A photo by Volkan Olmez. unsplash.com/photos/wESKMSgZJDo

The thought of being alone has triggered some deep fears. For the first time in my life, I’m un-coupled. Aside from some desperate months as a teen and twenty-something, I’ve never been without a boyfriend, man or husband. Who am I rings in my ears as I sift through the emotions and put out the fires they’re starting in my gut.

Who am I without someone else to take care of me? To be there. To provide the safety net? Who am I without someone calling me theirs? Labeling me. Giving me an important role? Who am I without the sureness of a partner, the stability of a double income, the privilege of someone I can lean on?

I don’t fucking know right now.

The labels are what keep me taking appropriate action. Mom is the one that’s stuck for now, giving me ample purpose and saving me from going down in flames. If nobody’s here to be my safe foundation, well, I better remember that I am that for them. Okay, that feels better I guess.

Primal panic is the term I read in a book recently that most describes the visceral feeling I’ve had these months. The Ph.D who wrote that book seems to understand how I feel. That’s comforting; I’m not alone. But when you try to explain feelings of primal panic to those around you who’ve no idea what you’re talking about, it falls on deaf, albeit concerned, but deaf ears.

This feeling comes from a deeply seated, ingrained bias toward survival. It’s so fierce that unless you know what to do with it, it starts to burn a hole in your heart and wrench your gut in a way that suffocates you. It’s that bad. Or at least it’s been that way for me.

Then, there’s awareness – the one thing that if you possess enough of it, can save you.

When I took a look at the pain and decided there was no real way out, meaning I couldn’t walk around, push through, hurry it up or numb it in any particularly effective way, I stopped and started to surrender. Not because I gave up, although I was ready to, but because there was nothing left to do but get still, feel it all, and trust the process I’d been practicing for over twenty years was real and I’d survive.

And I did. And today I’m writing about it.

The layers of awareness seem to go with the layers of pain. You’re willing to go deeper, well good on you because you’ll eventually be rewarded with a level of awareness you didn’t realize was possible. It’s badass but it’s also calm. It’s fierce but it’s humble. It’s what carries you, and it’s what picks you up when you fall. It’s what promises you you’ll be okay when you think you’ll die from the pain.

Awareness is everything.

Healers talk about it so much we might start to dull it’s importance with our repetition. There’s a reason we talk about it so much. It’s the secret to your joy, health, success, healing, relationships, wealth and life. It’s the way, the Tao, the Do, the secret.

The idea of layers of awareness came to me as I realized what’s triggering me currently is bringing me to a new place, a different, much more excruciating place of pain. Deeper pain requires more discipline, deeper, more fierce awareness. It’s challenging me to take it all to the next level, but really, it’s the same damn thing – stay awake to the stuff you’re feeling, feel it all and don’t judge yourself. Pour love on it, sit and feel some more, and then move your ass toward something that lights you up, gives you purpose and ignites your desire.

The next layer will come. And you’ll need to do the same thing over again.

No matter what you feel, no matter how bad it is, no matter how different or new or more intense it seems, it’s the same thing – wrap your badass, loving awareness around it and know that’s what’ll save you.

This too shall pass is the thing everyone says. It’s true, but that one’s old and tired. We all know it’ll pass, but while we’re in it, while we’re sucked into the black hole and it feels like we’re dying, this too shall pass isn’t making it; we’re not awake enough to remember it’s going to pass. We’re being stabbed and strangled, choked and beaten…it’s great that it’s going to pass, but right now I need a fucking viking to show up and start wailing on this for me.

Yeah I actually just imagined the six foot something guy with his horn hat and shiny armor wailing on the pain for me with one of those clubs like what Shrek used. Nice. He has a long, red beard and blue eyes and there’s a kindness in his warriorness. But don’t mistake those kind eyes for a weak soul. This dude’s gonna win this battle.

And the win goes to…me. Because I’m the viking goddess that stood up in the face of my pain, allowed myself to feel the physical feelings churning in me and drop the mental baggage that gives them power. It’s me who uses the awareness I’ve practiced to shut down the thought train and just allow my body to process the feelings and emotions. It’s me who gives myself permission to use vulnerability as my weapon.

It’s me who finally remembers all the things I’m meant for, all the things I desire, all the ways my passion is aching to be expressed in the world, and all the reasons me and my dreams, goals and visions matter. It’s me who wins, when I stay awake.

The next layer of awareness is going to seem different, but it’s not. It’s just helping you remember, even more this time.

Laura Probert, MPT is a holistic physical therapist, published author, inspirational teacher, poet, and black belt in Tae Kwon Do. She’s serious about integrating mind, body and soul as a journey to passion and power and it’s her mission to show you how. You can find her writing featured in places like The Huffington Post, MindBodyGreen, Best Self Magazine, The Wellness Universe, Wild Sister Magazine, PersonalGrowth.com, Tiny Buddha and The Elephant Journal. Find her books and programs at www.BraveHealer.com and www.facebook.com/kickasswarriorgoddess