The fear driven life (Fear of Transformation)

transformation-butterfly

I needed, or wanted, or.. wanted and needed to write today, either, and, or I’m here, and lucky you!

I’ve been working through a lot of fear recently.

Fear that leaving my recent “occupation” to create my dream online and in the waking realm will be foolish. That I won’t be valuable outside of, well, the bedroom.

Fear that financially I should wait, or save up, or just suck it up (and ok, not entirely literally there) and sloooowly take one step at a time to get my new plan in motion.

Fear that if I don’t take steps on it now, it will fade away and be too late.

Fear that continuing down that other path would lead me to hate the world, or die of it, or both.

Fear that others will think this a silly idea of mine and won’t support it. (Though so far I’ve met amazing support)

Fear that I’m not taking care of others by taking care of myself.

I’ve been meditating, walking, talking (as my therapist can attest to, and my dear S.O.), thinking, pondering, letting go, waking up, moving on, and finally.. meeting myself in the place where I am truly terrified.

There is a crossroads within, in which several of me from the past are gathered, and they are afraid.

They are the me of my younger years, about 5-8 I’d say.

Afraid of speaking up, of making others uncomfortable with my truths.

Afraid of asking for more, never sure where food will come from or if the phone bill will be paid without my suffering.

Afraid because I feel unworthy.

Afraid that there may not even be a car, or a tent, to sleep in tomorrow.

Afraid that my stepfather will come back in our life, that she won’t be strong enough to say no.

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Though I’ve touched on it in other posts, I suppose the time has come within me, to say more.

When I was just a little girl (and actually I hear the song Que Sera start up in my head here.. oy), about 4 years old, and my mother married my stepfather, my life as a happy, cheery, upbeat child ended. Not only was he violent, and verbally abusive with a wicked alcohol problem, but somehow he found his way to know folks involved in child pornography and so this way, did I.

These are details I can’t go into, and perhaps I wouldn’t if I could, maybe, simply because I don’t recall much. I simply recall long car trips with him feeling so lost, so sad, wishing I could disappear or die. He’d tell my mom we were going to Disneyland, but we never made it that far.

I remember old warehouses, an abandoned artichoke factory I believe, dirty mattresses and cameras. And that, is about it.

My behavior changed, of course. I no longer loved to run around naked as a jay bird, happy with the sun on my skin. I hated to see photos of myself, particularly partially undressed (as most babies and toddlers are in pictures now and then), even a bathing suit was too much skin, even years later.. I destroyed every picture I could find like that. I stopped singing. I felt completely alone even surrounded by others.

During this time my mother was in a deep depression and my family was afraid (there’s that fear again) of speaking up and saying something that would upset her. She didn’t always find herself able to work, and so the income of my stepfather was all there was for a while, and some of that came from what I did I know.

But in this lack I was afraid.

Afraid of eating too much, of not being able to afford more, of not being worthy of more.

Afraid of only being worth someone elses pleasure, and not my own.

Afraid of his temper. (You couldn’t even wake him up.. my mother would prod him awake with a broom handle, they didn’t even sleep in the same bed)
Afraid of speaking up and making my family uncomfortable, or sad.

When I was 7 I started taking food from other kids lunch bags at school, my mother was baffled because she packed me a full lunch, but I was always hungry for more.

Eventually I went to see my own therapist, as I’d started to tell my mother I wished I could die.

After she finally left him around 8 years old, we were homeless for about a year. Occasionally we’d stay at a friends for a week or a month or so, but usually there were limits on how long we could stay. We often stayed at motels down by the beach, due to a voucher program at the time; funny how staying in one of the most beautiful places in the world could really be so dark and frightening.

My 9th birthday we were “camping”, because some friends had a tent and sleeping bags we could borrow. My friends didn’t know those particular details, but they showed up and we had a camping party.

I remember after my mother went to the food bank around this time, finding some exceptionally nice treat in the bag, and feeling like I had to eat it slowly, carefully, because I might not get it again, ever.

