I am a lifelong positive thinker, a "there is gold on the outside of those clouds", a "Well, if there is all this poop there must be a pony inside" kind of person. I can even annoy myself if the timing is right.
I have been having a great time on this roadtrip but I seem to have pushed my fears and concerns so far underground - read denial - that last night they pummelled me both in a Cracker Barrel restaurant and in my sleeping dreams.
Keeping a positive mindset is a practice just like yoga is a practice or there is a writing practice or a runner needs to practice. I believe in the power of gratitude, for example, and smiling even amidst troubles is a good thing.
What yesterday reminded me is I need to create space for truly being with what is troubling me rather than pushing it underground or pretending it away.
Perhaps this creation of space would have prevented a nasty episode that had dear Emma asking me "are you stress coughing, Mom?" with me needing to leave the table for fear of what might happen if I stayed seated with my plate of oven baked chicken and green beans. My entire upper body ached with the muscular workout of this "style" of "stress coughing" (as we call it.)
Yes, I had a glorious morning with Jessie and her Mom and Emma AND there was a flat tire to contend with which reminded me of our disastrous episode six years ago in South Dakota. I doubt our outcome this time will be like that time, but in pushing those memories and thoughts underground, I was doing myself a disservice.
Yes, I had a sacred short walk in a rest stop outside Peoria. Sure, it was a delight and I took some lovely photos and enjoyed taking moments in creativity AND I knew there was a simultaneous race with the clock and the dark to get as far as I could before we stopped for the night.
Yes, I am blessed and lucky and privileged to be taking such a phenomenal adventure atop adventure with Emma as she steps into her new life as a college student, her last phase before full-fledged adulthood. I am stuffing the awareness I'll be going home without her and this pre-grief feels nearly as selfish as the impending grief - which the Pollyanna me says "You will feel such a burst of creative freedom, enjoy this time both she and Katherine and Beyunca and Jaxon are 3,000 miles from you!"
Yesterday I rode a steep cablecar up the side of a bluff in Dubuque. This sort of thing scares me deeply. I did it, anyway, because I wanted to see the top. My heart called me to see the view.
"It's important to do what makes you afraid," I told Emma, "It is like flexing your courage muscles."
I meant what I said, it just isn't always as easy to live it in life away from tourist attractions and the glee of in-the-moment discovery.
Clare Booth Luce said, "Courage is the ladder on which all other virtues mount." Bravery needs to be present in order to understand fear intimately and move through it to the side of bold action that has lasting meaning.
Yesterday I rode the cable car with my heart pounding. I had a huge and more than slightly embarrassing coughing attack. I kept moving amidst some pretty strong anxiety.
All of these factors will grow into a big "so what" unless I continue to use them as a stepping stone to conscious courage, to growing intentionally bold and strong and able to face the scary stuff amidst the Pollyanna gold experiences.
It is ok to be afraid. It isn't something we need to hide or pretend away. Allowing it space to be transformed is where your lasting personal growth and transformation lives.
Julie Jordan Scott inspires people to experience artistic rebirth via her programs, playshops, books, performances and simply being herself out in the world. She is a writer, creative life coach, speaker, performance poet, Mommy-extraordinaire and mixed-media artist whose Writing Camps and Writing Playgrounds permanently transform people's creative lives. Watch for the announcement of new programs coming in September 2015 and beyond.
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