When you feel and think that life opens up and the flow smooths out a new event merges into your path forcing you to speed up, slow down, brake abruptly, catch your breath maybe swerve to avoid collision. At the beginning of my 40s, I lamented the breakneck speed of my 30s. I felt as it I might rattle apart from the sheer velocity and gravity of the prior decade. I was worn. I’d lost tensile strength and agility. I was determined to recover. It meant I had to adjust. And I did. I made dramatic, drastic, gut-wrenching adjustments. It was a form of surgery, trauma – even amputation. I lost connections. I lost grounding. I felt alone. But what I wanted most of all was to stop being AFRAID. I spent my 30s living in fear, racing away from it. Seeking refuge and finding none.
I now face my jubilee year. 50. And I have used the last decade to build my own refuge, convert my dreams to a tangible and undeniable reality. And most of all, I have knocked back fear. I chose to disallow fear purchase in my life.
Fear insinuates itself into your life. At times, it is a rising flood, that rapidly cresting river, swollen to its bank, threatening to overflow into your picturesque valley of happiness and contentment. My contemplation is this: do I exert vast energies sandbagging the bank along my land to stave off the crest or do I retreat, sand bag my home, closer to my figurative property line and allow the river to break through.
Consider this: the overflowing river might bring much needed water. It can revitalize the land that has laid fallow. The sediments and residue churns through the topsoil and deposits things we might not have even known we needed.
I realize that the river is not fear. My REACTION to the changes in the river is what I fear. I elect fear as a companion. And I have free will. I chose my fears.
I read this article this morning about Muhammad Ali and his objection to his draft into the Vietnam War. [read it here] Something in it struck at my core. It helped me see my friends – many of whom are fighting about current politics and policies. And I realized, they have a right to chose their fears. They can fear gun ownership or they can fear the forces opposing their rights to bear arms. There is this fine distinction that is a core value for this country. I have rights. One of them is the right to PICK what I fear. I should think about myself, my desires and my fears and pick what I shall fear with as much conscientious consideration as I pick what I eat, where I live, what I learn and who I love.
What do I fear?
I fear not having choices. I fear being held accountable for things that are not mine. I fear being trapped by other people’s foolish or misguided choices. I fear being powerless to make choices.
I do not fear hard work. I do not fear being alone. I do not fear being judged for my choices. I do not fear making choices. I am a good decider.
And this is a huge realization folks. I am a good decider. I am The Decider. This is a moniker and label I have fought and in this moment I realize it is one of my absolute best strengths. I am a great decider. Why? Because I am not afraid of deciding. I can make decisions and I can live with my choices. And I can live with YOUR choices. I respect your choices….as long as they are YOUR choices. My difficulty is when people (and most people do) abdicate their choice to Another. And then you feel trapped, burdened, obligated and resentful of your situation. And in this situation you have no right to feel that way…..why? Because you let another person chose for you. If you make your own choices and step into your existence with open eyes and free will, then you take the hits and deal with things….but you don’t complain. You change your mind, make a NEW choice and CHANGE. But if you have allowed Another to use you and decide for you, then you also have relinquished your VOICE.
So decide. And go be in the world – your world. Wholeheartedly.