As you may have noticed in my last two posts I am going through a period of introspection in the process of learning to BE. I had something of a revelation about my whole struggle with my “busyness addiction” recently, and that is, that perhaps all that behavior comes about because of what happens when I stop my incessant “doing”. I discovered that it is those moments of quiet that open the door to thoughts and more explicitly – to fears! All the little (and BIG) fears and anxieties I have kept neatly at bay with all my busyness begin to creep into my consciousness. And since I have not learned how to deal with them, I quickly shove them back into that closet marked “Do Not Open”, and find something really engaging to DO to fill the void and distract myself!
One of my big ones has been around most of my life and that is the “security” issue – having enough! Much of my adult life was lived close to the edge of “not enough” and a number of times, up to my ankles in it! So this fear had lots to feed it over time. But, this fear is not based on any reality in my life now. It’s a bit like a fear of spiders. You know there are spiders that live “out there” around you. You know there aren’t any in your house because you made sure of it – and you know logically that most of them will not hurt you anyway. But that doesn’t make the fear of spiders go away.
I also know intellectually that there is truly no way to create an absolutely secure life. I could have all the money in the world and get hit by a bus or have a stroke or the world economy could collapse! There is no way to “prepare” for every possible calamity that might befall us. A stockpile of food won’t help if your place is flooded, or hit by a wildfire, or swallowed by an earthquake. You get the idea, I think…
Whenever I would stop my busyness pattern long enough for my security issues to float into view – I would invariably spend a week or so examining all my assets and looking at changes I could make that would make me more “secure”, and in the end – having discovered no better alternatives – I would instead throw myself into yet another project to distract myself from my fears. Of course, I didn’t realize at the time that this is what I was doing.
This time around, however, I DID know, and consciously chose a different approach. I decided I would find a way to BE with my fears – look them in the face and not turn away. I also recognized that as deeply embedded in my being as they are – looking at them wasn’t probably going to make them just disappear overnight. So I relaxed into this being a process… This in itself has been surprisingly healing! Just getting to a place of not being afraid of the fear, is amazingly liberating.
Perhaps one of the most interesting takeaways from all this introspection has been the realization of the importance of community – of the people in my life. The bottom line in any “disaster scenario” is going to be people – your community. No matter how small or large the challenge in your life – it is your people connections that can get you through it. It’s ironic because I spent so much of my adult life learning how to be independent and self-sufficient – only to discover that it is our people connections that are the true wealth and security we need.