Arc of Life

Reach • Grow • Evolve

Category: Fear

Musings on Miles, Paris & Fear

Paris-black-white-rainListening to the soulful sound of Miles Davis Kind of Blue wash over me after a long emotional weekend, is there a more perfect song for reflecting, relaxing, ruminating while drinking a glass of Cabernet?  There is so much depth and texture in this song. The late critic Robert Palmer wrote, “Kind of Blue is, in a sense, all melody – and atmosphere.” The music floats through my head, penetrating and soothing my soul.

Paris was attacked three days ago. The world is indeed a scary place and humans do horrible things to each other. And yet it remains a place of infinite beauty. Letting go of the fear, letting go of the worry; fear and worry will not make terrorism, or bad people with guns go away, it will not stop violence. We must live our lives and seek out the good in ourselves, the good in others and the good in our world.

Absolutely everything is available to us — sorrow and joy, grievance and forgiveness, horror and transcendence — it’s all on the menu. It’s up to us where we put our attention.”—Josh Radnor

I borrowed this from PamGrout.com today. Her post, Lizard or Lover? What’s your response to Paris? reminded me that we always have a choice in how we react to a tragedy. “Do we live from our lizard brain that’s urging us to fear, to retract, to cower in isolation? Or do we become the lovers, the higher selves that we all know is possible.

I needed to hear her message today.

I stepped out of my office a little after 3pm into a sparkling unseasonably warm mid-November afternoon. I was going to grab a coffee and go back to work but decided the day was simply too beautiful not to enjoy it. So I headed home, threw on my hiking shoes and headed for the woods with my dog Nelly.

Tragedy strikes but beauty remains; a walk in the woods on a beautiful November afternoon, a full bodied Cab and Miles Davis – our world is full of infinite beauty.

Miles Davis – Kind of Blue

 

Driven By Fear

Biking Bar Harbor MaineI have been getting together with my three siblings and our families almost every summer for the past 26 years. It has been a wonderful thing and all nine cousins have this bond laced with love, blood and good dose of healthy competition. These summer vacations have also given all of us aunts and uncles an opportunity to be a part of our nieces and nephews lives and watch them grow up despite the miles that separate us.

I have one niece that has truly blossomed over the past couple of years. Out of the blue she up and moved to Israel about three years ago – a bold move for anyone – enrolled in school, made friends and entered into a serious relationship. What a fearless move. She reminds me a little of my 23 year old self.

So it came as a major surprise to find that she was full of fear last summer. It was a gorgeous August morning and our group of 16 was about to embark on a day of biking when she started in with all of her worries over what might go wrong during the excursion. What if I fall behind, what if my pant leg gets stuck in the chain, what if someone runs into me, what if, what if, what if?

I was bowled over by her litany of fear riddled comments. I tried talking to her rationally about her fears but it just seemed to add fuel to the fire, so I let it go. When we get to bike rental shop, everyone rents a bike and a helmet, everyone that is except my niece. She is not renting a helmet. Are you kidding me? As an avid biker I never get on a bike without a helmet. It is the first line of defense for a biker and the one thing you can do to protect yourself while riding. No, she was having none of it.

At one point during our bike ride we passed a car with a bumper sticker that said “Fearful People Do Stupid Things.” The message was timely to say the least.

The day progressed and none of her fears came to pass, which was good since she was not wearing a helmet. But as we biked along the beautiful Carriage Path Roads in Acadia, I reflected back on the role that fear has played in my life and suddenly my judgment of my niece began to subside. My niece was indeed very much like me. Fear ruled my life for many years. And while it propelled me forward, it also crippled me and forced me into a very narrow view of the possibilities of life. It is only now that I can look back and see how much this emotion ruled my life, and for the most part in a negative way.

It took me many years, but I finally hit a point where I realized that fear was not serving me in any way and I began to let it go. I am still propelling myself forward with a lot less fear these days and I have to say it is exhilarating at times.

 

Stuck

Stuck. I so wish I could wave a magic wand and magically be transported to a new life, a life where I am not tethered to my husband, a life where I have learned to stand on my own and achieved true independence.

The decision to split was made a little over a year ago and now we are marking time together, waiting for our youngest son to finish high school. But I know in my heart that a dysfunctional dependency exist between us that will make the final break incredibly difficult.

To be honest, I simply do not want to go through all the messy work of dividing assets, dealing with lawyers and mediators. I want to keep my family intact. In other words, I want to have my cake and eat it too.

Ideally I would like this to all go smoothly. I would like to forgive and forget the past. But I am not there yet. And I am beginning to wonder if it is possible to get there while still living under the same roof with this man.

We have both made mistakes, we have both contributed to the demise of our marriage. And while he thinks he has taken ownership of his mistakes, I don’t believe he really has. He has committed major financial infidelity. While he acknowledges he has made mistakes, he has not changed his ways. I believe he lacks the ability to learn from his mistakes.

I also feel a responsibility towards this man, I feel I need to take care of him. And I believe he in turn wants to be taken care of. A family therapist informed me last December that he can indeed take care of himself. So perhaps I am enabling him.

As for me, I raged on and on about money for years, allowing every trigger to send me into a panic. Fear has been my constant companion when it comes to money and that fear has totally exacerbated our situation. And try as I might to change the tapes in my head, some of them still continue to play, especially when I am left with minimal financial resources. In the past, my husband has been my scapegoat. I have blamed him for my inability to move forward to change myself, to change my thinking. By blaming him, I have kept myself stuck. I need to take full responsibility for my actions, my words and my thoughts if I am to truly move forward with my life.

I am determined to make peace with money. I have experienced the power of changing my thinking. By focusing on what I want to bring into my life instead of on what is missing, I have brought about significant changes. I know this is possible.

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