel the fear coming on and the panic setting in. You will find that when you surrender to support, paradoxically you find the strength in yourself to be the agent of your own healing.

You won’t fall out of the sky. I promise.


Rock Rose flower essence is a supportive tool for allowing panic, terror, fear of death, shock from fright, and phobic responses to move through in a healing manner. In short-term illnesses where there is a lot of fear, it can be helpful to use Rock Rose flower essence prior to any homeopathic or other remedy when you are trying to treat yourself. You will have better clarity about the way forward, and more receptivity to external support should you need it.

When you call me for assistance, my first job is to be centered and grounded, whether we are dealing with a chronic or an acute situation. Before I get the necessary information about the case and make a recommendation, I focus on providing the energetic container for the healing to happen. If I am anchored, you are held.

 (At the end of some posts, I will offer relevant insights and suggestions about tools I use, myself or with clients, to support the transformative process that is healing.)

Priceless and Broken