Wednesday, July 28, 2010

One September Morning

A twenty-four year old who doesn't know that she's highly sensitive yet can spend quite a few moments of her life wallowing in a dangerous cycle of anxiety and self-pity. What, you may wonder, has her so down in the dumps and feeling as though she's about to rip herself out of her skin at a moment's notice? Oh, believe is heavy stuff.

She's working two jobs, one from eight to five as an assistant in commercial real estate and then another from six to ten in an upscale department store selling shoes to ungrateful femme fatales. She then drives the forty-five minute commute back to her apartment where she crashes for a cat-nap and waits for the sounds of the neighbor taking a shower to wake her up at 5 am before her alarm does. She has a boyfriend who is so busy running his furniture business that at times it seems as though he doesn't really want to work on their relationship. He's all for getting busy, but then again if you're forty-something and you've got a twenty-something hottie at your side, why wouldn't you be?

There are many moments when she wonders why she's here, in Florida, and whether or not she should pack up and move back to Colorado. She doesn't really want to move back to the land of no opportunity, but she'd like a do-over and it seems like a good way to get one. She's miserable because no matter what the momentary details are, her idealistic picture of what should be doesn't match up with reality.

She has a college degree, so why should she have to work two jobs to make ends meet and pay back the debt she accumulated in order to get it? She knows what she really wants to do, but is ignoring it in pursuit of what seems more practical and attainable. She doesn't quite realize it yet, but you can't chase after something that doesn't fit you and expect to somehow catch it. Still, she wastes time getting frustrated and feeling like she's empty inside. She's also been brainwashed by years of bad daytime love stories, chick flicks and romance novels and doesn't understand why life doesn't afford you the opportunity to star in one.

Some of her co-workers pull her aside and tell her the man isn't worth it, they feel the same way about having to work two jobs, that she's still very young and has time on her side and that if packing up her stuff and moving back home is what she has to do, then so be it. They also discuss about how there's more to life than just working and there's a lot that's missed by simply meeting its obligations and not taking the time to dance to its music. She hears the words and they make sense, but she still feels what she feels. Alone. Cheated. Despair. Worry. Anger. Frustration.

Then the unthinkable happens. It's September 11th, 2001. She's busy opening up the office, sorting through e-mails, planning her tasks for the day and chatting with her boss about a mixture of personal stuff and what's on today's agenda. A vendor has come in for a meeting and while they're schmoozing, the maintenance staff comes in with the horrific news of what's going on in New York. Tenants are gathered outside, buzzing with what they're currently witnessing on their televisions. The corporate office in Atlanta calls and tells us to go No questions. Orlando receives numerous bomb threats. The government scans all the tags on I-4 as they're driving from helicopters above. Everyone is scared they might die. Her boss tells her she'll call if the office is still closed tomorrow, otherwise come in, and if they die today, at least they'll be at home. She calls her Mom before heading out the door to see if everything is ok back in Colorado. It is, for now. She has a plane ticket to fly back in November for Thanksgiving that is already paid for. She trembles into the phone that she doesn't think she'll be able to come now. Mom says ok, let’s wait and see and asks again if her daughter is ok.

On the way home she listens to the radio and calls the boyfriend to make sure he and the kids are ok. They are. She sighs in relief, but is still terrified. She hopes she makes it home ok. She does. The t.v. she's had since she was 19 blew out over Labor Day and she doesn't have the money to get a new one, so she turns on the radio, leaving it on all night. The skies are quiet for days. People are actually courteous on the roads and no one seems to be in a hurry anymore. A tropical storm blows through, adding to the insult, shock and despair that everyone is feeling.

In an instant her problems no longer exist. They are frivolous. Her cycle of self-pity and anxiety seems so insignificant and shameful. People lost their lives; she still has hers. What seemed so important before gets momentarily erased from her list. She still has a chance to make a difference, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. She still has a chance to write another chapter, another sequel, another set of scenes. She knows the pain of loss well, but can't imagine why so many have to experience it so suddenly now.

