We don’t fear change; we fear the unknown. The shelf life on a job, a relationship or a bad habit could have expired years ago yet we hang on. We would rather slowly deteriorate than face a void where we fear nothing will exist. We remain, stuck, staring at the black hole just outside the door.
Last week’s blog caused quite the stir. After outing myself as a woman who has not felt held back by my gender, I received the most emails I had ever received. Many of the responses came from women who felt like me–and had been reluctant to admit it. These women were excelling in their careers and felt that gender had not been a deterrent. Instead, they cited tenancy, resilience, focus, and the courage to make bold moves as the reason for their success.
My favorite part of a wedding is the vows. The words, in their simplicity are deeply profound. Each time I hear them, and tear-up at the commitment between the loved ones, I can’t help but wonder what it would be like if more people made the promise to themselves. To first bond with their nature and honor it through their actions. To one-day stand in front of a mirror and say the words out loud:
“I take thee, as my lawful self, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love and honor you all the days of my life.”
I had the opportunity to go sailing last week in the British Virgin Islands. I went and left behind work, deadlines, and the everyday stresses of modern living. In the Islands, life took on a different hue. The air was warm and the ocean a clear turquoise blue. Each day we anchored the sailboat off a sparsely populated island in a cove lined with white sandy beaches. Between the heat and carefree days, my mind began to check out. It was then, that I got coached.
My mother didn’t go to work when I was young. Instead she woke up early, made us a brown bag lunch, drove the carpool to school, and went home to clean the house, grocery shopped, and ironed my father’s button down shirts. By the time we got home, she would be sitting on the couch, engrossed in the Phil Donahue show, while she directed us to do our homework. Shortly after, she’d freshened her makeup for my father’s arrival and began to prepare a sit-down family dinner.
This morning, I took a beach walk. The high tide from the night before had ebbed to a fresh palette of sand and the only creatures on the beach were a few birds and a distance dog walker. Still in a bit of a slumber, I heard a noise, looked up, and saw the white spout of a whale as its dark back surfaced from beneath the water. I reacted as I always do when glimpsing the majestic mammal, with a spike of adrenaline and an audible sigh. My physiology changed in a breath.
This week, I wanted to write something uplifting. After all it’s spring, most of us our celebrating some form of Easter or Passover, and in Southern California we have had a break in the rain. Yet, although I try to focus on the positive, I find myself vibrating with a new kind of fear. As I make my way through my days, I am afraid to look at the news that regularly pings on my cell phone– and I’m afraid not to.