It’s Halloween. The spooks are out. But I know people who live in fear year round. It’s their base. They do life from a haunted house.
Sometimes there are more than 6-year old Elsas and Peter Pans and Ninja Turtles to be afraid of. Aging without a well-thought out estate plan, divorcing at mid-life (heck, divorcing at any age), marriage (“Hmmm…should I suggest a prenuptial or not?”) or evaluating proposed settlement terms which will impact you for years to come all can produce rapid heart rates and sweaty palms, as if a monster just jumped at you and yelled, “BOO!”
Recently I overheard someone in a Chicago airport breathe a sigh of relief as she talked on her cell phone and declared, “I’m less frazzled now that everything has come together.” Obviously she had feared a calamity of some sort, which didn’t develop. But what if she had known that going in? Or what if she approached the calamity as if she did know that would be the outcome? What level of stress might she have simply bypassed? Because after all, doesn’t it usually? One way or the other, don’t things usually come together, even after the most fear-inducing prospect or event?
I thought about that on a subsequent trip when packing to return home and my key fob was not to be found. It was an international flight I’d be catching and I couldn’t afford a leisurely hunt for the blasted thing over coffee. But it was the only key remote we owned at the moment and after landing in Chicago, the car was still a long way from home and how would I get in and do you even know how expensive those things are and I’m not going to have time to stop at Starbucks now. But then I stopped. I pictured the woman breathing relief into her cell phone and decided to believe and act as if it would all come together eventually. I calmly searched the hotel room and left. I searched my carry-on in the taxi and chatted with the driver on the way to the airport. I searched the bag I planned to check while in one of 8 lines in Vancouver (I’m not kidding. I counted). And safely tucked in the bottom of a pocket in my large suitcase was my little key fob. It all came together.
“You can operate from love or you can operate from fear. What’s it going to be?” Jen Widerstrom, personal trainer.
I loved my time in Vancouver. I loved riding in a seaplane for the first time. I loved the seafood I ate there and the great colleagues with whom I interacted there. I love being healthy and at peace. This time, I chose to operate from that place and not from fear.
Unlike the Halloween ghouls, there are real and significant opportunities to feel fear. What if you face the spook–even ones far more significant than a lost key fob– and make a decision to act from love and not fear, with the calm assurance that it will all come together?
I can tell you that I have reacted differently to fear-inducing events in the past. Giving into the fear and approaching something close to panic is miserable. But can’t we know, really know that everything WILL come together? Has it actually ever not? Think about something you were off the wall wigging out over a few years ago. First of all, how fascinating it is that you had such trouble remembering something?! Doesn’t that suggest that things actually do work out, one way or another? And what benefit might there be for your own health and peace of mind, or your children’s or spouse’s or colleague’s, if you declined the meltdown? No donning the wicked witch of the west costume for Halloween or otherwise this year! Let her live in a haunted house if she wants. You have a life to live from a place of love—for yourself and those with whom you interact.
Wishing you wisdom,
“100 years from now it will not matter….” Forest E. Witcraft.