She realizes that she has no reason to be unhappy. She wrote this set of scenes and this montage that she finds so unfulfilling. If she wants something different, she'll just have to get busy writing herself a new one.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Navigating Yourself on Life's Roads

Life can be a tricky existence most of the time. It's something we're not given a map or a GPS for. Often, we just happen to discover its roads and decide to take one that will lead us into somewhere and something we can't quite see yet. It would be nice if we somehow had a blueprint already drawn out for us, revealing where each road starts and ends and how they all interconnect to form a method of navigation. Nice and easy, yes. Fun, adventurous and spiritually beneficial, no.

Two months ago I decided to drive myself around a city I hadn't visited in thirteen years and quite frankly, had never had the personal experience of driving in. Prior to my little adventure, I had let my parents do it. I was either too young for a license or under 25, which meant that I was too much of a liability in a city with some of the country's worst drivers. I even declined the rental car company's offer of a GPS system because I thought $16 dollars a day was a little steep, even for a girl with too much money on her hands. Besides, I had to pay the hotel $22 a day for valet and every city parking garage known to man. Not to mention, I was a little cocky. I figured if I had navigated myself through Florida's roads, traffic and crazy out of their mind drivers, I could handle this-even with nothing but a cheap, obscure rental car map.

That over-confidence, wherever it came from, turned out to be right. Yes, I got myself out of LAX's compound to the hotel, survived the 110, I-5, PCH, the 105, a bunch of side streets in Culver City, downtown Los Angeles, a scary round-a-bout in Long Beach, an even scarier Century Blvd, and most of all the 405. Now, if a "tourist" can navigate herself off a freeway closure due to some crazy bank robbers, through the backroads of Long Beach and back onto the 110 to the hotel, I'd say that's pretty damn good. Especially with nothing but that obscure rental car map. Did I use it to figure out how to get to all my destinations that week? Hell no, we have MapQuest to thank for that, but I carried it with me as a back-up. Just in case crazy bank robbers decided to try to outrun the police on the San Diego Freeway the day I had to be in Irvine. A girl can never be too unprepared.

So, the entire time I'm driving this huge SoCal conglomerate of roads, observing the "courtesy" of my fellow drivers and some of the "interesting" scenery, I'm thinking to myself, piece of cake. Why do people even complain about this? This isn't anything I haven't seen or dealt with before, right? Sometimes intuition gives us that "full-speed ahead" cockiness for a reason. Life's roads have already prepared us for the next one we're about to find ourselves on.

Those intangible roads we're presented with, the ones we can't really see anywhere but in our imaginations, force us to choose. At times it can be scary to pick one over the other. Sometimes we're in the midst of traveling on one and wonder why we feel so lost, alone, unprepared, ridden with anxiety and helpless. Some of us find ourselves on one, sooner or later, that makes us feel exhilarated, on top of the world and ready to pinch ourselves until it abruptly comes to an end and we have no choice but to go down a narrower, unattractive path.

The funny thing about life's unseen roads is that wrong turns are sometimes the only way you can get to your destination. No matter what path you choose, how many types of roads you find yourself on or how many you have to get on and off to reach your destiny, the end result is the same-you reach it. There are just some of us who have to learn our spiritual lessons more than once in order to finally "get it." Stubbornness can be a great asset, but I speculate that the "other side" likes to have a little more fun with those of us who are. Regardless, we learn what we came here for.

We shouldn't let fear stop us from choosing a certain path or wonder why we're on one that suddenly seems dark and uncertain. If we take the time to reflect, we'll realize that they're all helpful lessons and preparation for what we'll need. They're all connected-a sort of chaotic circle that doesn't really end in a pinpointed destination, until the day that we choose to stop traveling.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Believing in Your Perspective

On Tuesday I found myself having to sit through what was supposed to be a five hour training class. "Solution Selling" was the title of choice that my organization came up with. Thankfully, it only lasted about three and a half hours and they fed us food from Jason's Deli. They forgot to consider the only vegetarian in the room, but I made do like I have for years by pulling the cold cuts off the bread. Two Diet Pepsi's (no Coke products allowed), five dill pickles, three makeshift "mini-sandwiches" consisting of rye bread, really cheap mustard, lettuce and tomato, along with a few cherry date oatmeal cookies thrown in and I was out of there. There's nothing like having to rearrange your sales calls for the week and start at the ungodly hour of 3:30 am to accommodate the schedule of "The Powers That Be."

