Facing the Monster in my Closet…


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.




  1. Hi Barbara,
    I am a friend and ex co-worker with Mike. He told me about your website just the other day and I find this particular blog post is so absolutely intriguing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
    Lynn Hornbaker Hoffmann


      • Well, Hi – I may be a bit off topic but thinking about these things…

        These were some notes I wrote yesterday…
        It is haunting me so much into to doing some real soul searching into my motivations and distractions which I sense every day and drive me crazy.

        It brings up so many thoughts on…
        Understanding what emphasis I put on my own worth vs. the caring of others
        Value placement on have to’s, and want to’s and how to prioritize those things.
        faith and trust
        Protestant work ethic attitudes
        and all of the mixedupness that comes from clouded thinking and an unclear focus.
        It is a lot to sort out but I really appreciate your calling attention to it with this stimulating post.


      • Thank you for taking the time to respond – so candidly… I am unused to expressing such deeply personal things in such a public forum and have had many moments of discomfort since I posted these last few posts. Your reply to my question so describes the things I have gone through. I can’t tell you how much it means to me to know that there might have been some “value” in sharing those feelings. I can’t say that it will be an easy journey – the one you may be embarking on – but I can say it is worth every effort you focus on it. To spend our lives frantically frittering away our time would be such a waste. Our culture is designed these days to distract us from ourselves and any possibility of discovering our life purpose… Blessings on your journey… Namaste, Barb


  2. I love this post! Someone once said, There are Human Beings and there are Human Doings. I’ve always been a Human Doing, but as I’m getting older and losing some steam, I’m trying to just “be” a lot more. Just sitting here in bed with my laptop and reading blogs on a Saturday morning with a dog snoring next to me, a cat sleeping on my chest, and a cup of coffee has brought me to this post. I am also very project oriented! I was on the computer to some reading for garden design inspiration, but ended up reading this very reflective and thoughtful blog of yours. I’m sure that is not an accident! I think I bury myself in my garden for different reasons. Another year goes by and I have not taken one weekend camping trip. I do cherish relationships with others that I have connected with on some level, but I take very little time to nurture those relationships. It is so good to reflect on these little phobias, and I guess when I really think about it, mine are not enough TIME and not enough MONEY. The times when I actually tear myself away from my projects to do something with others or for others feel like such a sacrifice at the time, end up being some of the most rewarding times and worth every minute! Creating fond memories of time spent with friends and family is actually terribly important, but I tend to relegate tiny scraps of time to this rather than making it a priority. It’s always pushed off to “when I get done with this next big project”. Having people over almost never happens because the place is never perfect enough and I usually have several half-finished projects that look like messy eyesores. This year has changed that quite a bit as my Dad turned 100. I realize that there are not too many tomorrows left. I’m taking a lot more time with him and we are both enjoying it a lot. My projects are very important to me and my work is important to my survival, but you are so right about needing connections and community. Nothing bad ever happens when a project takes longer than expected because I take time with friends. And so far, I’ve been able to pay the bills even when I take time off work a few hours. Feeling the fear and doing it anyway, seems to take so much courage, but it is proving well worth the strength required. People have even seen my garden in its unfinished state and they mostly just say they will love to see it when it is done. Which of course will never happen because a garden is always a work in process! Thank you so much for making me stop in my tracks and reflect. I will be mentally chewing on this all weekend as I work on my pond project and Autumn planting, BUT I do have an 83rd birthday surprise party to attend today and I will enjoy putting my tools away, taking a shower, and celebrating with no grudges.


    • Thanks for your comments, Tamara, I have always recognized a lot of similarities in us. It’s a common struggle don’t you I think? I love the Ram Dass saying “We’re all just walking each other home”. A very loving and somehow comforting thought.


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