Years ago, the SOAR Course was an audio course on cassette tapes. When the SOAR Video Course was being put together, a few things from the audio course were left out. I got an email from someone who did the audio course who wrote,“One of the best lessons for me, was in one of your earlier tapes when you talked about “embracing the pig,” I know this is kind of odd, but this lesson has always resonated with me.”
I couldn’t remember the story that this client was referring to. I emailed her back and asked. It turns out it is the story called “Sir Gawain and the Loathsome Lady” which dates back to the 15th-century. On a journey, Sir Gawain met the most revolting woman he had ever seen. Her face had hairy moles, broken teeth, bloodshot eyes, matted greasy hair, a body disgusting beyond belief. She told Sir Gawain that she had the answer to a riddle that would save King Arthur’s life, but she would disclose the answer only if Sir Gawain would marry her.
Gawain replied, “If Arthur lives, you will be my bride.” The woman gave the answer, and King Arthur lived. Gawain, true to his word, married the woman. During the wedding feast, the bride belched, scratched, drooled, and cackled. Everyone pitied poor Gawain.
Going to the wedding chamber, Gawain dreaded being in the same room with, much less going to bed with, this hideous creature. But as Gawain took her into his arms, he found he was holding a beautiful young woman with silky hair, lithe body and sparkling eyes.
There is more to the story, but the point was, if we not only face what we dread, but truly embrace it, the experience is transformed. SOAR is based, in part, on the principle that if you experience flying just as it is, and feel whatever you feel without resistance, you will do a lot better than if you try to block the experience out, or pretend you are somewhere else.
The person emailing continued, “I can’t express the depth of my gratitude for your choice to help people like me. Over the years, I have listened to your first audiotapes, then the MP3s, then your course on DVD’s before I flew to South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana.”
“Just recently, I revisited the DVD’s before a trip to Denver, again before going to my son’s graduation in San Diego, and I have just returned from a trip to Saint John’s in the US Virgin Islands. I still have a kind of reactive fear, but I have tools to get myself back to the calmness of the conscious moment and address whatever situation arises.”
“I know everyone says this, but the terror for me was beyond description and I did everything within my power to avoid flying for years. For me the turning point came after I had children and I NEVER wanted them to grow up to be this fearful, NEVER!!!!!!!”
“I’m happy to report that my three children have flown around the world and we even have a world map where we have markers to all the places on this incredible planet where we have visited.”
“The other thing I want to say is this, the course and your help has had very deep healing effects on other areas of my life that don’t even involve flying. I can’t express my gratitude…thank you, thank you, thank you! I keep you in my prayers and I thank God that I found your assistance.”
I don’t know how I stumbled onto that story about Sir Gawain, but since the story helped at least one person so much, it must be worth repeating. The story does have a psychological basis. Psychologically, if something is inevitable, resisting it doesn’t help. On the other hand, when we embrace the inevitable, we begin to get used to it. When we get used to something, the amygdala – the part of the brain that releases stress hormones – stops releasing stress hormones about it.
In addition, the reticular activating system may be able to filter out a stimulus that is constantly present. It, however, is better able to do so if we stop trying to push the stimuli away. We are better off if we can just let it be there.