Working with Fear: Chunking It Down

Working with Fear: Chunking It Down

Here is my second video related to learning something new (or helping someone or an animal learn something new) that’s a bit … SCARY.

Something that is a wee bit scary can be exciting to explore and learn. But if something to TOO scary, or there is TOO MUCH all at once – then learning STOPS. At that point, your body switches into survival mode, and “all circuits are busy” just stayin’ alive, as far as your body is concerned.

My horse knows this! She loves checking out something that is a bit new, and a bit novel. But if it is TOO MUCH, she just wants to get the heck outta there, and is not the least bit interested in “learning something”.

I am the same way. I like a bit of a thrill – but too much, and I feel my gut and brain and body shut down and the fun is over.

The Tellington TTouch® and Feldenkrais® Methods have some GREAT ways to WORK WITH FEAR, so that it does not freeze you up (or the person or animal you may be working with).

Here is one of them. In this video, I introduce the strategy of “chunking it down”. This means to step back a bit, and figure out some easier steps that can help build up to what you want to be able to do.

Chunking the action down, into smaller chunks that feel do-able and safe, and that can be successful.

Then, you build up the smaller chunks, and… voila! What previously felt and seemed like “too much” now becomes simply the next step in a series of very reasonable and successful other steps. Ahhhhhh yes – our bodies LIKE that kind of learning!!

This is VERY different from “just push through!!” Pushing through (or “de-sensitization”, or “close your eyes and hold your nose and just DO it”, or “oh stop being such a wussy!!”, etc.) might get you through something – but there is very little learning (other than – that was scary/ unpleasant and I don’t want to do that again!!).

Chunking it down FEELS different. It opens up space – for curiosity, and exploration, and even… fun. 🙂 These kinds of experiences your body will WANT to do again…

And… learning happens faster and easier, this way. And, the learning of what you WANT, settles in and sticks around. Cool, eh!

This works for me, as you will see here on this video.

It also works for animals. For example, when starting a horse under saddle in Tellington TTouch, we work like this. We use LOTS of small steps, that prepare the horse to work with a person, to understand what is being asked, and to feel comfortable with what is happening. The desired end result is that when someone finally sits on the horse, the situation is quiet and calm. No rodeo. Just a sense of “hey, this is pretty interesting and cool!” in both the horse, and the person. I LOVE THIS.

Any time you, or a person or animal you are working with, seems afraid or concerned with what is going on, and/or you or they are getting frustrated – try “chunking it down”.

Feel free to be creative – if one step you do doesn’t work, try something else! There is no one Right Way. This is kind of like “All roads lead to Rome” – and you get to design your own road, based on what makes sense in each moment.

It’s all about making the situation intriguing, and successful. Whatever creates that, is great!! Then build from there.

Check out this video. Then go check it out for yourself…

Happy exploring!!


About the Author:

Violet van Hees is a movement freedom specialist who works with people (and with horses) to release tightness and pain, and to transform body "stuckness" into something that you can work with. We then use what emerges to create new freedom and ease in your movement and in what you do, in ways that feel safe and reasonable - and that work - for you. Violet is a Feldenkrais® Practitioner, a Tellington TTouch® Equine Practitioner, and a BCRPA Trainer of Fitness Leaders. She works with a deep interest in and understanding of biomechanics, neuroplasticity, body response to trauma, energy work, and how we learn.

Leave A Comment