Feeling Afraid

Celine was made to fidget by something moving inside her.  It tooled with her body while working her over.

I’m afraid.

Rich.  We are all afraid.  Knowing it and naming it is more than many of us have the spit to do.  But not being named doesn’t make us more courageous.

I am afraid.

Celine wanted help and as her perception grew of what she was looking for, she knew.  It was fast.  Awareness appeared in progressive pictures into her own flip book.

Remember those flip books when we were kids like, Mickey Mouse tapping his foot as the pages sped by, leaning over to kiss Minnie?  Celine’s flip book showed her that she felt unappreciated at work.  She resented her authorities, lack of control and felt ashamed that she wasn’t acknowledged.  Scenes in her life gave her the illusion of movement toward more than just danger though.

Being in fear is not in itself wrong or amoral.  Sure as yams are sweet, it’s going to happen.  We all have fear.  Feeling afraid doesn’t mean that we are bad.  It doesn’t confirm the accusation or shame.  It doesn’t close on us.  It just is.  Fear.  Celine’s illusion was that she was moving toward being the wrongness, being amoral, and being especially bad.

Ironically, Celine found some comfort in this and decompressed.

The medical reasons behind fear are of all varieties and certainly important, but this post isn’t about those.  It’s about our flip books.  Lick thumb and finger and let’s see what pictures we’ve sequenced into our own illusions. We all have a book.  We all have fear.

Question:  What does looking at your flip book do for your sense of value?  Please speak.

Self-Care Tip:  Remember what makes “Me” special by being present with fear.

Believe And Pursue Magic

Heart beat

Image via Wikipedia

Believe and pursue Magic.

Eternity frightens me.  When I go to see what stone is in my shoe, that fear, I find the absence of lines.  I am afraid of living without boundaries, without the beginnings and endings that bring so much quality to our suffering lives.

Time is a line that comforts me.  It gives form to my experiences.  However, to give eternity a “go” means to, in this dimension, allow myself that a (possibly) vacuous shapeless Me will still be a Me that I can live with.  It is to believe and pursue Magic.

Today while reading The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, I tensed over the beauty of it. What a mastery of language the author had.  How I wish to have enough time to carve a work like that out of my life.  But the awareness of what I have done, what I have already chosen to spend my life on, scolds me.  My thoughts are slower than they were.  I am half used up.  My time is parceled and I know that if it happens, it won’t be enough to satisfy me.  My container will seal closed.

מנא ,מנא, תקל, ופרסין

Mene, Mene, Tekel u-Pharsin

Daniel at Belshazzar’s Feast

I never watched much TV but I remember a commercial about Tupperware.  The lid coming down on it and the corner lifting just enough to burp out the last bit of air, sealing it’s freshness.  I feel a lid closing.

My daughter, six years old has taken to grabbing my head and pressing my ear against her chest.

What do you hear, Mommy? 

Spoiled by medicine, I stupidly answer, 

Lub-dub, lub-dub.

Now my turn, she says.

I feel the pressure as she tries to hear.

Do you know what Love does?  Our lives are that something-of-value enclosed in plastic Tupperware – or Time you could say.

Our “Me,” surrounded by what seems to us undegradable Time, like plastic, comes down in waves of sunlight.  Layering us.  Containing us the moment we are conceived.  We walk the line of life toward the inevitable.

A Toad, can die of Light –
Death is the Common Right
Of Toads and Men –
Of Earl and Midge
The privilege –
Why swagger, then?
The Gnat’s supremacy is large as Thine –

  –Emily Dickinson.

But my daughter is teaching me that all that I know, my perceived reality, is just happening inside that Tupperware.  And because of Love, this other “inevitable” becomes apparent.  Me connected to Love with no lines.  Magic.

Suddenly time folds and I am a little girl myself, riding bike like this,

Look!  No hands!

Love is Time-corrosive, I’ve come to understand.  The particles lift off of me and I am in that space that I started out by saying I feared.

The sound my daughter is looking for is the sound of Love.  Something that is stronger than what separates us.  And although it scares me still, I can now believe and pursue Magic.  I know I can trust that even without Time, the Me that brings me pleasure in part because of the boundaries that contain it, will bring me pleasure even when Time is gone.  I can trust Love.  Intentionally being held by Love, I can say with more confidence than before to my girl, I will never leave you.  Because of Love.

