Lissa Rankin on The Fear Cure


Q&A with Lissa Rankin on The Fear Cure

As a newly certified MindMap Coach, I am all too aware of the effect fear has on the human brain. Fear puts us back into our reptilian and old mammalian brains, looking for comfort and safety. We become "irrational" because we are not able to access our frontal lobes, where our creativity and forward thinking live.

So Lissa Rankin's The Fear Cure: Cultivating Courage as Medicine for the Body, Mind, and Soul speaks to me, as it addresses Fear directly, turning it into a tool that we can use to identify the areas of our lives that need healing.

Q: What inspired you to write The Fear Cure?

A: When I was writing Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself I kept coming across loads of scientific data proving that fear was not only an uncomfortable emotion that keeps us from living up to our full potential; it’s also a significant risk factor for heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, chronic pain disorders, inflammatory disorders, even the common cold. In fact, fear may be a greater risk factor for your health than what you eat, how much you exercise, or any of your bad habits. But when was the last time your doctor wrote a prescription that said, “Get a handle on your fear”?

I also had a post-publishing epiphany in the wake of the success of Mind Over Medicine. I realized that it’s all well and good to teach the 6 Steps to Healing Yourself, to invite people to do the deep transformational work that makes the body ripe for miracles and facilitates “spontaneous” remissions. But even if people are intuitive enough to tune into what their bodies need in order to heal, and even if they’re wise enough to write The Prescription for themselves, way too often, fear gets in the way. You may know what needs to change in your life, but if you’re not courageous enough to act upon your inner guidance, you’re likely to stay sick—and stuck. That’s when I realized (with a gulp) that I needed to write a book about fear and courage.

Q: We live in such a fear-based culture, but so many people are in denial of how fear is running their lives? Why is that?

A: Most people in our culture are riddled with fear, and it’s running the show in our lives, taking the wheel in most of our decision-making. But the funny thing is, we don’t even know it. This is partly because, in our culture, we tend to dress up “fear” in the more socially acceptable clothes of “stress.” And stress— well, hell— stress is practically a badge of success in our culture! We’ve been taught to think that fear is for sissies. We see it as a weakness, something we should hide from others and deal with alone in dark nights of the soul. But fear is not something that should elicit shame or stay hidden. Now more than ever, our fears need to shamelessly take center stage so we can let fear illuminate everything that is in need of healing in our lives and finally be free. Physical therapist Val Zajicek says PAIN means Pay Attention Inside Now. I think fear is like pain. It’s an emotional and physical signal alerting to you to Pay Attention Inside Now. Rather than running away from it, we need to examine it and let it heal us.

Q: So what is The Fear Cure?

A: The book title is kind of a misnomer because it implies that fear is something we should cure, like Ebola or cancer. But really it’s all about letting fear cure YOU. Fear can be your friend. When you’re getting chased by a tiger, fear is there to save your life. But most of the time, our fears aren’t survival-related fears. The dangers exist only in our imagination. So The Fear Cure is all about letting fear point the finger at everything in need of healing in your life.

The Fear Cure is about coming into right relationship with uncertainty. At the root of most fears lies a fear of uncertainty. So coming into right relationship with fear is all about coming into right relationship with uncertainty. The tendency to avoid uncertainty is rampant in our culture. Uncertainty is flat out un-American. If we’re honest with ourselves, avoiding uncertainty is the goal of 90% of our choices. The search for certainty is an addiction, and it’s deeply related to the pursuit of comfort. We’ve been programmed since childhood to believe that if you’re successful, you have comforts—big homes, good food, nice cars, a big nest egg for retirement. But what if we’ve been sold a booby prize? What if living a meaningful, fulfilling life is about recognizing that there is something beyond comfort and certainty? What if uncertainty is actually a gateway to possibility, and if we avoid it, we avoid something precious?

When we make peace with uncertainty, we realize that when we don’t know what the future holds, anything could happen. An angel could appear. A relationship you long ago gave up on could be healed. The cancer could be cured. A miracle might happen. Fear could disappear in one exhale. When we cling to certainty, we limit ourselves, but if we’re willing to venture bravely into an uncertain future, the doorway to mystery, wonder, and awe flings open. What lies on the other side of the doorway invites you to explore. When you don’t know what you’ll find, you might be surprised to find that the uncertain is even more wonderful than that which seems certain. Whatever might come next is an exciting adventure once you’re no longer afraid of that which you don’t know.

Q: Letting fear cure you can be hard work. Why should we bother?

A: Because on the other side of this journey lies FREEDOM. Not just happiness, which can feel kind of conditional, but real freedom. When fear no longer runs your life, when you’ve allowed Something Larger to run you, when love and soul-based courage are making your choices instead, your joy is no longer conditional on getting what your ego wants. You only want what the Divine wants for you, and you’re no longer attached to getting what you want, which means you’re no longer afraid of what is uncertain—in fact, the uncertain is almost seductive. You’re also not afraid of what you might lose, because you’re willing to lose it if that’s what is in alignment with your soul curriculum. When you’re no longer afraid of uncertainty or loss, a whole new world opens up to you, and life becomes quite magical, even miraculous.

