Tear Down the Bars

Today is the fifth anniversary of my son’s death – or his fifth “re-birthday.” I feel like I should blog about that, but I’m just not feeling inspired. Which is a good thing. It shows me how much healing has occurred. There’s no gaping wound, there’s no scab, there’s no scar. I’m just feeling at peace about it and thinking of Cameron with love.

So, I’m going to blog about something else.

This swine flu thing really bugs me. It just seems to me to be so much fear-based hype and hysteria. I’m not saying people haven’t gotten sick from it and I’m not saying people haven’t died from it, but it just seems overblown. I figure I could walk out the door and be hit by a bus just as easily as I could contract and die from this flu. And if we create our reality by what we focus upon, why in the world do we choose to focus on something like this. We are like moths to the flame of fear. Or like baby’s sucking on the very pig’s snout that we fear will kill us.

A friend of mine on Twitter (where swine flu has been one of the top trending topics all week long) recently wrote this post called “Swine Flu Immunity” and I think he’s got something. After reading the article, I tweeted him about it and that set off an interesting “twittersation” between us that went something like this:

Me: Love your Swine Flu post – I’m with you – they say wash your hands – how about washing our mental hands of it! I have.
Emmortal: LOL! You make way too much sense, Claire. Would you believe that I’ve already had 5 hits from Google on that after 3 hours?
Me: Not surprised at all – seems nothing reproduces quite as fast as fear – imagine many readers were surprised/disappointed at your POV!
Emmortal: Fear travels by thought at light speed, disease has to travel through space MUCH slower.
Emmortal: Disease is a common “plausible entry scenario” for fear that answers “Why am I afraid?” No one can stand fear with no cause.
Me: I’m working on ways to help people process/release fear. Positive thinking and affirmations are only a doily on a cesspool if fear goes underground.
Emmortal: Wish I could say you’re wrong about the doily, but I can’t. 🙁 Did you read my blog piece “Fear Itself“?
Me: I did read “Fear Itself” and I think you are right on the money (as usual!) 😉
Emmortal: I thought you had read that. Did you also see this one?
Me: Yep-fear/love is a big learning theme in my life. I think I’m finally getting it! (I faced my biggest fear & it disintegrated into love)
Emmortal: The weakest point is the belief behind the threat. The more specific you get, the more absurd it usually becomes.
Me: I was once told to speak any fear story in the voice of Mickey Mouse. So absurd you have to laugh. I think of Mr. Bill – “Oh Noooooo!”
Emmortal: Another key: whenever you decide you’re unwilling to experience anything, you put another bar in your personal prison.
Emmortal: It’s not just about getting past a certain fear. All fear in our lives rests on a few beliefs. Lose them, and it all changes.
Emmortal: A belief in personal powerlessness must be present in some form for any fear to exist. But people take it for granted.
Me: Re: bars in the cage – I did a great piece of collage art around that theme some years ago – will TwitPic it later if I can find it.
Emmortal: Cool! I’d love to see that. :>D

So, as promised, Emmortal, here it is. This is a collage I created in June 2004, a month after my son died. I was feeling lots of rage, grief, powerlessness, despair. The collage was sparked by a chance email forwarded to me by someone I didn’t even know. There was a whole bunch of astrological stuff in it from someone named Gururattan Kaur Khalsa, PhD. Most of it meant little or nothing to me. But one paragraph really grabbed my attention. It was about Pluto’s role in helping us to “uncover our darkness, expose our fears and examine what controls our thoughts and actions.”

One statement in particular really resonated with me: “There is no way we are going to set ourselves free without examining how we are imprisoned.

What is it that imprisons us? Fear, surely. But fear of what, exactly? I explored my own feelings of stuckness, limitation and fear by creating this collage.

(click image to view larger)

I wrote the statement, “There is no way we are going to set ourselves free without examining how we are imprisoned” on the top and bottom bars. There are 14 images and 14 vertical bars. On each vertical bar I tried to write a phrase that seemed to capture the feeling of one of the images.

My bars became:
1) Hanging on to imprisonment through belief in lack and limitation.
2) Fear of death and meaninglessness.
3) Poverty of spirit.
4) Martyrdom – oh poor me!
5) Desire/Greed.
6) Belief in unworthiness.
7) Prejudice.
8) Fear over love.
9) Isolation.
10) Need for vengeance, justice, payback.
11) Expecting help from “out there.”
12) Wounded inner child.
13) Turning a blind eye.
14) Disconnect from creative self.

I was realizing as I wrote all these things on the bars, that I was creating my own bars. The bars weren’t there unless I built them. I was creating my own prison. Just as Emmortal said in our recent twittersation,”whenever you decide you’re unwilling to experience anything, you put another bar in your personal prison.”

