“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
A few months ago, I made the decision to go out to eat… ALONE. I went to a cafe, still intimidating myself with anything that resembled a restaurant. Some of you reading this may think, “So, what? What’s the big deal?” Others may totally get me. Doesn’t really matter. We all have our reasons as to why we do the things we do.
Most of our rationales are tucked between our sheets, sleeping in our subconscious. I remember the many stories (or rather, judgments) I told myself as to why people would eat alone: No friends? Are they lonely? Do they not like people? Or, are they simply taking a break from performing, not realizing that they do not need to perform? Some, none, or all these suggestions may be true AND it is, really, none of my business. The question begs, Why was I spending even a second of my time thinking about…THEM?
Now I have my answer. Avoidance. Resistance. Denial. I was judging myself for not having the courage to eat alone in a public place. Little did I know that in just a few short months, I would be taking ACTION and spending an entire week alone in a strange land, many miles and rivers from home.
Just me and “The Power Of NOW” by Eckhart Tolle. It’s an oldie, and I saved myself in those lonely moments with the power of presence and non-resistance to a heart wounded on so many levels.
For those that don’t know, my husband of eleven years and I are going our separate ways. It would be easy to avoid feelings through addiction and not go through the pain of a breakup and the fear of being alone. But Tolle reminded me,
“When there is no way out, there is still always a way through. So don’t turn away from the pain. Face it. Feel it fully. Feel it-don’t think about it. Since it is impossible to get away from the feeling, the only possibility of change is to move into it; otherwise, nothing will shift. Keep putting your attention on the pain, keep feeling the grief, the fear, the dread, the loneliness, whatever it is. Stay alert, stay present-present with your whole Being, with every cell of your body. As you do so, you are bringing a light into this darkness. This is the flame of your consciousness. At this stage, you don’t need to be concerned with surrender anymore. It has happened already. How? Full attention is full acceptance, is surrender. The acceptance of suffering is a journey into death. Facing deep pain, allowing it to be, taking your attention into it, is to enter death consciously. When you have died this death, you realized that there is no death-and there is nothing to fear. Only the ego dies.”
And then, my old friend and poet said this…
“Knock, and He’ll open the door. Vanish, and He’ll make you shine like the s un. Fall, and He’ll raise you to the heavens. Become nothing, And he’ll turn you into everything.”
Driving away from the airport into a destination unknown, I was immediately warned by the cab driver to proceed carefully. I was not in a safe city, and my naiveté could really get me into trouble. Yikes!
On my first day, I was greeted by an exhibitionist, or shall I say, FLASHER! The next day, I received a phone call that I got the home rental in San Luis Obispo: a three-bedroom facing Laguna Lake. My husband and I had taken our son fishing there just a few months prior. I remember scoping and pointing out a man who was kickin’ it, in his, then, lake house backyard. With a big dreamy smile, I said out loud, “I would love to live there, wouldn’t you?” Of course, never expecting that it would be up for rent or that I would be the new lessee. One may “think” I was happy to hear that I would be the tenant of the very house that I imagined living in, but … no. Fear sprinted through my carotid, and I almost choked.
This is it. Am I really moving out? Nooooo! Resistance proceeded, as if I had no choice.
“Choice implies consciousness-a high degree of consciousness. Without it, you have no choice. Choice begins the moment you disidentify from the mind and its conditioned patterns, the moment you become present. Until you reach that point, you are unconscious, spiritually speaking. This means that you are compelled to think, feel, and act in certain ways according to the conditioning of your mind. That is why Jesus said: “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
– Eckhart Tolle
By the middle of the trip, I began replacing the victim proverbial phrase of “Why, God?” with the conscious affirmation, “Thank You That I Am An Instrument Of Your Love.” With that, I created oneness with every person who came upon my path, asking how I may serve THEM best (silently, of course).
From that moment forward, every minute became one adventure after another. I was treated to dinner on “one of the 10 greatest streets in America,” a yummy supreme pizza for lunch the following day on The Hill; and when I parted ways with my new found friends, I was gifted a silver cross strewn with fresh water pearls that wrapped around my wrist. I had spread love to a community in distress, delivering flowers, wine, and a Rumi poem to a person with the ability to be the change that the desperate and aching souls needed to see.
“Out beyond the fields of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”
The night before at the restaurant, Blueberry Hill (also a music club where the rock’n’roll icon, Chuck Berry, performs every third Wednesday), the hospitable couple and locals of the Mid-western city had asked for me to accompany them to help bring peace to the mayhem. My heart leaped, “YES!” That is, until the next day. I called my mentor the morning of, asking, “Am I really going into this craziness?”
Her response was, “No better place to be.” After all, the fear that we resist, will persist.
By the end of the trip, I knew the city better than my own. I became a listener, as people told me their stories of grief and trouble. I realized that I didn’t need to say much, (that’s a first), just Being was enough.
To say that I conquered my fears of being alone is an understatement. I finally welcomed the fact that we are never truly alone, and when our Christ Consciousness is claimed, we leave a place better than we found it.
On my way back home to Cali, I looked up from my airplane seat and met eyes with an ex-boyfriend. It didn’t surprise me. As we chatted, it was a perfect opportunity for me to see that the only moment that is real is the moment here and now.
So, my friends, by the grace of God, I am moving on.
With all my heart,