Q: You sound like you’re speaking from personal experience. Can you tell us what you’ve learned from your own journey with fear?

A: Oh my. I just wrote a whole book about the miracles and magic I’ve experienced on this journey. It’s kind of a hybrid—a spiritual self-help book dressed up as a memoir—called The Anatomy Of A Calling, and it will be published by Rodale Press in December, 2015. I’ll tell you just one of many examples that demonstrates what is possible when you’re no longer letting fear run your life.

Back in 2012, during one of many periods of spiritual intensity (I call them the “quickenings,”) I could sense that some sort of spiritual guidance was trying to come through me, but I wasn’t getting the message. This is often my sign that it’s time to get quiet and make space for guidance to come through. So I took two days off and went to Esalen Institute. The minute I got in the car, I started getting messages from my spirit guide Sebastian. (I know. I know. This is where the doctor in me starts to realize I’m sounding like a loon.) Anyway, when I got to Esalen, Sebastian told me to sit down at my computer and take dictation in order to draft up an email. So I did. I wrote down word for word what I was told, all the while wondering if I was making all this up, even though it didn’t feel like it was coming from my own brain. The email was titled “Calling all visionary physicians.”

I was like, “Okay, so what’s this for? Am I supposed to send out this email?” Sebastian said, “Await further instructions.” Great, I thought, shaking my head. I’m supposed to channel some email to doctors but then do nothing about it.

A week later, I was telling this story to Martha Beck, with whom I was teaching a program called Find Your Calling (you can listen to our free Find Your Calling call here). Martha asked if I would read her the email Sebastian had dictated, and when I did, she started excitedly telling me that I was supposed to bring a group of doctors to her ranch, that we would do equine therapy with them and run a “Heal The Healers” program together. She started spouting off dates and hotel details, telling me she could already see the doctors at her ranch as if they were already there. I was on the other end of the phone crying, in shock and awe and gratitude.

That’s how the Whole Health Medicine Institute was born. We’re now in our third year of training doctors and other health care providers about how to be true healers amidst a system that doesn’t easily support their callings to pure service. I had been dancing around my purpose, confused about how or if I should be involved in medicine at all. And Martha had been questioning why she had bought this crazy horse ranch when she didn’t even own horses. I never would have had the courage to start a school if the guidance hadn’t been so obvious and Martha hadn’t promised to help me. It all felt so purposeful and I felt so loved. It was just one of many miracles that guided me, once I started trusting something other than my fear to help me make my decisions.

Q: Do you have one final tool people can use to help them free themselves from fear?

A: Sure. It helps to learn how to discern between “true fear” and “false fear.” There are true fears meant to elicit protective action, and there are false fears meant to alert us to Pay Attention Inside Now. True fears are a call to action and should not be ignored, while false fears exist only in our imagination and are best used as fuel for personal and spiritual growth. But we won’t be free in life if false fears are ruling our decisions.

Once we can discern the difference, we can let true fears protect us in the way they’re meant to, while we learn to let false fears transform us—without ruling our decision-making. Sometimes true fear shows up as a “fight-or-flight” stress response when you’re in danger, as a signal that says, “RUN!” But sometimes it shows up more subtly—as intuition. So how can you tell whether a scary thought is intuition or a false fear you’re better off ignoring? The Fear Cure has lots of tools to help you discern the difference. But one way to tell is that intuition tends to feel very calm. It doesn’t feel like a panicky, paranoid thought. It’s simply a grounded, inner knowing that says, “Don’t leave your child with this babysitter.” You can tell the difference by paying attention to how your body responds when you get sensitive enough to read the cues. Once you do, your body compass can guide your safe, wise decision-making, and this gives you the courage to say yes or no, based on true, trustworthy guidance, rather than fear.

For more free tools to help you come into right relationship with fear, you can download the Prescription for Courage Kit at TheFearCureBook.com.

Reiki Helps Healthy Human Cells Grow

Imagine being a Western trained and oriented science professor and deciding to study energy healing. Imagine further that you approach the study from a skeptical position, pretty sure that you will find no effects of the Reiki. Gloria A. Gronowicz, a professor of surgery at University of Connecticut - New Haven, holding a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Columbia University, was in this exact position when she took on a 3 year long study financed by the National Institutes of Health center for complementary and alternative medicine, and published in the Journal of Orthopedic Research. Her research focused on bone cells, specifically human bones affected by bone cancer.

Studying people is difficult, because the presence of a person could raise the patient’s spirits and ease his pain. So Gronowicz used cells in discarded bone chips, and from skin and tendons.

The cell cultures received two 10-minute treatments a week for two weeks.

One set of treatments was performed by people trained in reiki. The other set was carried out by untrained people.

When all of the hand waving was done, Gronowicz examined the cells.

The results showed that reiki had no effect on bone cancer cells, but that the process improved bone cell growth by a statistically significant percent. Skin and tendon cells also grew under the reiki regimen.

