Is It safe? Deconstructing habits of a lifetime and befriending fear.

If you lived in NY in the late 70’s and saw the film Marathon Man, those 3 little words – “Is it safe?” became ominous.  If you were, like me, terrified of the dentist, hearing it sent shudders up your spine. 

We register pain, fear and loss. We are living creatures with intelligent bodies.  Bodies operate without our direction.  Blood pulses, heart beats, stomach digests, and hormones send signals. 

We assign associations to pain, fear and loss. As children, our minds also operate without our direction.  Language, input, analysis, logic and intuition all influence our development. 

Unresolved patterns of feelings emanating from child minds and bodies can keep us stuck.  The question is where are we kept?  Is it safe in this place of stickiness?  Is safety really the issue today?

My intention here is to reach out to those who suffer; and to those who want more joy.  To teach, to transfer experience, to expose what hasn’t worked, to share what has from time to time worked for me and others. Sometimes I am afraid to write; and afraid not to.

Today in my meditation, I went to a feeling sense of resistance to communicating with you.  With my eyes closed, I asked the question.  “What am I feeling? Where am I feeling it?” There was a real tightness in my throat.  I asked, “What is going on here?” I saw a set of hands, felt fingers engulfing my throat, ready to squeeze the life out of me….

I look more closely to find those hands were mine – I could call them my ego hands – my subtle self -- protecting me from harm.  I ask them, “How are you trying to help me?”  They replied, “Is it safe?”

As a child not speaking was paramount.  Speaking would mean imprisonment.  Was it safe?  NO.  Those hands were ready to choke me to stop me, and to protect me.  They were there to let me know I can blow it all with the wrong words.  Do not confess.  Do not expose. SHUT UP!

There it is.

Exposing adult hypocrisy was not safe, yet that hypocrisy was all I could see.  Being taken advantage of and manipulated by adults led to massive confusion and bad conclusions about many things.  Like any good optical illusion, once you can see the duck and the rabbit, you can’t not see them.  Unless you try really hard.  Or pretend.  Pretending kept me stuck.  It kept fear alive.

I thank those hands circling my throat for letting me know they have my back.  I no longer need that protection. I no longer want to pay the price for that protection.  I invite myself to let go – those arms must be tired of holding a steady alertness for all these years.  Let go.  Relax.  Lean in.

Now when I pose that question, “Is it safe?” I have a different frame of reference.

 Is it safe?  As safe as it can be. Just ask my dentist!

What do you fear?  Where does that fear lodge itself in your body?  What is it trying to protect you from?   How is it trying to help?