Category: fear


(originally written April 2015, but got stuck in Drafts because I never “finished” it…)

My springtime inspiration is to stop being nice.  STOP BEING NICE!  And, very much like that epic reality show from my teen years, to START BEING REAL.

The other, non-trademarked words I’ve used for this is to speak my truth with love.  It’s different than being nice.  It involves being honest, being open to hearing the other side, and being open to people not liking me or what I think/feel.

Ugh.

I have a gripping fear of conflict.  And this new intention pushes me right up against it.  I’ve worked very diligently in these 35 years to construct a personality and a life that no one could fight with.  I’m quick to say “I’m sorry”.  If I can’t say anything nice, I don’t say anything at all.  I hate conflict.

So with my new intention to stop being nice and start speaking my truth, I’m getting in more conflict — mostly at home.  Conflict still sucks, but I’m sticking with it, trying not to shut down, and to grab on to any opportunity to say what’s true for me without being a bitch.  It’s a challenge… How do I be angry and loving at the same time?  How do I be fearful and loving at the same time?

Sitting with these questions this morning, here’s what I came to:

My aversion to conflict is rooted in the experience of disconnectedness with another person.  Yet the reality is that we’re always connected.  We just are — it’s the nature of existence.  By “connected”, I mean “made of the same substance, with no distinction between where I stop and where you begin”.  For anyone who hasn’t had that epiphany yet (or read Ken Wilber), this might be a wild leap that makes the rest of this post meaningless to you.  But for me, this understanding is a building block of my understanding of my experience on this planet.  If we are all inherently connected, any experience of conflict is an illusion, a misunderstanding.

And so, if the experience of conflict doesn’t actually mean the actualization of that dreadful fear of disconnection, I don’t have to run from it and hide.  I can stay in that cloudy vague land where things don’t make sense, and trust that we’ll find our way out somehow.  The only flashlight I have is my self-understanding, my experience.  And what I can understand of the other person.  With that in mind, we can explore.  We can keep going until we find solid footing, something that makes sense.  We can be curious, and real, and loving… all at the same time.

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Doing the Work

I sat down to write.  Really, I did.  But then I thought I should check my email to see if anyone responded to various things I sent out last night.  And while I was on my email, someone started a chat with me, and we talked back and forth for awhile.  And while I was waiting for her to respond, I checked Facebook to see if anyone had said anything interesting.  And while I was on Facebook, I saw a link to an article that looked like it might be kind of funny.  And then I got a phone call.  And another one.

And now my writing time is gone.

I have Work to do.  Not work that I get paid for, or something on my to-do list.  I have Work to do, the Work of getting out of this rut, back to my center.  It’s the Work of opening, accepting, releasing, trusting.  And maybe I’m scared of it?  Because why else would I choose to check my email instead of doing this awesome, fulfilling, juicy Work?

Today I’ve used up the time I set aside for the Work, but I can still do it in every moment.  The Work can happen as I drive, as I talk with coworkers (co Workers!), and go grocery shopping.

Let the Work begin, again.

I’m down at Tekiah again, the community in southern VA that I’ve visited a few times before. The community is dissolving after 13 years because they haven’t been making it financially and the woman who has really been the heart of it, Joy, is moving to New York. My partner Pax, his partner Hawina, their son Willow, and our friend Spot have been down here for a few weeks helping Joy finish things up here and saying goodbye to this place. This has been a significant place of retreat for us, a three hour drive from Twin Oaks. There have been major Samhain rituals and other healing rites held here. The land is beautiful and the community has been open and flexible. I came down a few days ago to help out and drive the clan back home tomorrow. We’re saying goodbye to the land, closing their hemp hammock business, and honoring the work that we’ve done here (especially interpersonally — Hawina and I have really evolved our relationship during our stays here, as have Hawina and Spot, Joy and Pax, and all of us as a group).

Last night we helped Joy host a farewell party in Floyd, the small funky town in which the community is located. About 40 local folks came, including many people who had lived in the community and then moved to town. We had a light solstice ritual, and then a “saying goodbye to Joy” ritual where she put on her coat and walked away, out the door, while we sang a song and waved goodbye. We rested for awhile in the feeling of having her gone, and then she came back in for cake and dancing! It was a sweet and powerful experience, for her especially.

My big news now is that I’m hurt. I was dancing at the party, right at the end, and I did something that squinched my back and now I’m having a hard time with pain whenever I move. Yikes. It feels pretty significant, like it will take awhile to heal. Joy and Hawina are both wonderfully talented healers, and they’ve been giving me a lot of love and attention. I noticed that my first instinct when I got hurt was to go hide in a corner behind a table and stretch on my own, but then Pax came and found me and got Joy to help me. It’s so interesting to me that my first instinct was to go hide by myself, when I was surrounded by people who I know are healers and who I know love and care about me. I think it was a “I have to be happy all the time” kind of thing, thinking that other people wouldn’t want to deal with me when I was struggling. And of course, that’s not what I THINK; on some level, I guess it’s what I BELIEVE.

When Joy came over to me, she had me lay down on a long cushion so she could work on my back. At one point she asked me to roll over so she could work on me from a different angle. I couldn’t. My muscles just couldn’t do it. Eventually a few people came over and helped me roll slowly onto my side. I laid there, with different people coming over to work on me and talk with me and just be with me, until the party and cleanup was all over. When we were ready to leave, I struggled to get up, wanting to do it myself and simply being unable to. Pax and Joy helped me get up, and I felt so sad and frustrated that I started growling. “Yes, do that!” said Hawina. “Do what?” “Do that release thing you were just doing. Let it out!” And I growled loudly, which turned into a yell and then a scream and then sobbing. “That’s it, let it out. Keep going,” Hawina said. And I screamed and cried and yelled and at some point I looked down and saw two year old Willow staring up at me with a huge smile on his face. He was just beaming. This morning I was hanging out with him and I told him I was having trouble moving because I got hurt last night, and I asked him if he remembered when I was crying and yelling. “Yeah, it was a song” he said. “A song?” “Yeah, it was like a song.”

So, here I am. I can walk slowly pretty well, and I can sit without pain. Getting up from laying down is very diffucult, and I haven’t figured out a way to put on my shoes successfully (Hawina and Joy have loved helping me with my shoes, kneeling down at my feet, each taking a foot). Joy has been massaging me hourly, and I’ve been doing ballet exercises in front of the woodstove — keeping my back completely straight and doing plies and other french-titled moves. I’m getting lots of love and allowing myself to recieve it. It’s amazing what a conscious choice that has to be — my first inclination is to feel guilty that I’m taking so much time and energy from them. ! What a fucked up mindtrip. When I realized that was going on in my head, I intentionally chose to trust that they were doing it out of a place of love, and if they didn’t wan’t to be doing it, they wouldn’t be. So there, all you messages of inadequacy perpetuated by mainstream culture! hah ha! I choose something different. I choose to nurture myself, and allow others to nurture me.