This is what I know: I don’t know anything.
I have nothing wise to say. I cannot come from a place of knowledge or experience as I muddle through these weird, outrageous and scary times. Yes…muddle. You may have noticed that I haven’t written my weekly blog for a good while. I rev up about something, decide I might write about that thing I’m all engaged with, then suddenly I detach and the idea or feeling I was so juiced up about…fades away.
I am living in the big I DON’T KNOW.
I marvel at the people who do seem to KNOW. People are writing inspirational things on social media each day with such conviction. How do THEY know? I am in awe. Sometimes I share the memes or quotes that move me, like I can hop on their back and ride across the river like the gingerbread man on the back of the wolf. Sometimes I share the funny ones too. Somehow it helps to laugh at myself and the human condition. Somehow laughter gives a certain perspective in the moment.
All I really have is my Observer Self. I watch things happen. I watch myself respond emotionally, being triggered by the news, or something someone does or says. Do I want to get hooked by it? Do I want to amuse my nervous system with some activation or rant? Maybe. Depends on the moment. Depends on what other distractions could stimulate or soothe me right then. I don’t want to fuel the trigger for sure, and I am also sure I can’t turn my back on it either or it will just go underground and bite me later. In fact, whatever it is will gain steam in the shadows.
Churchill’s quote, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” comes to mind. You do notice that this is also saying- be afraid of fear. We do see this as an oxymoron, right?
Something that really sets me off is the way fear is vilified these days. Fear will always arise (who are we kidding?) so why make it the enemy? Why make any thought or feeling that arises in our human field the enemy? Why not befriend it? Why not learn something from it?
Of course, we are afraid, on a very human wired through us kind of way. Saying “I am afraid,” outloud, at least once each day feels like such an honest, brave and intimate thing to allow myself to do. Just typing the words brought forth a big breath. A tear wells up in my eyes. I thank myself for letting myself acknowledge the truth of the moment.
I ask myself- “Fear, what have you come to tell me today? How can you help me be more intimate with myself, more compassionate with myself and others?” As I allow the tightness in my chest, resting my hand on my heart lovingly, the constriction softens. “I am here,” I say to that tender place. Another big breath follows. I ask the afraid place to tell me more. I want to listen kindly and lovingly. “What are you afraid of right now and what can I do to reassure you?”
If I stay in this non-edited intimacy long enough with myself, quietly, curiously and nonjudgmentally, some new thought or feeling arises to replace the fear. It feels like love, warm and spacious. The fear passes like a cloud. My breathing organically and naturally becomes calmer and deeper. Because I am aware that there is not a thing I can really do to change the feeling as it arises except be fully present with it, being especially loving to that fearful place, rocking it like I might do with a small child. I am that child and I am the adult rocking her all at once.
I am also keenly aware that I may not have any power over the circumstances that are triggering the fear, so the fear will arise again and I have the opportunity to meet it with loving presence yet again.
My koi pond inspired me as I sat on my bench counting the orange and white and black slippery beings. They told me-“Fishy, fishy, swim away. I will not get hooked today.” I decided this simple rhyme will help me, help my clients as something dangerous gets dangled in front of us. It does help…sometimes. And sometimes, I just get hooked. These are times to find the most generous part of myself, toward myself. “Oops. I got hooked again. Fishy, fishy you will just have to swim away… another day. It’s okay.”
I know there are lots of things To Do to distract from the hooks and the fears. We can visualize a safe place. We can tap tap tap places on our bodies to calm our nervous systems. We can breathe all kinds of ways. We can do yoga, and take walks and clean out drawers.
We can learn new recipes. We can be creative and make dolls or just touch up where there are paint chips on our walls. We can read novels and transport ourselves to other worlds.
We can dance and listen to music. Or learn to play music. We can turn our attention to others to give and receive support. We can make a list of everything we are grateful for. We can go through old pictures and remember the good ole days.
Lots to DO.
And if it feels good and beneficial and productive to do these things, well, why not? If for a little bit of time we feel empowered by these activities, resourced, and give ourselves a little respite to be oblivious of the craziness of the times, then hey, go for it. All these things are part of our being human, too. Let the endorphins amp up. Great!
And I will not fool myself. I will not be a Pollyanna. We are on a tipping point toward something really big and completely unknown. Something that certainly is unfolding perfectly as it must in the great scheme of things…and can still be very painful and full of loss.
And in this I DON’T KNOW TIME, I don’t want to miss the opportunity to engage with myself in deeper ways. I don’t want to be in denial or hide from myself. In my book, ACTING LESSONS FOR LIVING, I speak of the masks we wear and the secrets we keep from others and most importantly, from ourselves. Now is the time to set aside those masks. Now is the time to look underneath them with courage instead of avoidance. And with love and acceptance instead of rejection.
Now is the time to be gentle and allowing and intimate with my whole being. Now is the time to accept and love myself and others better than I ever have.
Fishy, fishy don’t swim away. Swim toward all the parts of me today.