I found this training session to be amusing on a variety of levels and not just because I was being my typical smart-ass self in what I call the "naughty corner" of the room. I'm beginning to think that my organization has either put an HSP in charge somewhere or is consulting with one. The best part is that whoever this is, they're actually listening to them. Or maybe they're beginning to realize that the customer is actually what drives the business, not the power of the business itself. But then again, when you're number one and there's very little competition, you tend to create and buy into the illusion that you'll always be able to "have it your way."

Funny how things suddenly change when competition comes around and those "customers" you never treated as people have viable alternatives. Funny how I brought up the exact same point to my former boss, "Doublemint Twin #1" a long time ago and was basically told in a not so nice way that my perspective was invalid. It's just not good business sense to "force yourself" on your accounts, telling them this is the way it has to be because that's what you want. Mmmm, wouldn't it make sense to actually cultivate a relationship by finding out what their needs are and attempt to meet them? Isn't that the definition of "marketing" in the first place? Meeting needs profitably? Finding out what the market needs and then providing it? No, it doesn't mean being a doormat for them to walk all over, but you've got to find out where your needs/service/product and theirs meets.

Regardless, when it came time to speak up about what we "newbies" with less than five years of service thought about the "new" process, I stated openly what no one else would. I simply stated that this process and perspective was the one that I was used to from the other companies I've worked for. I said I was happy to see this process being introduced because I had been uncomfortable using the "old" approach. Yep, I just tell it like it is anymore. They need to hear it, even if they choose not to listen. Besides, you can't change something you keep hidden or sweep under the rug.

I'm glad that my organization is making these changes, even if it's for the wrong reasons of wanting to drive the competition out of business and reclaim their coercive market power. I couldn't help but nod my head in agreement and smile at some of the highlights of this training. It felt good to finally hear that perspective I had mentioned so long ago be validated. It also felt good to have them admit what they didn't want to before-that our sales approach was to force ourselves on our customers, not consider their needs and just blaze ahead with our own.

I had to really focus myself from getting brainwashed by this "new direction," so I wrote a set of words on the back of a sheet of paper so I could remind myself not to get sidetracked. They're a set of words I formulated myself and have had reflected back to me a few times. They're a set of words I kept hearing in my head two months ago and that I repeat to myself often throughout the day. My organization's "new direction" doesn't change things. For starters, who knows how long it will last? Furthermore, I still need to follow my heart and work towards what I really want.

Just as my company kept its truth hidden for years, I have as well. Letting it surface every now and then doesn't count. I have to be committed and stay strong, no matter what. I have to acknowledge what's not working in order to transform it into something that will. I have to keep going within in order to discover what I've been ignoring. The other night, my higher self reminded me with a song that I used to hear several times a day, but had forgotten. Within the ending lyrics was the message I needed-"have you been half asleep and have you heard voices? I've heard them calling my name. I've heard it too many times to ignore it, it's something that I'm supposed to be."

Not too unlike those words I wrote myself-reinvention is the process of visiting who you are so that you may become who you should be.

Maybe it's time I finally started acting on what I've heard. That's the only way to demonstrate belief.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Let's Roll!

I have a little saying I repeat to myself each morning before I head out into my market. In fact, I have a little tradition that involves cranking up a bluesy, semi-Indie or rockin' pop tune. I do this in part because I'm not a morning person and it's a way to get my senses moving. One of the other reasons I do it is just to be different and somewhat annoying. I work for a pretty uptight, vanilla corporate culture and I get a rise out of seeing what kind of shockwaves I can send through their robotic-like systems. There's nothing like hearing Joss Stone blare out "don't tell me how to think or feel" or some Chicago Blues band squeal "she's been gone so long, 'bout to drive her Daddy wild" across a parking lot at 5:30 in the morning.