My ear against my daughter’s drumming heart, I answered,

I-love-you, I-love-you, –

…Finally.  Took you long enough. –  She didn’t say it.  She’s too good of a teacher to have to.

I’m less afraid.  And I like myself better believing in magic.  And I’m less hurried.

Question:  What would connect you if there were no Time?  How does that affect your friendship with yourself?  Please tell me your story.

Self-Care:  Believe and pursue Magic.

Medications and Being Chosen by Fear

English: In 1870 he lost an arm, in 1917 he lo...

Many have been hurt by medications.  There are those life ending treatments.  There are accidents.  It doesn’t matter what remote or near number in the chance-line the side effect has to the victim or the survivors.  They happened and they happen.

If you are a survivor of something like this, if your child died or your mother almost did, if you lost your favorite thing in life – lost what you identified yourself by or if you were changed without being asked, you know what I am talking about.

How do you come back after that?  How do you endure opening your pill dispenser on Wednesday, on Thursday, every week, every day, how do you take medications when they are prescribed?

On my end as a physician, each prescription is a choice.  Each prescription carries the bit I am allowed to participate in.  Signing my name, I am saying with the informed patient, that the benefits outweigh the risks.

When you take your medications, know that you are not alone.  Know that you are doing this with numbers of other courageous people taking their medications.  Know that your physician, with the research behind this, with the high numbers of other persons generous enough to enroll themselves in those medication trials before the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved it.  Know that the FDA is with you and know that the benefits out weigh the risks for you.  That you decided the benefits are greater than the risks means you know what they are and you are choosing to take care of yourself.

Medication isn’t for everyone.  Medication hurts a lot of us.  Taking medication with this knowledge is still something many of us choose.

If we are not taking our medication because the fear precludes it, we can do better than that for ourselves.  We can choose not to take it without being chosen by fear.  On the flip side, we can choose to take medication without being chose by fear.  Being chosen by fear hurts us too.

Self-Care Tip:  Go into the space of where your fears are and let it lose power over you.

Questions:  How do you claim your freedom to choose when it comes to something as complicated and scary as medication?  Please tell us your story.

Get Your Hunting On – Insight is Empowering


Because of

He makes me

Finding insight can often feel like going on a bear hunt. There’s a children’s classic that tells this story about our journey towards self-discovery well with this title. You Tube even has a catalog of animations for it. One of my favorites is by Michael Rosen. This guy has a face made for story-telling.

We’re Going On A Bear Hunthttp://bit.ly/uItL6P YouTube

Sometimes when we venture out on our personal journey, a bit of the spirit of Columbus, a musketeer or a little boy with a stick in his hand. We have courage.

The screenplayer

Image by Darkroom Daze via Flickr

We are made beautiful by the courager; wind in our hair, weapon girded and travel pack filled with trail mix. And then mid-stride, mid-journey or in-process of anything our hand starts to shake. We remember more of our flaws rather than our merits. We remember abuse and encounter more of it. The tall grass becomes tangled around our ankles. We stumble often and start talking about why we cannot. We fear what we find or may find on the great hunt of accountability for our lives.

Words can be part of the tripping power over us. Words that point to all the power outside of us; over us. Words that erase our memories of what we have inside.

I am depressed because I have so much stress at work.

I hit him because he was being so rude.

I’m sorry but I wouldn’t cry all the time if you cared.

All the “reasons why” hover around us like angry weather, darkness or spooky caves.

I’m not forgetting the obvious. Hunting bears is dangerous. It is just a metaphor. Hunting for ourselves is less dangerous and more rewarding. We find that when we find our “bear,” and stay in the space of that fear for long enough over and over, it loses its power over us and our fears dissipate. We are safe and see that we have power.

Self-Care Tip: Get you some bear. You have the power and are not a victim.

Question: What keeps you from insight? How do you get past all the in-between that keeps you from seeing yourself and taking accountability for who you are? Please tell us your story.

Seeing Your Brain As The Place Emotions and Behaviors Come from is Terrifying


Image by pablokdc via Flickr

Where do emotions and behaviors come from?

Now think about it and answer your true beliefs.

I was speaking with a wonderful physician the other day to whom I asked this question, (let’s call her Doctora.)

