Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Kind Of Mad At Myself, Part II

So little time to squeeze in so much stuff to still say….

I’m kind of mad at myself still, but in little ways.
I’m disappointed in myself. With all these months to focus on it, I thought I would be a better person in some way, but I am no different in any way that I can see. Except a little fatter and a little more out of shape…instead of the other way around, as I intended.

Zach is different, and I am sure his squadron mates are. They have done so much, worked so hard, stood so much, and so of course they have grown as human beings and adults, even though they may not know it yet. They may have some emotional stuff to clear out, over time. I hope they will come home to good relationships and that it’s all good moving forward.

Most of them will likely look back on this time as one of the most important in their lives. What they hated about it will diminish fast with time, and, like all experiences that teach us a lot, the good will grow in their minds and their memories.

But me and my family: how have we used the time to grow? As much as we wanted?
The lesson here is that good intentions need focus or the time can slip by!

But also, I believe that having good intentions in and of itself is pretty important. I’ve thought about being fair to the Afghan people, and about being understanding of the pressures faced by our family members in the service. So that’s maybe not a growth, but I hope I stuck by my beliefs.

Part I was about how I was kind of mad at myself for being afraid so much; Part II was going to be about being a little mad at myself for not growing or deliberately improving in some way during the same time.

Now, this post towards the end of this experience is going to either go way south or way deep, and I’m not sure which it will be. But I will be honest. A few days after I wrote the Part I post, I woke up at 1:30 in the morning, having what I think was the last opportunity for fear to ambush me. A kind of last-flight last-hurrah for the fear. How many times have I fought it off, but here it was again, in full attack mode.

And I’ve written, either here or other places, about the process of coming to see fear as a thing to be loved and forgiven, so that it has less power over us. It doesn’t change the fact that it harasses me constantly. But it was a kind of another-epiphany along that line of thought.

This is a little out there. So buckle up and I hope it makes sense!

Fear is stupidness. Fear is dumbness. Fear is not-knowing, not-understanding. Fear is the emptiness of knowledge; it is the opposite of fullness. It is the sucking-out of the marrow, the destruction of the Good. It comes to us in loneliness, unalterable, unable to change itself or be other than it is: wistful, ugly, and hoping we will understand, even while it scorns us if we do.

Fear does not want us to yield to it; even fear hopes that we will be stronger than it is, and secretly hopes that we will triumph over it...but it must do its job. The harder we resist it, the more insidious it becomes. The stronger we grow, the more it must try and topple us. It is required of the universe; it is the gravity we must have to push against so we can prove to ourselves that we can fly. Poor fear cannot be a friend even to itself, for it must attack anything good.

Fear hates itself for being as much as we do. It must try to poison the well even while it hopes that it will be an abject failure, and that we will not drink.

So we must / should be patient with fear, and compassionate to it. We will never change fear. We will never improve upon it's condition; that is impossible. But we will deepen ourselves. In the effort to do good to it, we will increase our capacity. We will fly.

It is in our willingness in offering food and drink and shelter and welcome to the self-loathing wretch at our gate that we define our goodness.

The feral cat can not be tamed; but what does fear do with the knowledge that it could not destroy us?
Nothing; it is incapable of understanding. It can only assault.

We can never destroy it. But we must not ever let it destroy us.
Love, instead.

So when fear comes to call, speak kindly to it. Doing so will not improve fear's condition. It can not and will not take on any of your nature. We may need to be strong. We may need to take action.

But with kindness as your shield and interface, you are protected: you will not take on any if its nature, either.

Kindness towards fear renders us more impervious to its assaults.

I wrote that from 1:30 a.m. to 3 a.m. If it makes sense to you, that’s good. If it doesn’t, blame the hour.
I’ve said I was Over The Fear so many times before that it seems ridiculous to say so again. But something changed.

And shortly after that, Zach laughed at me and said carelessly, “You worry way too much. You should stop that.”

And I did.

Well, damn. We should have had that conversation a lot earlier…!

So, a little work left. And a next phase in life, for good intentions, for onward and upward, and for the dance.

For making time to smile.

Thanks so much for checking in. Be well,


  1. Yes, be well and fearless!Sleep long and rest, rejoice in the homecoming so long looked forward to!

  2. We are all over the Friday-Saturday blizzard that is bearing down on the East Coast.