So much of this was created by my mothers own fears. Of being alone, of not being worthy, of not being good enough that someone like my stepfather, so bruised and battered, would change, or heal for her, of not being enough, of being successful on her own, of being deemed an unfit mother (I didn’t often go to the doctor, and was treated for many things at home).

And here I am, at 35, finding that my fear now? Is centered there.

Afraid that without giving my body away, I won’t be liked.

Afraid that I won’t be worthy of another income, of making it on my own, with my own business.

Afraid that asking for more, more money, more health, more food, more support, more guidance; is asking too much, and that I’m … selfish, and bad for even thinking of it.

Afraid to share my story, my stories, be they pleasant or otherwise, for fear of not saying it perfectly the way they want to hear it.

Afraid to share my dreams, should they be too grand, too bright, too filled with joy and life.

Afraid to stand on my own and be capable, powerful, loved. That the only way to survive is by the grace and gifts of others, not my own.

Yet here we sit, at this crossroads, my younger selves and I. I’m ready to move on. I’m ready to create a new world. After all, there is a new way to see this world and I can see it, live it, and breathe it; if only I can release the fear that doesn’t just slow me down, it holds me back, it drags me down under the water, so fast, and so fierce, so that I’m drowning with no way up.

I’ve been taking baby steps forward, beyond the fear. Though I feel it still, sometimes overwhelmingly so. I’ve run from it my whole life, hidden from it, treated it like the black sheep in the room and done whatever I had to do to keep my head above water, so that I didn’t have to face it.

So I sit with it, with them, and I allow that fear, their fears, to be acknowledged, to be loved, to be acceptable and worthy. There is nothing more I can do for them, but offer them all I am now, the knowledge, the love, the hope I have here, in this moment, that everything will be ok. That they can walk away from the fear and in to light.

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And I leave with that, and lead with this, one of my favorite writings of all time:

Sometimes I feel that my life is a series of trapeze swings. I’m either hanging on to a trapeze bar or swinging along or, for a few moments in my life, I’m hurtling across space in between trapeze bars. Most of the time, I spend my life hanging on for dear life to my trapeze-bar- of-the-moment. It carries me along a certain steady rate of swing and I have the feeling that I’m in control of my life. I know most of the right questions and even some of the right answers.

But once in a while, as I’m merrily (or not so merrily) swinging along, I look ahead of me into the distance, and what do I see? I see another trapeze bar swinging toward me. It’s empty, and I know, in that place in me that knows, that this new trapeze bar has my name on it. It is my next step, my growth, my aliveness coming to get me. In my heart- of-hearts, I know that for me to grow, I must release my grip on the present, well-know bar to move to the new one.

Each time it happens to me, I hope (no, I pray) that I won’t have to grab the new one. But in my knowing place, I know that I must totally release my grasp on my old bar, and for some moment in time, I must hurtle across space before I can grab onto the new bar. Each time I am filled with terror. It doesn’t matter that in all my previous hurtles across the void of unknowing, I have always made it. Each time I am afraid I will miss, that I will be crushed on unseen rocks in the bottomless chasm between the bars.

But I do it anyway.

Perhaps this is the essence of what the mystics call the faith experience. No guarantee, no net, no insurance policy, but you do it anyway because somehow, to keep hanging onto that old bar is no longer on the list of alternatives. And so for an eternity that can last a microsecond or a thousand lifetimes, I soar across the dark void of “the past is gone, the future is not yet here.”

Its called transition. I have come to believe that it is the only place that real change occurs. I mean real change, not the pseudo-change that only lasts until the next time my old buttons get punched.

I have noticed that, in our culture, this transition zone is looked upon as “nothing”, a no-place between places. Sure the old trapeze-bar was real, and that new coming towards me, I hope, that’s real, too.

But the void in between? That’s just a scary, confusing, disorienting “nowhere” that must be gotten through as fast and as unconsciously as possible.

What a waste! I have a sneaking suspicion that the transition zone is the only real thing, and the bars are illusions we dream up to avoid the void, where the real change, the real growth occurs for us. Whether or not my hunch is true, it remains that the transition zones in our lives are incredibly rich places. They should be honored, even savored. Yes, with all the pain and fear and feelings of being out-of-control that can (but necessarily) accompany transitions, they are still the most alive, most growth-filled, passionate, expansive moments in our lives.

