Interview with Rajan by Premdipa
Your workshop is titled “From Fear to Excitement” – what have you learnt about fear?
I’m Norwegian and I think most Scandinavians have a fairly similar cultural background. Modesty is a virtue, don’t make yourself bigger than you are. Don’t think you are someone. I see this attitude for example when I get excited and would like to raise my voice and take space. I want to step out but I don’t because a voice inside my head says: ”Oh no, it’s not your place.”
Partly because of this, I didn’t have the courage to choose the education I wanted. I dreamt for a time of being an artist. Not because I’m good at art but because artists had a freedom I was so longing for. Freedom of being, wearing whatever they wanted and saying exactly what they wanted. Instead, I chose to study business as expected and approved by my family.
I grew up to be a good man, nice and polite. I worked at a government office for 10 years and considered myself as an extremely flexible guy to work with. I was positive, hard-working, loyal, supportive and a great second-in-command. I was not aware of having an authority trip but in reality I didn’t dare to take a position. If I saw something was wrong I didn’t say it, and I eventually worked myself to complete exhaustion.
Only many years later, at Humaniversity, I understood how fear-ridden my choices in life had been.
How does fear affect us in our everyday lives?
I see fear as one of the main roots of conflicts in our relationships, whether it’s working or love relationships, or in the way we relate with our friends and family. Because of fear we don’t dare to be ourselves and to be open. Instead, we feel we have to keep our guard up.
Whenever there’s an emotional charge between two people there’s an element of fear. The charge indicates that there’s a need for protection. Because what is fear? Fear is anticipation of pain. There’s an expectation that something is going to be painful or uncomfortable.
Living your life trying to avoid uncomfortable feelings and situations is like living in a box. It may seem safe not to challenge your own or anybody elses boundaries but it also means you are limiting yourself.
Without fear, who would you be? If you take away the fear you become the person you dream of being. You may admire or envy some qualities in other people and don’t realise you also have these qualities – you just don’t dare to step out of your box and live them.
Accepting fear also means becoming more honest with yourself. When interacting with people, you are able to look at yourself honestly. Who am I when I meet you? How have I created conflicts in the past and what is my responsibility in creating something healthy? What is my part?
The workshop is about transforming fear into excitement. What is this excitement all about?
A friend of mine said recently: ”I don’t need to watch TV. I can just look at myself and be entertained 24 hours a day.” It was partly meant as a joke, but I agree! I’m discovering that excitement is presence. Being present with who I am and what is happening inside me.
When I avoid, deny or judge what I’m feeling or thinking, I’m not present. When I run away from the present moment and don’t want to feel what I’m really experiencing I’m creating a conflict with myself. On the other hand, when I have the courage to stay present with what I’m experiencing it’s exciting.
This means that excitement can be a wide range of things. When excited I can be full of energy and joy, but I can also be seriously pissed off or in pain, depending on what I’m experiencing at that moment.
I always thought being present equals being calm and quiet. Your definition of presence is much more juicy and exciting!
Being present is exciting! I always used to say: ”The difference between fear and excitement is breathing” and yes, on some level that’s true. But what is the quality breathing brings in? It brings presence. Being present to whatever is there. ”Right now I feel uncomfortable” or ”I don’t know what to say” or ”Holy shit, this freaks me out”. I can even feel it physically in my stomach.
Transforming fear into excitement is not about denying that I’m afraid but being fully present with who I am.
When I’m present with what I feel energy flows in my body. I walk straight, I look straight, I breathe open and I feel energised. When I resist or fight what I feel I get tired. My conclusion is that fear drains energy, excitement gives energy, and presence is the switch.
What can I expect if I join this workshop?
You will get the chance to look at your own fear and how it affects you in your life. There is always a reason behind avoiding fear and choosing to run away from it. You will investigate why you avoid it. You will also touch the feeling of who you are when you’re not limiting yourself and holding yourself back.
On Sunday evening, I want you to be able to walk out of the group room with the understanding that there is no need to judge fear and also, you don’t need to buy it. Fear is a part of you but it’s not all of you. I will give you a tool that helps you turn your fear into something positive.
What kind of tools are we using in this workshop?
We will do communication exercises and also physical exercises including emotional expression and release through body and voice. We will do sharings that help you to integrate what you discover about yourself – and we will also have fun! The workshop fits everyone and no previous experience is required.