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Dissolving (Intergenerational?) Fear...

I’m reminded this morning of how intergenerational fear is, even as (sadly) we experience it so exquisitely alone.

As a little girl, I feared dogs, being bitten on the way to school. I feared swimming, not being able to swim. I feared not being enough as I was, compared to my elder sister. I feared not being loved, being left behind. I feared hunger, feeling shaky-light-headed. I feared pain, even my own body. Eventually, especially my own body. As I awakened to body's gifts, I feared desire, my feelings, feeling-doing the wrong things. Most of my fears came cloaked in that overwhelming fear of shame. I am bad, ugly, unwanted.

This morning, entering into the practice of ego-relaxation within Miranda Macpherson’s teachings, it dawned on me anew: I didn’t come into this world with these full-blown fears. (Or maybe I did, depending upon your cosmology). Fear is so clearly intergenerational, a natural way of survival-mechanisms attempting to preserve Life. One of the questions: Who does this fear belong to? As I sat with each of my earliest fears, I felt connected to my mother's journey of fear.

She has faced a lot of fear, even as an incredibly high-functioner amidst those fears. Active eldering in church. City Councilwoman for 14 years. Active politician in multiple campaigns. I don’t think she had the fear of dogs that I did—she didn’t get bit by a St. Bernard, protecting new puppies, when she was 2 or 3—but swimming, being ‘not-enough’, being unloved or left behind (or trapped), hunger, her own body, mortality? I’d say all those are her fears, in some fashion. She was absolutely insistent we learn to swim. She said she feared the water and didn’t want her children to be afraid. So she taught: function past the fear. Which I learned well.

Today, I sit with the invitation into a spaciousness beyond my fear, feeling it connect me to generations of my own lineage, my own ancestors. (Chapter Two, The Way of Grace). I honor that little girls (all small children) most surely pick up the fears that are around them, so to learn from them, even to participate in healing the family line. I was/am an intuitive, empathic, deep-feeling human being, so of course I would feel the fears of my mother. My father too, for that matter. As they probably inherited their fears from their parents, even from elder siblings. Fear can be so very contagious, after all, which also means it can serve transformative purpose.

I’m already reframing my own body learnings toward courage, contentment, compassion--in CrossFit, amongst other practices. What might beckon in graced fearlessness, I wonder, not only for myself?

For now, I smile at a spaciousness in practice, a sense of melting inside, honoring something deeply alone within me. No longer alone.

Never was, but it's easy to understand why we think we are. David Whyte comes to mind...

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the

conversation. The kettle is singing

even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots

have left their arrogant aloofness and

seen the good in you at last. All the birds

and creatures of the world are unutterably

themselves. Everything is waiting for you.

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