“We saw a dose-response curve,” Gronowicz said, an effect noted in tests of drugs and other conventional therapies.”The practice of energy medicine has been around for thousands of years,” she said. Most previous studies of reiki were small and “under-powered,” but did show a slight effect, she said.

Not surprisingly, other researchers seem to be steering clear of this work. Professor Gronowicz is actively looking for a research physicist now to work with her studying biofields and biofield healing.

“Are there receptors? There must be a biofield that affects health. Maybe I’ve lost it, but what if it’s true? That would represent a whole new avenue of medical treatment,” Gronowicz said.

Gronowicz has spent 25 years researching bones, and has published about 50 papers. The reiki paper has prompted doubt and scorn among some scientists, but she is not worried.

“I feel like I ought to be doing risky science at this point in my career. Science requires risks. I would urge others to do the same tests,” she said.

“I would like to spend the rest of my career working on this,” she said.

It is sad that in this day and age people are still shying away from anything Reiki or energy healing related. Reiki works people!

Reiki Plain and Simple

Before I start, listen to Reiki Master Pamela Miles on how to find a credible Reiki: A Comprehensive Guide. This is important, because I maintain that credible Reiki is simple, silent, and still - no bells, whistles, crystals, or other accoutrements necessary! httpv://youtu.be/E3HAt7j1NYo

Now, many people associate Reiki with ayurveda, angels, chakras, and all kinds of other healing modalities that are not Reiki. Reiki is actually quiet, simple, and profound. You sit down or lay down on a table fully clothed. I tend to lay my hands on people, but when I work on people in hospitals with MRSA and other contagious pathogens I keep my hands off and hovering. For 45 minutes the person receiving the Reiki gets to relax, be silent, and notice how they feel as the treatment progresses. This is important as Reiki works in that relaxation, that noticing, that moment of rest where my client just lets the Reiki do its work.

As Miles says,

Reiki practice is enough in that it is holistic and complete, engaging the receiver in self-healing at every level. Since Reiki treatment is balancing and gentle, and allows the receiver’s system to respond as it is able, Reiki practice on its own is inherently safe.

Adding healing modalities to make a Reiki treatment stronger doesn’t make sense, because the receiver’s system is already doing all that it can. Practicing Reiki only in any given healing session enables the system to find its center and heal at its own pace, strengthening itself organically from within.

Why gild the lily?

Now, this does NOT mean that we do not go to the doctor, the acupuncturist, or the chakra healer. I simply mean that when you are giving Reiki, keep it clear and simple so that one, you do not impose your belief system and intentions on your clients; two, you allow your clients to know what benefits they are receiving from a Reiki treatment; and three, you allow the other treatments to do their jobs in their own way.

Human Cells Respond to Energy Healing

Contractile Fibroblast cells Immunofluorescent...

Back in August 2008 I found an interesting article about an energy healing study being done at University of Connecticut that was showing under controlled conditions in a lab that energy healing stimulates cellular growth. What was most interesting about this research was that it was only healthy cells that responded to the energy work; cancer cells showed no response.

The study results were then published as "Therapeutic Touch Stimulates the Proliferation of Human Cells in Culture,” by Gloria A. Gronowicz, Ankur Jhaveri, Libbe W. Clarke, Michael S. Aronow, Theresa H. Smith, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Vol. 14, No. 3, 2008.

"In this particular study, three different cell cultures – fibroblasts (derived from neonatal foreskin obtained during circumcision), tendon cells (derived from human hamstring discarded during orthopedic procedures) and bone cells (obtained from healthy bone chips) – were grown and isolated.

All cultures were obtained from different patients. In addition, each of the three cell types that were simultaneously subjected to the various tests all came from different patients. The cultures were subjected twice a week, over a period of two weeks, to the healing hands of three experienced TT practitioners. TT was performed by sweeping hand motions at least 4-10 inches above the plate without ever touching the specimen itself, for a period of 10 minutes, twice a week. The hand motions direct positive intentions through the hands.

Control groups of the cultures also underwent sham treatments –random hand motions without any thoughts or intentions, or they received no stimulation at all. Each experiment was repeated three times at a minimum.

All cultures were assessed at the same time. The results were obtained by statistical analysis. TT caused a measurable change in all three cell cultures. Osteoblasts (bone cells) showed a significant increase in cell growth, compared to the untreated cells; a slightly smaller increase was seen in fibroblasts (cultures from neonatal foreskin). The largest increase in cell growth compared to the control group occurred in tenoctytes (cells derived from hamstring tendon).

This study illustrates that human touch has the capacity to affect cell growth and thereby has real healing potential. More studies are needed, but the current findings give hope to many patients who suffer from abnormal cell growth, in particular cancer patients. Energy medicine treatments, such as TT, Reiki, and Craniosacral Technique promise significant benefits for our bodies."

What more can I say? Now I'd love for them to do a similar study with trained distance healers (like myself). Interesting, huh?