The way I look at it is even if you don't like your job, what your organization stands for or see yourself becoming a company girl, you might as well have fun while you're doing it. Now, it's no secret that I loathe my job. It's pretty monotonous. I mean, how much fun and meaning is there in pushing chips? Not a whole lot. Even for a non-sensitive, it's kind of like a nightmare. Just ask anyone who has worked for our organization for a few weeks. I've come up with a new "welcome greeting" I've decided would be the perfect opening line on a new hire's first day of training. Remember what Martin Lawrence's character says in "Nothing to Lose" when the white guy gets into his car? Well for those of you who haven't seen the flick, it goes something like this...."Welcome to hell, B!"

Perfect....definitely perfect.

The funny thing about finding yourself in situations like these is that it can do one of two things. You either find yourself wallowing further into a depressive spiral over how your situation absolutely stinks or it tends to light a fire underneath your rear end to change it. I've decided on the latter, it's much more productive.

So, while I'm driving down I-25 and Boulder County's roads I take the time to admire the sunrise, sing and even dance a little to my cd's, smile at all the California tags that always seem to appear (sometimes six in a row), and think about what stories the characters of "All My Salty Snacks" might possibly have to tell me today. Last Thursday's episode was quite the shocker that wouldn't end, but that's another blog entirely.

I don't focus on the numbers anymore, not that I ever did. I go out there with the intent of making the most of the moments I have left of this gig. It's been quite the adventure, for sure, but I think I've finally gotten to a place where I've let go of all the rigid expectations I had of myself going into this. For the first time, I'm truly enjoying myself because I've let go of the rules and released myself of pretending to be something that I can't. I find such enjoyment in being able to be entertaining with my customers, as if we were at a dinner party rather than standing in a retail establishment. They call me "trouble," "ornery," "babe," "Chip Chick (C.C. for short)," and a few other things. Being able to brighten someone else's face into a smile isn't something I've had the joy of doing in my role with this company because it didn't seem to be part of the culture. It wasn't until I decided to rewrite the rules that I realized how much I've missed being able to do that. It feels good. It feels right. And, no, I'm not going to stop.

In the background I've got my eyes focused on the hazy horizon I've created for myself. Eleven more weeks and the MBA program will be finished. A few more pages and the writing portfolio will be ready for editing. Squeezing in the work towards MFA/MPW submission materials hasn't been easy, but if you want something, you'll do the work to get yourself there. It won't be until the end of year until the icky anticipation game begins, but I'm looking forward to the possibilities that it might bring.

You've got to take chances in life, sometimes big, "I just got a wild hair" ones in order to get the results you've envisioned. You've got to take each moment, breathe it in, live it, capture its goodness and then let it move on to its next destination. Whether good or bad, everything will eventually pass. Just like that saying I repeat to myself each morning as I pull out a protein bar and a light mocha frappuccino.....

"Let's roll, girl!"

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Releasing the Darkness

The summer before I turned 16 I took a part-time job at a woman's shelter. It was actually the same shelter where my mother had worked for awhile as a Case Manager after she obtained her Bachelors. Part of my job duties entailed assisting with the office work and the other part involved interacting with the mothers and their children. They hired me partly because of my mother's connection and partly because my own early life experiences were parallel to those of the residents. 1992 sometimes feels like a million miles away and at other times it feels close enough to touch, as though its events were still unfolding.

The experience I had that summer crossed my mind this week, reminding me that you can always transform life's horrific experiences into something that will make a huge difference to someone else. The experience I had there was one of those experiences that ends up having the simple unspoken power of transformation for both the receiving and giving ends. An experience containing that little bit of transformation magic that often blurs the lines between those two.

I was pretty lucky to have my first "real" job, sans all the babysitting gigs, turn into such a rich experience. Of course, what does a moody, precocious 15 year old know, right? She thinks it's just a way to pass the empty summer evenings, finally get her mother off her back about learning "responsibility," and earn enough money to pay for the insurance on the car she'll soon be driving. Back then "Greality," as most Coloradoans affectionately call my hometown, was even more of the sleepy dot on the map than it is now. Trust me, not much has changed, despite the fact that we now have our own Best Buy and Chuck E. Cheese. Anyhow, that was the summer the sugar beet plant was still in operation and you could smell its aroma in the air against the musky twilight as you approached the industrial sector along Highway 85 where the shelter was located.