I respect Doctora for her character, personality, standard of medical practice and interpersonal beauty. She is a bulldog in the operating room. When patients need studies done that insurances won’t pay for, she tears barriers to treatment apart with vicious tools of rightness. And she cares.  She sits.  She asks.  And she cares.  She sees the person in the paper gown, each one for the person she knows them to be and the person yet unknown.

I admire Doctora greatly not only for these qualities but also because it gets personal.  I, who have my own special practice of medicine, cannot do her’s.

When just a green bumbler in medical school, there was a fateful day when I shadowed another great artist of medical care into a locker room.  I suited up in that blue sack they call scrubs.  I put little blue sacks over my tennis shoes too.

Do you know why there are blue sacks on the surgeon’s shoes?  So that when wet things come out of the human body and fall onto their feet, their toes won’t feel squishy. Yep. That’s what was going through my mind as I scrubbed my hands, each finger and each finger nail the ten minutes it takes to reach what is considered clean.

Surgery in progress, the color red mixed with a smell and monstrous sensual force that clobbered me to the ground.  I swooned, gagged and promptly ended my surgical career.

There is nothing more irritating to a surgeon than someone who doesn’t appreciate the “fun” of “cutting.” Yes. I irritated this mentor and others too I’m afraid.

This doesn’t keep me unfortunately from pleasuring in telling people, “I am licensed to do surgery.”  I am you know.  Any Jane with a medical license can pick a scalpel up and bring back the dark ages, or contemporary, depending on who holds the license.  I’m irritating to my mentors, remember.  It reminds me how anyone can go online and pay to become a marriage registrar, i.e. perform a marriage ceremony for couples.  My brother did that twenty years ago and has yet to perform the marriage ceremony for a willing couple.  For real judges and clergy, this might be irritating too and that makes me a little happy as well.

Anywho, Doctora and I were rolling with the injustices haranguing us in the practice of medicine, both from the angle of the physician and the patient. I was pumping her up for being the cutting-wonder who she was and she was dutifully marveling at my jabber-mouth work that she would, “never be able to do in a million years.”  Somehow this brought us round to how our culture avoids embracing the biological paradigm of anything inside our skull but is so willing to celebrate it for any other part of our human bodies.

Where do emotions and behaviors come from?

Doctora answered me with a frozen breath. Then after I soiled the air with a lot of jabbering and she was finally able to speak, she said,

I would just be horrified if my brain got sick!

I wondered if it was scary enough to clobber her to the ground, but I do agree.  Terrifying.  Don’t you think?

Question:  Is that why hardly anyone can speak about the brain being human and largely responsible for where our emotions and behaviors come from? How has this played into your experience of self-care?  Please tell me your story.

Self-Care Tip – Go to the fear that keeps you from embracing your biology to gain more freedom.

Name Your Fear To Know You Are Free

She knew the Horned King‘s secret name.

His name?  … I never realized a name could be so powerful?

Yes….  Once you have courage to look upon evil, seeing it for what it is and naming it by its true name, it is powerless against you, and you can destroy it.

The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander

Science Fair Wins Ribbons

Image by OakleyOriginals via Flickr

Mistakes and the mist of shame thicken about us and it is hard to hope.  As if each effort of our intended labor produced Seconds and Flops we must stand in our Besties beside what we have done to get a participant appreciation ribbon tagged onto our lapel.

And somehow standing there, the layer of sweat thick under too many clothes, we remember the secret name, it comes and we whisper.  We whisper it; our last courage still enough for that.  There is a moment of surprise, as if we and whatever pressed us down didn’t know we might still live.

We can see now that we are not alone; just there, in fact you are there with your own passed over table.  I remember you working nights on it, your tired eyes, a happiness in your muscles still.  In those days.

We can see that we are special for more than injury; we hear now.  We feel concern for more and taste newness that filled the space.  The secret name.

We won’t tell you or it wouldn’t be secret any more.  But now that we remember we are free.  Now that we have the knowing, we will keep the power, thank you.

There is power in a name.

We won’t forget what came after evil and will speak more readily into dark spaces, will wait less and fear less because we have already been there.  Going toward the pain like that.  What’s the worst that can happen when you name your fear?  It takes no more than a whisper to be strong.

Self-care Tip – Speak into your dark spaces the name of your fear.  Be a friend to yourself

Question – What reminds you that you are free despite the fears that tell you otherwise?  How is freedom your truth in life even when your senses tell you otherwise?  Please tell us your story.

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