It comes in waves…some small and easily let go of…others mighty and powerful and oh so hard to not let drown you, toss you around, throw you face down in the sand.
I remember when Noakai was a few months old…I suddenly began to feel very fearful….maybe it wasn’t suddenly….maybe it was there lurking in the darkness for a while, taking advantage of my exhaustion, my weakness at that time little by little… until the wave rose so high above me that there was no escape.
The fear consumed me. I began to think at all times of the day that an earthquake would occur, could occur, might occur….While out driving I would constantly look around me to see how close to buildings we were, lamp posts, bridges (underneath bridges was the worst)…I would wonder how quickly I could unbuckle Noakai from his baby seat if suddenly one were to occur. This uneasy feeling that something could go wrong or would go wrong was constantly with me…a shadow following me, it’s darkness grasping at me incessantly and whispering…“We are coming to get you…”
Out walking with Noakai I would be certain someone would be following us….a person, a car…a white van I was sure of it. It was frightening. Here I was with this overwhelming feeling that I had to keep Noakai safe. I was his mother, his protector, I was taking care of him, I was responsible for him….what if someone came to get him? What if I couldn’t keep him safe? My heart was pounding and my breath shallow…What if I couldn’t prevent the worst from happening?
At this very time I had ordered a new mattress. It was delivered to my apartment and I was very excited to get it. As I guy brought it in I noticed the tag on the side. It said “polyurethane” and some other “ingredient” I can’t recall. Instantly the wave of fear rose inside of me…”Polyurethane?! Polyurethane?!?!! What the hell was that exactly??” I had to research this….was it safe for Noakai? I obsessively began to research this on the internet…and it did not look good. “Chemical” and “sick” and “toxic” were words that swirled around in my mind making me dizzy. I lay awake at night sniffing the air for chemicals…..the mattress had that new smell that new things have and my vivid imagination had images of Noakai’s little body being filled with this impure substance emanating from our new mattress. I had to get rid of it (although it was very comfortable) and find a “healthy” mattress. I decided on an organic, cotton futon mattress. Within 2 weeks I had a buyer for the “chemical” mattress and it was gone. Even before the new one arrived I had a subtle sense of trepidation which I instantly brushed aside. It would be perfect and Noakai and I would sleep beautifully every night on this hand tufted, organic cotton lotus mattress. Fast forward a week and it was the most uncomfortable mattress I have ever slept on. Even back when I was traveling in South Africa and staying in hostels were the beds more comfortable! I had that futon for a good year and a half and there were many, many, many times I would think of that new mattress I sold and wish for it back! Eventually a wonderful friend (feeling sorry for me I think!) bought us a new one. “Heaven” is all I have to say to that.
Needless to say it was hard living like this….in such a fear filled world.
The one night I woke up with a severe pain in my right hand. Lights on I see that I have been bitten. A red bump and rash get bigger and bigger on my hand. I run to my neighbour who confirms it is a spider bite.
Of course I never found the (god damn) spider, but it shook me up. Another neighbour at the time, a psychic lady told me it happened to shake me out of this state I was in…and that a spider represented creativity. I needed to get creative. As an artist it was always healing for me to paint…to use color. I remembered how important this was for me. I discovered more on the spider meaning:
When the Spider appears to us, it is a message to be mindful of the choices we are making, to be mindful of our behaviors – be smart about the life we weave for ourselves. It says to ask yourself: How are my choices affecting my life?
Something within me shifted. I told myself to stop, just stop thinking about all the awful things that could, might, would happen…I needed to trust again….to find my faith again…in myself, in life. I wanted to weave a different life to this…
It is so hard when you have a child to let go of that inherent fear that something might happen. It is so hard to even leave him with a babysitter at times, to get in the car and drive away and do what you need to do…each moment taking you physically further away from your child. I have learned to breathe in those moments and let go, continue on and simply trust. For what is the alternative?
And I know that fear just attracts the very things you fear….and I don’t want to feel drowned again by that wave, that shadow, that darkness.
In Australia years ago I remember being terrified of the huge spiders there…the Huntsman Spiders. One day whilst sitting in a cafe eating an omelette, I looked down to see a big spider inside…really I did…right there cooked inside my omelette…the next bite would have been the spider. And it was big. I was surprisingly (amazingly!) calm and called the server over who turned white as a sheet and looked like she might faint. She took the plate away and came back a few moments later to ask me if I wanted another omelette to which I politely replied: “No, thank you.”
A couple of weeks later my fear had shifted to cockroaches (they were so big) and while I was in the middle of a mosaic workshop mixing together this powder with water…a big cockroach suddenly appeared…in my bowl…dead. Not in anyone elses bowl…just mine. (There were about 15 people in the workshop).
Needless to say I committed to letting go of my insect fears in Australia.
The dark forces of our fear can be a good thing, if they drive us to new heights, to take action regardless, to be the best that we can be. None of us can avoid it. But when the fear begins to affect our daily lives, our very breath, our words, our voice….then we must do whatever we can to find peace.