That shelter was only a temporary solution to the danger these women and their children were trying to escape. It was a realm of protection that only let in those who were supposed to be there and questioned everyone else from behind bolts, peepholes and intercoms. All of those children became beacons during those three months, running to the door to greet me each time I would arrive for my "shift." We played, laughed, giggled, cooked, watched movies, ate too much candy, read to each other and put on the classic stuffed animals’ skits. It was a way to get their minds off the emptiness and uncertainty that existed where only innocence should. A realm of shadows I knew too well, but tried to pretend as though it didn't exist inside me.

There was one girl, in particular, whose name I should remember, but I can't. Long, straight blonde hair with blue hazel eyes. We somehow instantly bonded that first night. I was told to "go play with the kids" by my supervisor, an older woman with hair as fiery red as her spirit. A sort of down to earth version of Tammy Faye, if there is such a thing. I thought, "ok." “Me, go play with the kids?” I was scared. I wasn't sure what to do, what they would be like or what they would want from me. It didn't take me long to realize that all they really wanted was to feel like someone loved them.

That night the blonde girl got angry at another one of the kids while we were trying to all play together. She threw a fit, even running out of the room and up the stairs so she could sulk in true dramatic fashion. I think somewhere inside there was a level of recognition between my fifteen year old self and this young girl. She wasn't really angry with the boy she had yelled at. She was angry because her Daddy wasn't there, her life had been turned upside down, she couldn't know whom to trust and she felt abandoned and discarded as though her existence didn't matter. So, I put that boy in charge of the others while I went up the stairs. I found her sitting on one of the steps. I sat down next to her and tried to tell her a piece of advice I wish I had been able to tell myself at that age.

I remembered what it was like to be that angry. So angry you couldn't speak or look at anyone. So angry you would run up to your room, put on your pajamas to make yourself feel better and just sit in silence, hoping that somehow if you didn't speak about it, nothing that just happened would be true. Somehow what I said to that girl made her nod in agreement, come back down from the stairs and rejoin the others as though she only had the intent of enjoying what carefree fun there might be left to capture.

She was my little shadow that summer, always at my side, wanting to sit on my lap and talk about whatever she wanted to say. I hope that wherever and whomever she is now, that she still remembers those months as something special. I hope that I was as helpful to her as she and all the other children were to me. I think we showed each other that we were lovable, that we mattered to someone somewhere in the world and that life could be good even when it was shelled in darkness.

Reflecting back on those three months of 1992, I realize that the Universe always places us where we're supposed to be. We may think at the time that it's only for our benefit, for our lesson or for our growth. We don't have to reflect for too long to get that it's for a lot more than just that. In reality, it is for someone else's too.

Within our own night's sky there exists a multitude of stars for those who choose to stop and gaze. We just have to remember to not let their lights flicker away or forget that we aren't really that darkness. It is something that we can release, if we so choose, in order to focus on the beauty of the good that makes up who we really are.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Creating an Illusion

The other night I came across an old interview with two actors from a show I used to watch. I wondered if I still had it captured somewhere on a reel of tape and decided to find out. Once in awhile I like to pull out my stored away "time capsules" just to see what the heck's on them. It can be amusing to revisit what your teenage self thought was so earth-shattering at the time. It can also bring about a series of eye-opening moments of realization when the light bulb suddenly turns on behind your "now that I'm really an adult" lens.

Acting is an interesting process that creates a very thin illusion of who is the character and who is the person interpreting that fictional being. Some think that their audience can't differentiate between the two when they're watching the finished product on screen. I'd have to agree somewhat. A lot can't. They see the character, even when they might see or read an interview, see the actor in person or see their performance in a different creative piece. Especially those crazed daytime fans who insist on always referring to the actors by their characters' names, even when they're talking about the person. It annoys me so I always correct them and they give me a strange bewildered look from their eyes as if I'm from another planet. I'm one of the few who watched the credits roll, even at thirteen. I was always interested in what went on behind the scenes and into creating the finished product.

