It has been said that there are two basic emotions: love and fear. Interesting, right? Not “hate” but fear.
“Love” and all its offshoots give us a groovy-good feeling of connection. Separation from that can be described as a hole, an emptiness, or, at its worst-- like when the Dementors get on the Hogwarts express… (get chocolate, Stat!).
Following the thread of the feeling of separateness, teasing through the layers of emotion, unraveling the stickiness of the narrative, tiptoeing around the landmines of anger, denial and the inevitable physical pain that comes when we don’t process the stuff… we find a little gem. That gem is like the DNA sequence of fear.
Mining for the gems is a bit of what we do in the homeopathic process… and it’s a lot of what happens in a meditation practice.
So what about when we find a gem or two?
Occasionally a homeopathic remedy does that miracle thing where the delusion is handily removed and we see reality instead of the movie The Crazies Who Live In Our Subconscious keep playing for us. But more often than not, our Western minds need to be re-worked to let go of the junk we’ve piled in the attic that is our mind.
I’ve written a lot about fear here (check out this post--which links to another--for further perspectives) as it’s a constant in life. And I am forever working in my own life to overcome the perceived obstacles that can keep me at arms length from experiencing joy.
For example, fear is a glutton for the worry of a single, self-employed mother of teenagers. And my personal demons are like junkies in line at the methadone clinic… clean, but still susceptible to temptation.
My latest round had a lot to do with self-sufficiency and a certain level of learned incompetence in the realm of home improvement.
Projects that required heavy lifting, (including a tipped filing cabinet and a box spring blocking the hallway) conspired with piles of un-hung art, and bare windows (that required me to army-crawl from the bathroom to my bedroom if not fully dressed) could bring me to my knees, literally, without warning.
These projects became a metaphor for the heavy lifting I was facing in life.
So I started where I always do… I meditated. Then I got this in my weekly email from buddhist monk Pema Chodron:
HOW TO DEFEAT FEAR
Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave instructions for the battle.
The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?”
Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.”
Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?”
Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.”
In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear.
But the heroin dealer was offering a buy-one-get-one-free to my demons, and I was still crawling on all-fours to and from the shower.
Enter Helen Reddy and The Lady Drill.
Back in 1992 I moved from NYC to rural Vermont. I lived in a house that was only heated by wood… I schlepped, shoveled and hammered. I even learned to make balls of shaved pine doused with kerosene to get my fire burning quicker (boom!). I’ve camped alone. I’m certified in wilderness first aid. I ran a marathon for god’s sake. What was my problem?
Tired of hearing myself complain, I went to the tool corral at Lowes and bought a drill--the one with the picture of the woman on the box seemed like my best bet. I learned about drill bits and masonry anchors, got a new hammer… and reached DIY nirvana.
Taking action is an amazing drug. Facing fear, but not doing what it says, is absolutely intoxicating.
So on this Sunday morning, I am positively beaming after successfully hanging my living room curtains (three windows wide—needed the extra long rod, and FOUR drapery panels!), five coat hooks, and countless pieces of gorgeous artwork.
While I have not been streaking around the place (yet), I will admit to playing the Helen Reddy song quite a few times.
Here me roar!!
What are you afraid of? What are the Crazies telling you that you can not do? What can you do instead of listening to what fear tells you?
What do you need to do in order to roar?
Thoughts for a Sunday morning. Enjoy...