Monday, June 6, 2011

Dancing to the Music of the Unknown

I've spent a good deal of my life looking at the relationship between fear and the unknown, learning to calm the anxiety that comes up when I don't know what to expect, or how to behave, simply by normalizing it. Until recently, I figured that was the best outcome - normalize fear as a reasonable response to the unknown, and then just get on with things.

Turns out, that approach takes way too much effort. Normalizing fear puts a box around it, gives it a label I can live with; but the fear is still there. I'm just using tricks to get over it, under it, past it, setting my will and intent so that fear doesn't keep me from totally missing out (curled in the fetal position or hiding behind some tree).

I thought that "grit my teeth" strategy was working - but I've recently figured out it's really kept me away from the unknown far more than it has ushered me into it. I might dip my toes in, or peek around a corner - but again and again, I've sought the comfort of the known to help me assuage the discomfort of the unknown. And in doing so, the known stays my focus.

While leading a healing ceremony last week, I discovered a whole new approach: let that initial flare of fear signal where the unknown can be found, but then let my curiosity, my love of learning, and my determination for excellence open the door. It's not a muscling through type of thing - it's delight and questions and humility. And connection - especially connection.

In fact, connection is the key. When I'm convinced that I'm all I have to rely on in this world, that throws me back into the known every time. When I'm actually connected to Spirit, trusting that Spirit and I are in a dance together, then the unknown becomes the music, the invitation to movement, the guide that takes me into partnership with Spirit, showing me the way.