A few weeks ago, my sons were talking about going on a fishing trip when Matt (my youngest) returned from Alaska. I said, almost hesitantly, “What would you think about me coming along?” I didn’t think that they would really want this. I imagined them hemming and hawing and then saying something like, “Well, there really won’t be anything for you to do. We’ll be gone all day….” But this didn’t happen. Tom said, “That would be great.” No definite plans were made at that point, because Matt was unreachable until the boat he was on returned to shore.
It all felt somewhat like a dream until Friday when I talked with Matt and he was excited that we (Jack and I) were coming. There are so many aspects of this trip that I would like to write about, and probably will over the next few weeks until we leave, but what struck me the most last night was how even when something so good as this trip is presented, my mind will toss up fearful thoughts to try to stop me.
I’ve noticed that every time I step out and do something bigger than my present life, something that involves leaving my home and animals, spending more money in a concentrated period of time than usual, or going somewhere unknown, that I get afraid. I first realized this 24 years ago, when I went on a 8 day trip to New Mexico that also involved a vision quest. My sons were 6 and 10 at the time, and before I left, I had terrible thoughts that something awful would happen to them while I was away. These thoughts kept me up at night and sent terrifying shocks through me during the day. I didn’t realize, at that point in my life, that I had any power at all to change (or to choose) my thoughts. I believed every scary one that came along. When I happened to mention this to a good friend she said, “Every time I used to hear a siren, ambulance or police, I thought that something had happened to my family. That is a pretty ego-centric way to live.” Her words shocked me. I had never heard anyone say anything like that before. I thought that worry about my children, family and home was “responsible.”
When I went to bed last night, I could feel these frightening thoughts and images starting to make their way into my head. I started to feel very agitated until I said to myself, “I am going on this trip and it is going to be wonderful. I can’t wait to see how this all unfolds. It is going to be pure magic and heaven!” I could feel my body start to relax and my mind settle down. I imagined myself floating in the turquoise water and drifted into a peaceful sleep.
“I can change. I can live out my imagination instead of my memory. I can tie myself to my limitless potential instead of my limiting past.” Stephen Covey