Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Gift of Fear

I have a work trip scheduled out of town next week that involves flying from Portland to Chicago. I leave on my dear friend's birthday and will miss dinner with my grrrlz and some boyz.

Today the security threat goes up with the attendant fear and additional hassle of getting through security, etc. I pride myself on refusing to live my life in fear. But, I've got to tell you...I'm nervous about traveling - partly because of the energy out there now around airline travel and at the airports, but partly because it just seems like too much work to go.

I feel obligated to go because there will be others from my workplace attending, but I've got to tell you...the whole idea just doesn't blow my hair back. Give me some of your wisdom to help me think about whether I want to go or not.


Ms. Jong--

Your analyst will see you now. Please lie down on the couch and for God's sake, cover yourself with that throw and make yourself decent.

I applaud you for refusing to live your life in fear. As I have said before, fear is a contraction and it makes it difficult for us to move forward when we are in that state. Fear can also keep us tuned away from our inner guidance, whatever form that takes for each individual.

Sometimes fear is a gift. The capacity to feel fear is hard wired. We feel it because we have at some time in our evolution and development needed to feel it. Fear is a warning signal. True, for many of us, the signals got crossed somewhere along the line and we end up getting false alarms. Nonetheless, the capacity to experience fear and listen to the warning is an innate ability and one that keeps us alive.

Fear gets a bad rap these days. If fear comes up, the first thing we should do is look around and see if there is something that has caused us to feel fearful. Are we in imminent danger? Even if it is not evident in the moment, if our gut says, "Don't go there," it is in our best interest to listen. Follow your instincts, even if you can't tell anyone else why. This is not the same thing as indulging feelings. If "it just seems like too much work to go" were your only objection, I would say, "Buck up and go. You made the plans. Get outta that Lazy Boy and do what you said you would do." Going with "too much work" is indulging your feelings. On the other hand, if it doesn't feel right from a bigger perspective...listen.

One time I was selling a house and we had two offers on it. I didn't want to take the first one because it just didn't feel right. I couldn't tell anyone why. We ended up, for a variety of other reasons taking that offer and the deal was a hassle from the day it started until it finally closed. Thank God it did close, but there was something about it that just didn't feel right to me and whatever that was proved to be true.

If it were me, I wouldn't go. Right now, dealing with airport security is the last thing I would want to do. That's what I would be afraid of--not the terrorists (or whoever they are blaming this one on). I read on this blog today that on international flights you can take no liquids except milk or baby formula, and no carry on luggage to the UK. (I know that Chicago is not international, but what if you want to go to Little Italy?) I am more afraid of losing my mind at losing my freedoms than I am of the latest suspects of terrorist activities; however, if it were an elective trip--unless the destination was more compelling than the thought of going--I wouldn't go. And this is for work, for cryin' out loud!

Instead, celebrate the birthday. Put the top down and blow your hair back. Or get out the hair dryer to do it, I don't care.

Listen to your inner wisdom. Feeling nervous doesn't mean you're a sissy. Your grrrlz and boyz will understand. You understand. If no one else does, does it really matter?

That's what I'd do.



Anonymous said...

You are, indeed, a wise woman. I was able to find someone to take my place at the conference. So, not only do I get to stay here, I have 4 days completely unscheduled to attend to some much needed projects, I get to have lunch w/ my grrlz and some boyz (I'll bring my own boy to dinner) and another person gets a terrific opportunity to attend a conference she otherwise would not have been able to attend. I think it is a win all the way around. Thanks, Wanda...."EJ"

Wanda said...

Thanks, EJ. I appreciate your appreciation. Glad we were able to zip that one up effortlessly. I love win-win-win-win!

Enjoy the time off! And here's to being productive.