Tuesday, May 08, 2007

What are you most afraid of?

A friend forwarded an e-mail with a handout on it that describes some things related to resistance. It was quite helpful, one statement in particular: "The more afraid you are, the more likely it is this is what you're supposed to do."

I opened the e-mail just before I sat down for my morning meditation. Not surprising, the question, "What are you most afraid of?" came immediately to mind. I found it useful to reflect on it. It's been my experience that the initial gut response to such a question is often the most helpful, the response you have before your brain kicks in and starts questioning it. My gut responded with two things: falling in love and finishing the PhD.

I realize that falling in love is not something we can necessarily set out to do. There's an awful lot left to chance, but I do think there are things we do to open ourselves to love and though it scares the hell out of me to think of doing it, the very fact that I'm scared of it points to what I believe is a sincere desire for love in my life. Rather than allowing the resistance to push me back from that desire, it may be time to surrender to it and trust that the awareness I have of being open to it will help me be attentive to the problems relationships might pose, the things about falling in love that scare me.

The other issue, finishing the PhD, is one which has clearer, more concrete steps I can take. I took a small one today, in fact. I voiced my interest in a safe way to someone who could help scout out whether or not the door would be open with my PhD school for me to apply to be re-instated. The news is good, and I now have much to think about. It will be hard and I feel like I have to be fully committed to doing all of the hard work it will take to meet the requirements that will be placed on me, but for weeks now, something has been stirring inside me to give this serious thought. It will be a matter of prayer and discernment over the next few weeks.

It's an interesting question. Give it a try. What are you most afraid of?


Songbird said...

Okay, I've been back to this comment box three times, because although I realize the question is probably about something you're afraid to *do* as opposed to something that could happen *to* you, I keep coming back to those kinds of fears, which involve losing people I love, or rather losing their love. So I need to overcome my own neurosis, I guess!
I'm glad to hear there was receptivity with regard to the Ph.D.

Marie said...

Easy. Becoming a priest. The Rev phrased the question like this, "What would you do if you weren't afraid?" That's my answer.

I'll be holding you and your discernment in prayer.

J said...

Being Seen.

Also, maybe second on the list, is Not Being Seen.

Linda said...

Songbird- Your post about this is great.

Marie- I'd be worried about you if becoming a priest didn't scare you! ;-)

J- Those are fears I know very well myself. But, I'm always glad when you let yourself be seen.

Urban Tea said...

I'm most of afraid of doing nothing. I've never had any desire to accomplish anything in particular. Doing nothing has always been my preference, but I lack the nerve to stick with it. At some point, I always end up doing something, not because I want to do something, but because I'm afraid that if I don't do something, I'll become destitute and homeless.

Isn't that silly? I can't imagine anything more appealing than having no house to maintain and no possessions to take care of, and yet, I somehow manage to hang on to those vestigial burdens, no matter what.

I suppose I'm also afraid for my physical safety if I were to become homeless, since older women are such easy prey. But that's silly, too, because I'm fairly indifferent to my physical well-being and theoretical longevity.

So I guess it's pure animal instinct that keeps me housed and fed no matter what, but I'd sure prefer to do nothing but nothing.

Best of luck to you, Linda, in the unfoldment of your next chapter!

What Now? said...

A thought that rises from both your post and Urban Tea's comment: D. has been ABD for six years now (a loooong time to be in that limbo of not committing to do the thing and not committing to not to the thing). This past weekend she took an intensive IMPACT self-defense course, and somehow that has proven such an empowering experience that she has broken through all sorts of defenses and is now eager to charge ahead with the dissertation. Apparently she had interlocking fears ("rational"? No. real? Yes), and addressing one has cleared some space for her to address the other. Fascinating.

Blessings to you in tackling your fears.