And so, transformation of fear may have nothing to do with making fear go away, but rather with giving ourselves permission to “hang out” in the transition between the trapeze bars. Transforming our need to grab that new bar, any bar, is allowing ourselves to dwell in the only place where change really happens. It can be terrifying. It can be enlightening, in the true sense of the word.

Hurtling through the void, we just may learn how to fly.

Butterfly-Released

Off, off & Away again

It started simply enough, a couple of emails back and forth, a few phone calls to talk about the details, an offer to fly away in just a few days – to a place I’ve never been, with someone I’ve never met. Oh this life of mine.. Here I was craving a trip off, off and away, and here I go..

***Note to self, never take a split flight red-eye again without drugs at the ready, or sound cancelling headphones at least…

Breakfast Tacos

 

And that was how I found myself at the Austin airport, enjoying (ok maybe that’s too strong a word, partaking of…) a couple breakfast tacos at a time when I’d usually be deep in my dreams with hours to go before I wake. While the sounds of country music kept me entertained.

I mean, there’s nothing quite like eating eggs, microwaved bacon and a potato piece or two (with lots of salsa thank you kindly) at 5:30am listening to a classic country song:

She’s a good hearted woman
In love with a good timin’ man
She loves him in spite of his ways
That she don’t understand

Farewell Austin

She’s a good hearted woman
In love with a good timin’ man
And she loves him in spite of his wicked ways
That she don’t understand

Farewell Austin, perhaps one day I’ll know your weirdness further!!

And onward I flew, with less sleep than is smart – to a place I’d never considered going before, not for lack of beauty or pleasure found there but because up until this point, the list of places I want to visit (when I find the resources) has been rather small, and specific..

Last year was Tokyo, Japan, a city, and a country that was just so far out of reach financially I left it way on the sidelines. Yet when chance favored chance, I found myself there, and in love with .. everything.

Poolside

Here I am again… finding myself in a far off land, filled with amazing experiences to tease me and leave me longing for a more I never knew I’d crave.

The pool, so blue isn’t it?

But it doesn’t stop here – and amazingly enough, I never stuck more than a toe and a finger or two in this beautiful looking water (and oh so warm)..

Why, you may ask?

Well there was something else that drew my attention..

3 Blues

Oh, what’s that? Off just at the edge of this tempting pool?

It’s a little bit of an even more amazing blue, and green and … life filled colors.

As far as my eye could see.

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And here, I dove right in, I didn’t linger at the edge..

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But for just a second, to prove I was here at all, to myself and to you.

Feet in the Sand

The sand is like walking on a soft cloud here, the water, welcoming me in, and home for now.

I am mildly ashamed to admit I visited an old friend, a lover of sorts, that I had not consorted with in almost a year..

Happy Hour!

“Grown-ups love figures…

When you tell them you’ve made a new friend they never ask you any questions about essential matters.

They never say to you “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies? ”

Instead they demand “How old is he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make? ”

Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.”  

-Antoine de Saint-Exupery  (the quote on the Starbucks board here, as are all of the non-Waylon Jennings lyrics in this post)

That’s right, I’m in fantastical Playa Del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico – and I’m at Starbucks!! (Shhh)

Indulgence

The only place I found soy milk (they even offer lactose free milk here! Though I have as many issues with that as milk usually…) was offered with coffee in my short visit.

Never leave

I spent a very brief 48 hours here, but found many wonderful sights and a few friends…

Maya Portal

http://thetravelguru.org/448-tourist-attractions-unveiled-in-playa-del-carmen-to-enhance-its-beauty

Nibbler

Agouti (Funny Friend)

 

Sweetness

“She cast her fragrance and her radiance over me. I ought never to have run away from her…

I ought to have guessed all the affection that lay behind her poor little stratagems.

