Archive | May 2012

Choice Made From Fear

My mostly solitary life continued through high school as I became enamored with the study of literature. My family moved near the ocean when I was in the tenth grade. I had never seen the ocean and it was the beginning of a love affair that continues today (but that discussion is for another time). Then off to college I went scared yet determined. Early in the college experience a leadership desire arose even in my shyness. At one point I was a residence counselor but it became apparent my introversion led to my being seen as aloof and judgmental. Although at the time I did not think that was accurate maybe those were characteristics that developed as a result of my feelings of never fitting in with any group. College started out as an adventure and road to freedom but by the end I was in a dark place confused and unhappy.
The need to make a decision about what to do with my life after college paralyzed and depressed me. A degree in English Literature does not provide one with a multitude of job opportunities but the thought of graduate school caused the fear of not being good enough to resurface so I made no decision.
Now a new pattern (maybe not new but one I begin to recognize at this point when I look back on my life) began. That pattern is a period of indecision occurs with my mind jumping back and forth with all the pros and cons and finally an impulsive choice is made. In this instance out of desperation I made an impulsive decision to take a job teaching in a high school in a rural community. They did not require a teaching degree. I had no teacher training at all and there I was facing 10th and 11th graders. It was a disaster that blessedly did not last long. However, another seed was planted. Parts of the experience of teaching and standing in front of a group resonated in my heart and waited for fertilizer to activate it.

Have you ever been paralyzed by the fear involved in making a decision or choice? What has been the result? Have you found ways to move through this?

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Heartbreak

Events in childhood can influence the path we take through life (or the way we walk the path) and even deepen aspects of our personality. I became shy – an introvert – and did not easily reach out to others. I did not have many friends. I began to use books, stories, poetry as an escape. Another avenue of pleasure was music. My family (mother, father, brother) was very involved in church and especially music. I sang in the choir and also in the chorus in school. Music touched my heart but even there I was not good enough in my mind. My mother was an accomplished singer and played the piano; my brother was a talented singer and played the guitar. Dad sang in the choir and in a barbershop quartet. Somehow I decided I was the untalented one. The blessing in all this was that I had loving parents who always supported me no matter what and extended family that did the same thing. To this day I believe it is in that love that I first recognized the love of God.
During middle school an event occurred that deeply impacted my heart. An African-American girl in my class tried out for the cheerleading squad. She was very talented but the spot went to someone less talented that was white. It was my first experience with blatant racism. My parents never taught us that a person’s value was based on how they looked. I was horrified, mystified (this was the North not the South) and again disappointed with others. At that point my belief strengthened that it was not worth the risk to trust others in friendship. Yet if I look back now I recognize that early the concept of Oneness was seated in my soul waiting to be understood more fully.

During this time the seeds of joy were planted through literature and music. If you look back in your life do you see points where seeds were planted for positive and negative feelings? How are those seeds affecting your life now? If you believe in the Oneness of all, can you see when those feelings began to arise in your life?