The upside of having been neurotic for the greater part of my life is that I can recognize neurotic behavior from a distance. I can tell you this: we live in an ever more neurotic world. It seems neurotic is the new normal, or maybe it always was this way, maybe I just was so immersed in it that I did not see it. I was fearful of a wide range of things. My fears kept me from living the life I wanted to live. I saw problems everywhere, and focused on them with fervor. I had a very fixed sense of reality and wasn’t aware of how I was limiting myself. I was constantly worrying and always stressed. Does any of this sound familiar?
Everything is either rooted in fear or in love. With love, I don’t mean the mushy, meddling kind, the I-love-my-kid-so-much-I-worry-about-her-all-the-time kind of love, or the I-love-him-so-much-I-don’t-want-him-to-leave-me kind of love. That’s not love, that’s a control issue. That’s fear disguised as love. Love will not worry, not fear, not stress. Period. Love will trust that all is well. Don’t get me wrong. This trust is not passive, it is not fatalist. This trust is active, it is following our heart even when it doesn’t make sense yet. It is understanding that we are all geniuses in our own way, that nothing is impossible, that there are no dead-ends. It is knowing that we have great power, that we co-create this life experience, that we give meaning to our own lives.
There is a quote circulating the internet. A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but on it’s wings. We have forgotten that we have wings. Somewhere along the line, we have come to believe we can’t fly. But the fact that we don’t use our wings, doesn’t make us flightless, it just makes us move through life less effectively. Ever seen an eagle climb a tree? My point exactly. We have wings. The great news is that we don’t need to grow wings, we only need to use them. We may need to grow some muscles, but we have wings. We can fly, we can soar.
I had forgotten my true nature, I had forgotten that I have wings, that I can fly. As a result I felt deeply unsafe, and had an equally deep need for control. Things are changing. I am moving to the other side of the spectrum. I still have fears, but I don’t attach (much) weight to them anymore. I can see them, I can feel them, (if necessary) face them, (mostly) ignore them, (usually) not give into them and choose a (more) deliberate response, choose a response rooted in love, choose to trust even when it doesn’t make sense yet.
Have you ever seen baby birds? Before they can fly they will stretch their wings and hip on the branch, mimicking flight behavior, until their wings are strong enough. Then they will just let themselves fall of the branch and fly. In this neurotic world, this is our choice: are we going to sit on that branch fretting about whether and when it will break, or are we going to face our fears, focus on love, exercise trust, jump of that branch and live?
Image by Juha Soininen