Flowers are so inconsistent! But I was too young to know how to love her…”  

My sweet canine friend, one of a few homeless dogs we ran in to here, this lovely lady was .. one of the sweetest critters I’ve been blessed to meet – and she ended up with my dinner in her belly (chicken, she wasn’t a fan of the baked potato) and most of my companions steak too.

 

Those eyes!

“People have forgotten this truth,” the fox said. “But you mustn’t forget it.

You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed.”

If they wouldn’t have halted me at the airport, this dog would have been at my side back home… perhaps if I go back, a bribe will suffice.. as it seems to work for nearly everything else here!

Sometimes I wonder at the moments in our lives, this one, meeting this sweet lady, is one of those that left me with a distinct awareness of something inside, shifting, awakening.

Rescue Me

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Fred (Ethel and the kin were hiding)

 

For my last few hours I spent my time at the spot I could never get enough of.

Floating, resting, in the presence of the holy divine. For though my trip was not entirely as calm and centered as I would plan, and hope, any trip to be (it started out VERY BUMPY), it was amazing, and I am grateful for the chance that I was given to visit.

“Well, I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.”  

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To see, to feel, to be felt…

“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.”  

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And as all beginnings do, this one had an eventual end.

Farewell Mexico

Farewell Carmen Del Playa – may I be graced with your company again someday.

“All men have stars, but they are not the same things for different people.

For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides.

For others they are no more than little lights in the sky.

For others, who are scholars, they are problems…

But all these stars are silent.

You-You alone will have stars as no one else has them…

In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing.

And so it will be as if all the stars will be laughing when you look at the sky at night..

You, only you, will have stars that can laugh!

And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me…

You will always be my friend.

You will want to laugh with me.

And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure…

It will be as if, in place of the stars, I had given you a great number of little bells that knew how to laugh”  

If I should never come back…

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I’m going somewhere soon, moving on, and away.

To a land with high reaching mountains, with caps of snow, even here in the middle of these hot, sunny days.

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Without a ticket in hand, or a destination in mind, I will be on my way.

To a beach, with deep blue seas, as far as the eyes can imagine they see.

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I’m going somewhere soon, far, far away.

I will stare at the departure board, and wait for a flicker, for a sign. A light in the darkness.

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Then I will be off, on my own, with just this bag on my back and these words in my head.

To a meadow, vast and infinite, in it’s green beauty. Where purple flowers dance with blackberries.

 

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Where the softest sigh comes floating in, just a breeze to show the way.

Taking me down, down a hidden path, to the waters edge.

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And away, away I will go.

Over the land I call home, up, up and beyond the borders laid down by men, and women, to keep people out, to keep some of us in.

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I will wait in line to board that plane, not knowing if the way I am going is forward, or back.

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Off, on my own, I will go on – up, up and away.

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Soon, goodbye shall be on my lips.

 

I’m going somewhere, where there will be no looking back, no wondering at the choices I’ve made, no doubting if I should ever come back.

 

 

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What am I doing here?

Sitting here, tonight, scanning through my emails, old photos on my external drive, checking texts I don’t want to reply to, flipping through profiles on dating sites I don’t know why I belong to, listening to music as I haven’t in weeks… loving that.

And I have no idea, what I’m doing here.

I’m calm, but testy. I’ve meditated, and pondering some yoga or qi gong.. something to do.

Because I don’t know what I’m doing here, now.

I was waiting on a friend to come over, but work happened and they can’t;
but I wasn’t.. I wasn’t really waiting too much because, well, I knew they’d be too busy.

There was no holding my breath here.

I managed dishes today, and yard work.
I even knocked out several pages and adsense set up with Google on one of my other sites.

Yet somehow I feel as though I didn’t do what I needed to today. Whatever that may be.

And I still, have no clue, what I’m doing here, now.

I want to hear from someone, not sure I know who though.

I’d love to head out and travel the world, without a ticket in hand, or a destination in mind.

I’m lost, without a sense of why, I’m depressed, without a sense of where, I left off…

Normally with all this space, and free time, I’d rejoice in the chance to do.. something.
To become something more, in that time, in that free space.

Yet here I sit, completely, and utterly, unsure as to what I’m doing, now,

or ever.

