It’s been a strange time for me these last three weeks. I’ve been grappling with an un-named, unidentified illness that has had me topsy-turvy every day. In last week’s entry I mentioned that my doc had done some testing with nothing conclusive reported. I was (and am) happy about that report, and yet my symptoms persist and at one point over the weekend become considerably worse, then improved dramatically, then returned somewhat, and on and on it goes. So, for now, until the next test on tomorrow, I continue to grapple with and manage my symptoms as well as possible. My husband, family and friends have been of tremendous support.
During this time, I’ve experienced some dramatic emotional ups, downs, and all arounds and have learned more about myself than I perhaps would like to know. One emotion that has shown itself in varying degrees is fear. Yes, the other “F” word. The unknown nature of this illness has stimulated my very active imagination and I’ve found myself in the proverbial abyss of worry and fearfulness that only such an active imagination can conger. I’ve gone from the depths of the range to the heights; from extreme terror to the height of relief, then back down into the depths until I now find myself somewhere in the middle, cautiously optimistic yet still in a place of not knowing what’s going on or how to fix it. Not very comfortable. A breeding ground for fear.
As one who teaches others to use the power of their thoughts to effectively make change and realize their dreams, right now I’m not a great example. I admit that I’m having a hell of a time harnessing my wayward thoughts for long periods since my symptoms are erratic – just as I begin to feel better, here it comes again. Fear, with its many faces, keeps making itself known to me and try as I may, it seems to have decided to hang out for a while, or at least until I have some substantial information about what is going on in my body. So back and forth I go, using the power of my mind when I can to envision balance and perfect health, vitality and return to my daily life’s activities all the while feeling the hot breath of fear down the back of my neck doing its best, and sometimes succeeding, to pull me back in.
I hear so much about the idea of resisting fear and keeping it at bay by simply keeping thoughts positive. This philosophy works. And yet it has its flaws. Yes, stepping into the places that scare us is an act of trust and even valor. And often our fears are unfounded and when we face them head on we usually discover there was nothing to fear after all. And frankly, that’s what I’m envisioning today – that my fears are unfounded and that whatever is happening in my body will be resolved with ease. But in this time of unknown and feeling pretty lousy, I have decided to embrace my fear and give it space. I have voiced my fears aloud to my husband, I have spoken to God, and I have given fear a wide berth. I’ve asked my higher energies to take over and guide me forth. I’ve invited the angels and the spirit guides, and John, Paul, George, and Ringo to help. Everyone is invited to hold the space for this healing. I’m allowing the back and forth to happen and when the tears come I let them. To be honest, I don’t really know what else to do but bring to bear all the lessons my years of study and wisdom-seeking have wrought. Included in those teachings is the idea of surrendering to what is and for now that is this place of unknowing, a place that is in equal measure fearful and fearless.
During a particularly difficult time during my mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s Disease a wise friend told me that humans can hold the extremes of great love and joy in the same moment as they hold great fear, grief and sadness. I remember being stunned by that reality because that was exactly what I was experiencing. In some ways that is the case now. While I am not in “great” fear, I am feeling apprehensive, and yet I have a powerful sense that all is well and I have nothing at all to fear. Within this “unknowing” I feel an even more powerful “knowing” that I am safe, protected, and loved beyond measure. I have tremendous confidence in my doctors and in my own ability to heal. And I have the most amazing support system anyone can imagine.
So, today I am in a place that scares me. In Pema Chodron’s book, “The Places That Scare You” she asks us to be gentle with ourselves as we come to terms with our vulnerability and our humanness. I am working on that and doing my best to be present in each of these wild and crazy moments. I humbly ask for your prayers and I offer mine to you for we are all only a breath away from such a place as we navigate this amazing adventure of life.
STRETCH: Being human means being vulnerable. Life is a great gift that allows us to experience a variety of emotions from one extreme to another. Make space for it all. It means you are alive.