I don’t consider myself a generally fearful or anxious person, but I’m just going to list what lurks in the fear section of my brain, because the only way to reveal the monster in the closet is to turn on the light.
THINGS I AM AFRAID OF, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER:
1. Grace not having me.
2. Me not having Grace.
3. Having to go back to work in a cubicle someday.
4. Dead animals.
5. Many, many aspects of romantic love: having it, losing it, not wanting it, wanting it.
6. Dreams about feral kittens.
I recently had a discussion with the wonderful Charisse Landise, a clairvoyant healer, about fear. The understanding I came away with is that there are basically two kinds of fear: Real, healthy fear, and the other kind. Which is not about real things, and which isn’t really ours, it comes from other people.
So an example of a good fear might be careening down a mountain on skis. The fear you feel is basically your body’s way of keeping you on point so you don’t get sloppy and tumble head over business-end the rest of the way down.
The six things I’ve listed above? They are fears that, left unchecked, can become debilitating. They are not life-giving, they are soul-sucking. There is nothing, really, I can do differently, to mitigate outcomes. As for the first two about Grace and me, I guess I’ll just go around keeping our bodies as safe as possible, and then it’s up to our own karmas. I wrote a short film treatment the other day as a way to put something on paper, to exorcise (and exercise) the fear of being without my child, in a way, so it dissolves in the sun. The “what if?” fears are echoes of other people (including aspects our former selves). They are subjective, imaginary, a game of emotional dice.
I love this from Brené Brown: “To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees – these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain. But, I’m learning that recognizing and leaning into the discomfort of vulnerability teaches us how to live with joy, gratitude and grace.”
Who wants to come skiing with me?