I have a fierce pride in what I believe in, in my work ethic, in being true to myself and in owning responsibility for my behavior. I don’t fool around when I put my mind to something I intend to carry out. I consider myself a woman warrior, I mean what I say and I say what I mean.
My goal is to live this intention all the time but fear gets in the way. I second guess myself when I’m in fear. I lose my footing and lose my way for a while. I worry and fret about things out of my control. I have to examine closely what is in my control and what is not, because when I am fierce, I believe I can move a mountain.
I’ve educated myself on fear because I have a lot of practice dealing with it. I get impatient when fear arises. I can’t believe fear rears its head again. I consider myself an expert at dealing with fear, and yet it finds its way in again. I’m human. I have a bad habit of chewing the inside of my cheeks and my mouth is sore most of the time. Living in this pandemic keeps my level of fear at a slow simmer. I can’t shake it from my system.
I resist and deny my fear. I walk around it like one does with an elephant in the room. The more I deny it the bigger it becomes. The more I resist the more it persists. It’s a familiar scenario as it cycles through my life. Fear is here to stay. My resources help me manage my fear. Feeling fear is not a weakness. It’s a reality. Crying doesn’t mean I’m not strong. It’s a release. Living honestly with myself is the best gift I can give me.
When I hold on to pain and abuse from my past, I relive it again and again. When I harbor hate for someone’s past behavior, I relive it again and again. An endless loop of self-abuse. Releasing the violations of the past do not excuse them. Releasing the memories frees the constriction I have placed on myself, on my tender heart, and allows me to live my life fully, honestly and freely.
My daughter is my teacher. I hated the fact she was born with two liver diseases and for years I carried the burden that it was my fault. She hated her disease and hated her body. I fought against my guilt. She fought against her diagnosis.
We were both angry and often screamed at each other. We loved each other. We hated the circumstances. I’m remembering an incident in a car ride to another hospital visit when she was around 26 years old. She was pissed and didn’t want to undergo another procedure. She had a meltdown on the highway while I was driving. Screaming and wailing at the top of her lungs. The more she cried the more pain she was in.
I was driven to the point of desperation and I said to her, “This disease is not going away. I want it to go away and God knows I’ve tried.” I know she doesn’t want to hear this. I imagine her eyes rolling as usual. I’ve said it many times in her anguish and in my anguish. “Life may be easier if you accept this disease in your life.”
She screamed, “Mom, I can’t accept it because it’s going to kill me!” At this point, we are yelling back and forth at each other, almost screaming while I’m driving along.
Tears are flowing down my cheeks too as I’m crying and talking. I said, “it just feels like it’s going to kill you, but if you accept it into your life, it’s going to give you something to work with instead of fight against.”
Then I told her my story with fibromyalgia. Every day, I waged a war with fibro. I can’t have you in my life because I can’t work. I can’t have you in my life because I can’t play racquetball any more. I can’t have you in my life cause I can’t have a life. There is nothing left of me. I am a useless person. I have no meaning. I’m just a lump on the couch, day by day, waiting for the minutes to pass by. I can’t. I won’t.
I reached a point of no return when I walked into my doctor’s office. I had had it. I was in so much pain I couldn’t stand it any more. I felt like a volcano ready to blow. I checked in with the receptionist and was pacing. The nurse came out to get me and asked how I was. I exploded and I burst into tears screaming I couldn’t take the pain any more. I couldn’t stand it. I was desperate. I reached a point of no return. Nothing helped me relieve the pain. It felt like someone was standing there with a knife just jabbing me over and over again and I cried uncle. It was at this point I stopped fighting. STOP FIGHTING. This disease is not going away. This condition is not going away. The reality of this disease is not going away UNLESS and UNTIL I stop the fight and allow it into my life.
Taking a breath here, of course, nothing is easy. We all wage war with that which we don’t want. Usually it goes away when we grimace and scream and fight and kick our way through something, but when life changing events happen, they don’t go away. They persist and we resist. The key we hold is our acceptance to this change. If we accept the disease, the disturbance, the big elephant in the room, a miraculous thing happens. The way we perceive our challenge changes and we start accommodating ourselves around the event. We open our brains to new ideas to compromise around that which is not moving and suddenly we are moving again.
