It Is Only When We Run That The Creepies Run After Us
Adrenaline starts pumping and it is our hard-wired signal to retreat. Quite naturally, we move away from things we are afraid of. But what if this instinctual reaction is not always in our best interests? To flee from a rattlesnake makes sense, but what about our imagined fears and perceptions? They seem so real, but are they? What if the further we moved away from these fears, the more they gained momentum. Rather than quelling our demons, we are actually fueling them. We give them power by playing their game. To take back our power, we literally have to stop the game.
But how do we stop something that seems so convoluted and feels like it has a life all its own? Feeling is the key to unlocking the maze. There is no short cut. Unless we are willing to go there, and feel, we don’t have a chance. This does not mean we talk about feelings or discuss fears. This is about the willingness to connect in a very real way to the body, not the mind. This entire process takes place below the neck, not above it.
My own experience of this has never left me even though it happened thirty years ago. The year was 1968 and I was living in New York City on the top floor of a six-floor walk-up. Being alone was my greatest fear and I avoided it at any cost. I kept myself
constantly busy. I worked during the day and had plans every night. Whenever there was a possibility of being alone, somewhere out there in the distance, I could detect rumblings of feelings I did not want to feel. But I felt pretty safe. I had adjusted my life to make sure it was packed to overflowing. None of those feelings were going to get me!
And then one night, plans were cancelled and I found myself alone. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. I felt anxious and was encompassed by an overwhelming desire to flee. I immediately called my friend Ruth and told her I would see her in an hour. There was a winter storm howling outside but that wasn’t going to stop me. I hurriedly shut the door to terminal loneliness and catapulted down the stairs two at a time.
I stopped suddenly on the fourth floor landing. As fast as I was running, that’s how abruptly I came to a halt. For the moment, I was immobilized, not quite sure what was happening. And then I heard myself saying, “I can’t. I can’t run anymore.” As I turned around and headed back up the stairs, I could feel the onslaught of what was to come.
I never even bothered to turn on the light or take off my hat, coat and boots. Dressed in full winter regalia, I plopped down in the middle of the floor and said out loud, “Okay, come and get me! I’m tired of running. If you want me, here I am!” Something glued me to that spot. It was as if I was sitting on an energy field and as long as I didn’t move I could ride the momentum of what was happening.
As the feelings came, somehow I knew not to fight or try to figure them out, but just to let them be. Sadness and loneliness enveloped me. I wondered how much more intense the feelings would become before I was annihilated. I could feel all of it congealing, gaining critical mass. Was I going to implode?
And then, something changed. Just at the point when I thought I might die from the sheer intensity of the feelings, they peaked and flipped out the other side. They diminished so quickly, I found myself smiling. Not only had I survived, I felt like new life had been breathed into me. There was a moment when I tried to grab for what had hurt so much, but it was gone. I knew the game was over. I had stopped running and the creepies had lost interest.
Today, I still sit down in the middle of the floor and say, “Come and get me!” It seems to be the quickest way I know to confront the demons. Besides, I know it works.
from Reality Works - Let It Happen Copyright Chandra Alexander