Saying what we Need to Say

Sometimes what we want to say, isn’t what we need to say. And often what we Need to say, we don’t.

Having been told/shown/taught most of my life, whether directly or indirectly, that speaking up is not something we should do; learning to speak up, to say what I need to say, or even want to say – has been a tremendous, continuous, lesson.

I’m sure my increasing difficulties with my thyroid and swallowing are related to 30-some years repressing the words.

And recently between friends, family, online or no, therapists, spouses and the synchronicity of the universe I have found that saying what we, what I, need to say is very important.

However! I have learned that there is a monumental, HUGE, difference between what I want to say and what I need to say – and that often times I let myself get caught up in between the two.

I want to tell you that you can be an insufferable ass. I need to tell you that I want to be treated better, or to be left alone.

I want to tell you that if you hit your kid again, or kick your dog one more time, so help me God I will come after you myself. I need to tell you that I understand your pain, but that you’re only causing it in another, amplifying it – that you are capable and worthy of so much more.

I want to tell you that all of those years of verbal arguments and abuse have left me feeling dead inside when I see you, or speak to you. I need to tell you that I love myself more than you now, and I’m moving on.

I want to tell you that your political leanings are misguided, short-sighted and narrow-minded. I need to tell you why I believe the way I do, that my view is different and that’s.. Ok.

I want to say that life is beautiful, full of hope, sunshine, daisies, warm puppy kisses and gentle laughter. I need to say that life is all of that, and sorrow, tears, anger, pain, depression, loneliness, and most of all Love.

But often what I need to say will lead to things I have suffered my whole life to avoid. It will leave others feeling the need to cry, yell, run away, hide..

I want to say something that will uplift, and bring hope. But what I need to say may be the dark night before the sunrise, and not the sunrise itself.

Sometimes what we need to say, what is festering beneath the surface of our lips, hiding behind the shadows of our souls, is not pretty, or friendly, it doesn’t feel loving or gracious. It is the truth of who we are, of what we do, the lives we lived, the dreams we’ve had, the memories we’ve never shared, the hopes that linger.

So how do we speak up? How do we communicate to others what we are, literally, dying to say?   Because I believe that what we hold in, what we hold on to and repress, kills us. Oh it may not end in death tonight, or tomorrow, or in a decade, but it may very slowly show up to stay. From the cancer that eats us from within to the sense of a life never lived, there is a death that occurs as we hide the words within.

Perhaps for some it will come as a Blog post. Or a graveside confession of years past. Maybe it will come in a therapy appointment, or a courtroom confession. You can try a letter, that you write but never send (or maybe you’re brave enough to send it!), and burn over a candle, or a bonfire.

Maybe you will find it in you to share it with others, living or otherwise, human or otherwise…

I hope that whatever I need to say, I say as I want to say – clear, honest, but loving and true. It is far too easy to say what I want to say, and not only address the wounds but tear them open or cause new ones.

I need to say how deeply I was hurt by your choices Mother, but that you are perfect, and that I’m grateful to be your daughter, without you I wouldn’t be here. I need to say I love you, but I’m not in love with you. I need to say I miss you, every day, and though I may not think of you every moment that passes, you are forever a part of me. I need to say that though you hate yourself, I’m thankful for you, for what you see as pain caused to me, to others, what you see as reasons to hate yourself, are what led me to find my own way out, to grow in to someone stronger, yet softer, than you. I need to tell you your driving skills are horrible, but I understand you hate driving.

I need to say how firmly I believe in God, the Divine, the all-encompassing light of the universe and all that is – I also believe in Buddha, Krishna, Allah, Diana, Jesus Christ, Hashem, Mother Theresa, Fairies, Ghosts and things that go bump in the night. All as expressions of the One, Spirit.

There are so many moments in life when what we need to say, when we need to speak up, never a sound, nor a word, is uttered.

Say what you need to say. And know you are never alone, in any of it, happy or sad, seemingly good or bad, dark or light – you are never alone – and what you need to Say, someone needs to hear you say it.

Veronica Yem

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