I never thought fear was a part of my life. In fact, I do absolutely everything I can to get the most out of life. I do it so much so that I’m often tired, but I don’t care because I’m getting the full experience of everything life has to offer. I love that more than any feelings of tiredness.
I was at a Landmark Forum Seminar session, and I heard the leader speak about hearing her mother tell her to lay off potatoes and bread when she was a child because she’d “put on a few pounds.” Now she’s overweight and still hears her mother’s words. That moment lingers with her until this day. My mother did similar things like telling me not to eat this or that, but it didn’t sit with me the same way. I had another experience in my life whose effects stay with me day after day.
When I was in college and had a rupture in my brain, what I heard was, “You’re sick. Be careful. You’re brain damaged. You will be at risk for seizures the rest of your life. Be safe. Stay home and out of any harm’s way.” From that time labeled myself as sick, incapable, of less value, and that I needed to live scared. I spent a number of year’s doing just that. I stayed home, didn’t go out late, made friends with anyone who would friend a sick girl and overall undervalued myself and my life. I didn’t want to be arrogant, brazen or anything else that would anger God and make me sick again. Although I know I this experience didn’t happen in my life because God was angry with me, that thought has lingered in my mind.
I knew I was under-experiencing life. Over the years, I found confidence, security, and the desire to experience life no matter what. I’ve done just that! I dance tango, travel for dancing and for seeing new places. I do seminars, write, exercise, go out with friends and have them over.
It makes me laugh a bit because when I was safe at home, my parents complained because I was home too much. Now that I go out and stay busy all the time, they complain because I over extend myself. I told them no matter what I do, they won’t be happy, but I am! Grin. Grin.
I tell people that however much my head injury experience was a hindrance on life, I still have no problems because there are so many people with bigger problems than I have. People have AIDS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, all stages of cancer, and many more terrible conditions. People have died young from what I survived, which breaks my heart for them and their families. It’s all so sad.
No matter what my past choices have been or what people around me are experiencing, the truth I’ve never admitted even to myself is that the choices I’ve made to stay home or live life to the max is because I’m terrified. I’m living afraid something else will happen to me. I’m afraid that I’ll have a seizure while I’m driving or swimming or some other time that I won’t be safe. I’m scared we won’t be able to keep the seizure activity in my brain under control without extreme measures. I’m so afraid of the possibilities of what could happen to disrupt life that ever since my seizure several years ago, I haven’t stopped living to the MAX out of fear.
I never realized this until I heard the seminar leader speak. Something about her story about putting on a few pounds struck a cord with me. After the Seminar, I talked to the session leader about what she said. She helped me see my fear and accept that something could happen to me, but it could not happen to me, too. I may be fine for ever. It’s okay to enjoy life but I don’t have to go around being scared. Living terrified, is living in the story and emotions of what happened to me. I had brain surgery and I take care of myself to prevent further injury. The rest is a story that I use to justify my actions when it really doesn’t mean anything. I know it’s hard to see how your emotions about a major life event don’t mean anything, but they don’t other than act as a driver behind your behavior. They serve as baggage for life.
Now I have more clarity now and ability to admit that I’m so scared. When I say it, it’s power over me goes away. The position fear has as my motivator diminishes. I have a new space created in my life to be free from all-consuming fear. Now, I can live my life to the MAX in the new realm of possibility of doing it by my choice, not out of the story of living from my fear.
Are you maxing out on life, or not, and what is causing you to do so?