Sometimes I see comments made by others on YouTube message boards about how you can't really tell what an actor would be like in person or that it's hard to tell. It makes me smile because I think to myself, "well sure you can. It's not that hard." All you really have to do is observe how they interpret their character(s). One of the blessings of sensitivity, insight or intuition, I suppose. Although, I still think that it takes pieces of reality to create a successful illusion. The illusion just uses them as a springboard to seemingly come to life.

I suppose if you've never done it, you don't realize that playing someone else (ironically) gives you the freedom to expose hidden portions of your own being. Perhaps hidden portions that you weren't fully aware of until you explored what someone else might do in a given situation. It's the same way with writing. You get inspired by pieces of reality and incorporate pieces of your own life into your creation. That's what makes a relatable character, performance or storyline. You have to reflect humanity; life.

Reflecting what's real doesn't involve sugar coating or a certain technique you can study from a book. It doesn't involve having the intent of showing someone else how to do something. The only thing it requires is listening to what you feel. Exploring what you feel and being open to where it might take you is the "big secret" to being able to create an illusion that'll resonate with somebody. Life certainly isn't linear, a garden made up of only flowers or a story that we're certain we know the ending to. Obstacles, darkness, despair and every possible "evil force" is what makes living possible. "A sign of life," as one insightful songwriter states, is when "you fight for your last breath."

Perhaps it is those who have known that fight well, sometimes repeatedly, that make the most believable creators. Their intensity, their depth, and willingness to make themselves vulnerable, allows us to experience our own realities within the reflection of theirs.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Loss, Shadows and What Remains-Continued

It's perfectly natural to go about our routine existence without fully realizing what and who is important to us. We don't even truly realize the full importance and meaning of our own existence until it is threatened. In fact, sometimes it seems that those that deserve it the least continue to face the highest walls and the worst amount of suffering. Still, the irony is that when it's time to tell your story, there always seems to be a lot of somebody elses' out there that had it a hell of a lot worse.

When my father learned he had lung cancer, he poured most of his energy into fighting long and hard enough to be able to say good-bye. He wanted to see all of his kids through one more birthday. He almost made it. He got about two weeks past mine before his body could no longer keep up with his spirit. We found the unsent card for my brother in his bedroom closet. December was a little too long to wait. It was time. I kept his picture at my desk at work the entire time he was sick as a reminder. I kept it afterwards, too. It didn't seem right to take it down. Sometimes I take out that last birthday card he sent me and let the tears fall as I read it. Other times I smile at his stubbornness and sense of humor. He still called me "princess," even in the midst of death. That was one thing he never forgot.

Despite having a grave and scary illness, he still died peacefully in his sleep, the way it should've been. I still think about how perhaps if I had listened to my premonition, I could've saved him. I could've warned him to go to the doctor earlier. They might have found the mass earlier. They might've been able to do something. But, he was already 86. He'd already lived his life. "A good life," he told me several times. A part of him knew his current existence was about to end. I still keep my portion of his ashes in the blue stone heart that sits between a set of candles that I light every now and then. Once in awhile he still slams the doors shut in my mother's house when there's no sign of wind or even a breeze. I think it's his way of saying "I'm still here."

I've been playing the "loss" game since I was four years old. You'd think it would get easier or that I'd have it down pat. There are the stages, of course: denial, bargaining, anger, sadness and acceptance. Sometimes I skip a few, other times I go through all of them. It doesn't matter how many times you do it, it's different each time. Each time it's just as hard, sometimes harder because you're tired of facing the same reality. Loss and letting go are part of physical existence. Life only lets us play pretend for so long. The easy part is that it's someone else who is leaving. Even though it hurts, you're almost certain you'll still be around as you know yourself. You're almost certain that someday, somehow, you'll get through this.

When it's your own existence that's threatened, I suppose that's a tougher game to play. Fear and panic can overtake your thoughts because you're unsure of what happens after physical existence and because you're not ready to go just yet. You worry about what'll happen to those you love and all the things you consume yourself with taking care of in this realm. Things and people you really don't control anyhow, but life gives you the illusion that you do.

