In Defence of Fear.
One of the most interesting parts of this adventure so far has been seeing how different people react when we tell them about it. And I suppose the reason I like this part so much is because what often ends up happening is that the person I'm speaking with starts thinking or talking about what they'd do if they threw a little caution to the wind. Sometimes, just as quickly, they'll start to list reasons why they think they can't do it. Some people say things like: I'm not as fearless as you. That seems to be a common misconception: that, somehow, we need to be fearless to make big changes. I don't actually think that's true at all.
On most days, at some point or another, I get scared up to my eyeballs. It's been almost 6 months since my paps died and, though my mum and I are doing much better than we were, I still worry about us, and about him! Is he OK over there in the other realm? (My feeling is there's another realm, by the way, but I can certainly understand why someone would believe otherwise) And will WE ever be OK again?
And then there are worries about the move and this project. What if I don't get everything done in time? What if we don't make friends over there? Dear God, please don't let my mum and me turn into Grey Gardens. Not a week goes by where I don't ask myself why on earth I came up with this cockamamie idea.
But I don't think we're supposed to be fearless, are we? I don't think that's how we're designed. And isn't that kind of the whole point? Aren't we meant to try to figure out ways to move forward, to grow and evolve, to do the things we want to do, in spite of our fears, in spite of our doubts, in spite of what the annoying critic in our head says?
I've been thinking about all of this a lot lately, and there's an image that keeps popping into my head, and I'm going to share it with you even though I suspect it might sound silly. The image is of me in a rowboat. And in that rowboat there's me but there are also all the different parts of me. There's my fear in the rowboat. There's my grief. There's my doubt. But there's also creativity, wisdom, humour. And my job is just to row that boat, to get us where we need to go, to take all of my different parts along for the ride with me. To know when to say: Ok you guys, settle down and let me focus! To make sure nobody gets thrown overboard.
We all have a choice, right? To just let our rowboats drift randomly, or to say: I think this direction might be good so I'm going to try it. And maybe it'll work out, and maybe it won't, but I'm going to give it my best shot.
And that's pretty much what I've been thinking of on my second to last week in Montreal. Rowboats. Me in mine, my mum in hers, my friends and family in theirs, you in yours. All of us, with all of our emotional baggage, paddling our stinkin' arms off, doing the best we can, trying to make sure nobody tips over, and, occasionally, getting a good gust of wind to help us along the way.