After completing the collage, I wrote this:

You believe in the bars

You pretend you have a captor

From that moment on you are a slave
to your own fears
A slave
to belief in lack
to belief in limit
to belief in your own unworthiness
to own happiness
to be yourself only and truly
to express what is your God-given right and command to express

Let it go…
You will not die unfulfilled
Your story is important
and real
and true

And only you can tell it
can live it
can breathe life into it

Tear down the bars
They are not real
only false shadows
mind games

The true you is
and always shall be
a shining star that only you can be

Life is short
the days are numbered
The only sin is not
living each one
holding it close
making it shine
as only you can do

But even self-recrimination
is a waste
for it is impossible
to truly waste a day

Every step
Every breath
Every heartbeat
Is your unique unfoldment

What are your bars? And are you ready to tear them down?

Wishing you peace on the journey…

As always, I welcome your coments here or by email (Claire@DeepWaterLeafSociety.com)

Visit my website: http://www.deepwaterleafsociety.com/

Dancing with Fear

We had a great thunderstorm here a few nights ago. The flashing, crashing, wildly chaotic symphony of lightning, thunder and wind had the trees in my backyard swaying and gyrating in ecstasy. They seemed to revel in the chaos of it all, even though wind and lightning can often lead to their demise. Just within the past couple of weeks, two large parks in my area lost hundreds of trees each in microburst storms with winds up to 100 miles an hour. Our wind here the other night was not nearly so powerful, yet my trees seemed to move with frenzied anticipation of just such a possibility. It didn’t seem to me that they feared that eventuality. Instead they seemed to just dance with the amazing energy of it all. They soaked in the ion-charged rain water, which somehow greens them more quickly and dramatically than any drip system or garden hose can.

I have a Night-Blooming Cereus cactus in my front yard that blooms in profusion after each rain, no matter the season. After a good rain you can expect to see a dozen new blooms the next morning. No matter how much I water it by hand, that never happens. Only the rain can bring on that burst of growth.

Like the trees, I’ve always reveled in the rain—especially the monsoon storms here in this desert land. Maybe back east or up north where the rains tend to come too consistently it is easier to grow tired of the downpours. And obviously the hurricanes that have battered our coasts are another kind of storm altogether. My prayers are with everyone in Galveston and the Houston area as Ike bears down upon them. But here in the desert where, in recent years, the storms have been too few and far between, every drop is a blessing and a miracle.

I used to run barefoot and fully dressed into the soaking downpours when I was a child, heedless of the lightning. Now my adult self keeps the inner child in check, ensconced beneath my patio roof admiring the wet and the wind from dry safety. The child in me still wants to run out into it and dance the same frenzied dance as the trees.

I may be hiding out high and dry these days, but storms like this still energize me. Perhaps it’s the blend of Sagittarius (a fire sign) and water baby (I grew up in a swimming pool and love the ocean) in me that makes the fabulous mix of fire and water in the sky so mesmerizing. There is something so primal about a thunderstorm. It’s all sound and fury, wildness and chaos followed by the gift of rain which the hungry desert soil soaks up and turns into new life.

Sitting outside through this last storm put me in mind of an experience I had earlier this week. Each morning I walk to the park that is not far from my house. Once there, I pause to meditate for a few minutes on a bench by the playground before walking back home. This particular morning as I sat with my eyes closed, I heard voices approaching. As they drew nearer I could hear an excited child’s voice begging, “Grandma, push me on the swing. Push me really high!” Grandmother tells the child to hang on tight and soon I hear the little voice squealing with fear and with pleasure, “Oh, oh, oh! I’m going to die! I’m going to die!” Grandma slows the swing down and starts to calm the child, but immediately the child cries, “Push me again!”

What is it, I wonder, that continually draws us to the edge of our fear? What is it that we relish in that experience of dancing with winds that might topple us? We go to the edge and we back away, but we are drawn back to that edge again and again.

I think it may be exactly what we come here to experience: our ability to press through our fears seeking the next level of what we can cope with, assimilate, understand and grow from. When the things we fear most come to pass, we find that instead of falling apart we emerge stronger and clearer in our own Truth.

The fear of dying is on my mind a lot these days. My Dad’s health is failing and I’m watching him and Mom struggle with the letting go. It seems simpler to me than it used to, having lost Cameron and then realizing I hadn’t lost him at all. I suppose it is the biggest fear we ever face – our own mortality or the mortality of someone we love. But I am so certain that we really aren’t mortal at all. We are eternally evolving souls with so many stories to live. Like the trees, we can dance with the threat of death and grow stronger and greener by doing so. Like the little child on the swing, we can swing higher and higher until we are brave enough to just let go and fly.

When my day comes, I plan to run into the storm gleefully, barefoot and fully dressed. I will dance with my fear and awaken full of new blossoms, full of new life.

Wishing you peace on the journey. . .