Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Honoring Life Changes

This was the Daily Om a couple of days ago. I've been waiting to post this to try to figure out what I want to say about it. I still don't know for sure.
Honoring Life Changes
The Wisdom Of Fear

Anything worth doing will always have some fear attached to it. For example, having a baby, getting married, changing careers-all of these life changes can bring up deep fears. It helps to remember that this type of fear is good. It is your way of questioning whether you really want the new life these changes will bring. It is also a potent reminder that releasing and grieving the past is a necessary part of moving into the new.

Fear has a way of throwing us off balance, making us feel uncertain and insecure, but it is not meant to discourage us. Its purpose is to notify us that we are at the edge of our comfort zone, poised in between the old life and a new one. Whenever we face our fear, we overcome an inner obstacle and move into new and life-enhancing territory, both inside and out. The more we learn to respect and even welcome fear, the more we will be able to hear its wisdom, wisdom that will let us know that the time has come to move forward, or not. While comfort with fear is a contradiction in terms, we can learn to honor our fear, recognizing its arrival, listening to its intelligence, and respecting it as a harbinger of transformation. Indeed, it informs us that the change we are contemplating is significant, enabling us to approach it with the proper reverence.

You might wish to converse with your fear, plumbing its depths for a greater understanding of the change you are making. You could do this by sitting quietly in meditation and listening or by journaling. Writing down whatever comes up-your worries, your sadness, your excitement, your hopes-is a great way to learn about yourself through the vehicle of fear and to remember that fear almost always comes alongside anything worth doing in your life.
Fear is a big part of change -- fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of isolation, fear of [fill in the blank] -- but as the article points out and Pema Chodron has often written, the only way out of fear is to work through it. This can be more passive than active.

We don't need to DO anything. We can just sit with the feelings in meditation, or simply acknowledge the fear when it comes up, greet it as an old friend rather than something to be afraid of.

My life is in the midst of a huge transition. There is certainly fear that comes up, and it comes in many forms and of many things, not least of which is being alone for the rest of my life. But this is a normal fear that is trying to tell me something about who I am.

If I am afraid of being alone for the rest of my life, my psyche is telling me that relationship is important to me, no matter how much I might reject that idea rationally, or how much I fear I will simply fail again. I need to be in relationship with another, to have someone to love and who will love me in return. I can try to reject that feeling, but the fear is a clue to what really matters.

We can listen to our fear. We can learn from it. When we are going through change, our fear can be a guide to what is important to us -- if we really listen and get beneath it.


radicalshift said...

let's hear it for life changes. it sounds like something similar is happening in our lives, not just yours and mine, but many of my friends-peers, and colleages.
transition is in the rustle of the leaves, and the breeze-in the foggy mornings, and in the cold, sometimes lonely nights.
honoring transition is big work. i congratulate you on sharing so vividly, and fully. i thank you for coming to community about your transition. peace

william harryman said...

Thanks -- I took a look at your blog and, yeah, endings are hard. Sounds like you are doing a pretty good job of staying centered through the storm -- that's the hard part.

I wish I had the breezy, foggy, cool weather you mention -- it's perfect for my mood. I really miss Seattle.

I tried to add your blog to my RSS feeds, but you don't have a feed for it. If you ever decise to add a feed, let me know, please, I'd love to have your blog in my feeds.