I woke up, a few hours after I had peacefully fallen asleep, last night with a feeling of anxiety sweeping through me. I turned over and looked out at the dark sky filled with stars and asked what this was about. My question was basically, “Come on, what is up here? I know that we (humans) are supposed to live in joy and inner peace and I am not even close to these. As a matter of fact I feel on the edge of despair.”
I kept looking at the sky and the answer came, “Move into life, not away from it.”
As small and insignificant as this may seem, my favorite thrift store had been closed for 3 weeks, was set to open up again today, and the one volunteer who is unfriendly works on Mondays. I had been thinking about how to avoid her and made all sorts of excuses for doing just that, thinking, “Maybe I’ll just go another day, maybe she has resigned, maybe I’ll even say something about her to the director”. My reasoning was, “She is ruining my experience, and this is one of the ways that I relax, so I need to adjust things and not run into her.”
I had been thinking about this for a couple of days, but not very often and certainly not to any degree that I thought was serious. After all, I am fully aware that going to the thrift store is simply a fun outing for me, and no cause for anxiety of any kind. And yet, as I pondered my discomfort last night I could see that I needed to change. Suddenly it just seemed so easy to say, “I am going to go tomorrow and have a wonderful time.” My emotions cleared instantly and I fell asleep in a state of ease.
We have all, at times, avoided situations that we feared would make us uncomfortable, and sometimes it seems that this is justified…and yet, when we are making decisions based on fear, they can never be very high-quality. One way that I can discern the difference between my guidance saying not to do something, and not doing something based on fear, is to really listen to my inner voice. If it is saying, “I’d love to go if it werent’ for….” then I can pretty much tell that I am letting fear make the decision, and I am not really choosing at all.
I will not die if someone isn’t friendly to me. But my life will get smaller, and I will feel like I am less alive, if I base my decisions on avoiding that person or people. I will not die if I don’t go to the thrift store, but my life will shrink or expand in proportion to the boundaries I set up for it.
My neighbors have a 5-year-old who is going to school for the first time this year. I can hear them as they wait for the school bus. This little boy is afraid to get on the bus, afraid to go out into the unknown, and his parents are constantly telling him, “It will be ok. You are going to have fun. We’ll be right here when you get off the bus. You are such a big boy. We are so proud of you.” I just sit on my porch and smile. It is so sweet. It seems like at times we are all this little boy, needing someone to say, “Go and live life! Have fun! Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know. You will have what you need. You are being cared for and loved, and I will be right here when you get Home” .