My daughter and I were speeding along the highway fighting up hill. She said to me, “I don’t know why, but I feel calmer.” She started easing into her calmness and relaxed more and more.
I surrender to my fear. It’s not allowed to rule my life all the time, but I need to give my fear a voice so it is heard. I need to honor the whole me, fear and all. Otherwise, I’m not safe in my own body. I neglect my needs and I inflict harm on myself because I abandon me.
My goal today is to figure out how to curb my nervous energy causing me to chew the inside of my mouth. My first step is to find some gum that agrees with my sensitive system. I’ll start there and experiment until I find an answer because I’m worth the effort.
By Jo Camacho
The owl and the chimpanzee went to sea In a beautiful boat called The Mind The owl was sensible, clever and smart The chimp was a little behind The owl made decisions, based on fact And knew where to steer its ship The chimp reacted a little too fast And often the boat would tip The waves would come and crash aboard The chimp would start to cry Large tears would roll right down his face Afraid that he would die The chimp and the owl would wrestle at night When the world was quiet and still The chimp would jump up and rock the boat And the boat would start to fill Then the owl stepped in and grabbed a pail And started to empty it out And the chimp would start to get quite cross And would often scream and shout The battle continued night after night Until the chimp started to see That if it let the owl take control A more peaceful night it would be
Thank you for the reading. It reminded me of my daughter who I haven’t seen in almost two years. I tried to get onto the Internet to get my vaccine but the system was crashing. I am going to be able to get on it at some point and get my appointment and travel to see my daughter and grandchildren. Covid has been really hard, so thank you so much.
I heard so much of the power of surrender and the gift of surrender. Your vivid sharing of your conversation with your daughter in the car, thank you for sharing that. Until I was 60 years old, tears wouldn’t come. Since I’ve broke open my life, tears now come. The gift of tears help express, and that let go entirely of control and that’s huge. Something I learned from sitting in a circle with homeless people. This man said “we stare hard at the door that has closed and aren’t aware of the doors that open.” That’s what you described. I thank you for this group. You found a door that opened to connect all of us. For those of us who live alone, in some ways it is a lifeline. And for all of us, it is a love net. So thank you.
Thank you for what you share with us. It brought me back to times when I brought my son to appointments, how stressful it was. I’d try to stay calm and he is grateful. The tears, thankfully I’ve been able to cry more than ever before.
Thank you. The image that came to me that I focused on during the meditation was the owl bailing the water out of the boat. How true that is when I sit in fear which is always there. If I hold onto it, it takes a lot to get the water out of the boat and to settle back down. That was a powerful image for me. Thank you.
Thank you so much. I drank for twenty-two years as a way to deal with my problems and my fears. I couldn’t stop, I couldn’t get out of it until I joined the 12-step program and learned the power of surrender. To let go, let god. It was that surrender—the awareness, the surrender, and gratitude for my life—that changed it all. There is such power in changing an attitude towards things and not fight them. It is so clear what you said. I’ve lived with that power of surrender for thirty years and it’s made a difference. Thank you.
I didn’t like the poem. It smacked of patriarchy, of you are too impulsive to do anything, let me take over. The whole thing, you can’t move or the boat is going to fill with water thing. It rubbed me the wrong way. There is supposed to be a balance between yin and yang, between emotion and logic. I loved your reading, but not the poem.
I listened to a podcast the other day by another medium. He pointed out that our brains have conditional love because it is a human brain. Our hearts are capable of unconditional love because it is connected to all that is. That helped me understand when I get in fear—fear doesn’t have to be logical and doesn’t look for balance, it just reacts. When I am dealing with my fear, I know I have to be patient and love myself in the process. Hear my fears. It was helpful to me to hear the difference between conditional love, which my brain thinks, and unconditional love, which my heart emits. No one has to agree with me but it is my truth. We all have our truths. And we breathe. I encourage everyone to be gentle with their authentic selves whether it is in pain or in joy because that is where we are and that’s our truth.
Thank you all for joining us today, for spending time with yourself in this community. Practicing silence creates inner solace. Sometimes it stirs up stuff that has to be felt and expressed and that is honored and we go forth into our day. I encourage you to have a gentle day. Thank you so much.
Photo credit: Twilight on the Merced, Linda Lundell, 20" x 30", oil on canvas, www.lindalundell.com