During my early teenage years, I overhead my mom talking about potential cancer her doctor had detected. She must've been only in her 30's back then and I wasn't supposed to hear the conversation. I was so frightened because I wasn't near ready to lose her. I shook; I trembled; my heart and mind raced out of control; I cried. But most of all, I prayed like hell. I pleaded. I played the game of spiritual bargaining. I placed all my energy in the only thing I had-hope. Hope that "God" or the "Universe" would give her a "pass." I got the answer before she got hers. I knew she was going to be ok. The spot, the "forming mass" they thought they saw wasn't there the next time. Gone, vanished; as though it had never existed. I knew then that no matter what you may choose to believe, a little something called "prayer" seemed to work.

Sometimes it doesn't give us the exact answer we hoped for. Sometimes it tells us that it's someone's destiny to exchange their current physical existence for their spiritual one. Other times it has the power to change the current course of cause and effect. And it's always a way for the spiritual realm to comfort us with the answers we were searching for.

One thing is for certain though-whether or not you're able to catch that "something" you're so desperately chasing after doesn't matter. Eventually the wind finds a way to either bring it back when you're not looking or it brings you something that on the surface only appears to be new.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

How Fear Can Give Us a Spiritual Nudge

There are times when I still feel a faint sharp pain on top of my head. It's in the exact spot where the load bar struck me about seven months ago. I usually feel it when I think about the possibility of not following through with my plans to release the life I know now in order to perhaps gain a buried vision. As if I needed another reminder of one of the more fear inducing moments of my life.

I receive the reminder of that dark winter morning because I do need it. The morning that a part of me knew was going to happen. The part that doesn't know the exact details yet and that the other half so easily wishes to discount. I was pulling into a gas station. A car swerved in front of me. I slammed on the brakes, letting it go past and then proceeded to the gas pump. I felt the blow to my head and thought, "I just got hit, oh well." It wasn't long before I knew that it was going to be a little more than just "oh well." The cool-warm sticky flow couldn't be denied even though I tried to. "Am I bleeding?," I thought as my mind raced. I reached up to my neck, then glanced at my hand and saw in an instant that it was more than what I was prepared to handle. My stubbornness told me that I could actually go on and go about my day as though nothing had happened. All I needed was a little clean-up.

My sense of fear said otherwise. It said "stop." Go get help. Even though you hate doctors, you've got to go. So I went back, got some help and even walked into the Poudre Valley Emergency Room looking like I'd just stepped out of a murder scene from a horror flick. There's a reason I don't watch horror flicks. I tremble at the sight of blood. Just ask all the nurses who always have to ask "are you ok?" when they prick or prod me.

Like all the other times I've been hurt or have had to go to a doctor's office, I was visibly shaking and randomly somewhat incoherent. I was worried that the bleeding wouldn't stop, how I should've probably rechecked my HIV negative status months ago, what the doctors might have to do to me, the questions they might ask, if I was going to have to pay for this, how I looked, what people would think of me, and if they were going to have to shave my head to put in the stitches. A girl with an inner priss doesn't like to have her hair messed with.

Fear can be a good thing at times. It can motivate us to step outside of our comfort zones. It can give us the signal that we're not quite ready because we have more work to do. Fear can warn us that something or someone is not the best choice. At times it can show us that we need to let go in order to realize that vision we have buried.

Fear inducing moments, like that Friday mid-December morning, wake us up. We weren't listening to our inner soul, so the Universe gives us no option but to start. Their reminders seep back in when we begin to stray from what that inner soul really wants. It's a way of saying remember. Stop. Listen. No, you can't go down that path again. You can't continue in that direction because it's not going to fulfill you.

Fear can be a reminder that the new direction you've decided on is going to have to be taken, no matter what. There's no turning back. There's no settling for less. There's no such thing as no more follow-through. Because no matter how many bends you may decide to turn instead, you'll always end up back in the same place-wanting your vision.

Until that vision becomes more than a chalked-out painting that you sometimes jump into, but then find that the rain has washed away into an unrecognizable smudge whenever you stop believing in its possibility.