Isn’t it funny how sometimes one simple thought can evoke the most emotion? An unmemorable movie I watched last night (the name of which I have already forgotten!) used a quote from Henry David Thoreau that immediately tugged at my heartstrings: “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” I cannot honestly apply a single emotion to that statement, only that I have been lost for a gazillion years and I am still trying to understand myself. How lost must I be to achieve understanding?
If you have never watched the movie “Defending Your Life,” (1991, Meryl Streep and Albert Brooks) watch it. It is funny, sweet, and thought-provoking. This movie toys with the idea that when we die, we have to defend all the actions of our life to determine if we are ready to move into the next life phase. Prosecutors pull events from your life and ask you to explain. The underlying question for these events is why were you afraid? It suggests that the only way to move forward is to have overcome fear. For whatever reason, that premise was an eye-opening, heart-stopping, knock-my-socks-off, kick-me-in-the-you-know-what, slap-me-silly kind of wake-up call. Fear. I realized in an instant that it has controlled my actions throughout most of my life. And that awakening pointed me to perception. I doubt that anyone who has known me over the years would believe that I lived in fear.
If you have read my blogs, you already know some of those fears – the fear of not being enough, the fear of losing my father, the fear of failing to name only a few. It is gut-wrenching to actually say those out loud. Yet, I have moved mountains to face them and accept them. I cannot say that I have overcome them, but I do believe being aware is half the battle.
So, I wonder. How many of you can own up to the fears you are facing or have conquered? I doubt there is anyone on the planet that has not been at the very least annoyed if not destroyed by fear. Or maybe that is a personal hope – that I have not been alone in this journey. Even though I would not want anyone to endure real fear, I think it is doubtful that anyone escapes its brutality. If I have learned anything in these twilight years, it is that facing your fears is the ultimate awakening.
Now there is a good word. Awakening. One of Webster’s definitions identifies it as the perception of something as existing or true, a realization. Another twists that interpretation to the acknowledgment of something as valid or entitled to consideration. So, is an awakening a perception or an acknowledgment? Both definitions work for me. My awakening simply allows me to acknowledge that I am flawed and that the perception of being flawed is acceptable. I actually believe it is more the norm than the exception. Even as early as ten years ago, I do not think I could have faced that realization. Understand that I do not believe my fears are flaws. It is the way I have managed them that is flawed.
The irony in this is that opening this realization to an infinite number of readers is more fearful than anyone could imagine. Will clicking the “post” button will be a personal day of reckoning? Yet another one of my protective shields of armor will peel away. Soon the very soul of this ‘rant’astic blogger will be public domain. I wonder if that will be a driving force in my readership or if it will just fire up open season on writers who make up their own words. Ah, but that is fodder for yet another rant.