Yesterday was a travel poster day in Austin - bright blue skies and warm air. Yet I spent the entire day on the sofa under a blanket, self-medicating with cheese grits straight out of the pan while watching "Eat, Pray Love" on mute.
Of course I tried to analyze my condition. This is what I do - I observe, I label, I categorize. Making lists has always created the illusion of security in my life. Even as a small child, my lists were my lifeline - nothing could be forgotten or lost. When I don't know what to do, I make a list. And the another, just in case!
But as I began slowing returning from my attack of extreme inertia, I saw that this "anxiety attack" is all about "the list". You know, the list that is on every magazine cover, the topic of all talk shows, that crown of all lists - Resolutions.
As a dedicated list maker, it isn't surprising that a list of New Year's Resolutions would be the cherry on my holiday dessert. Every year, that list has felt honorable, noble, responsible. The individual entries have been refined as I have changed, but the overall tone has remained the same. And now, I am seeing its truth for the first time.
Lists are my tangible evidence of feeling in control and the Resolution List is the way I have felt in charge. I could decide what I wanted to change, to amplify, where I would place my focus. This list of changes has become my personal manifesto, my own declaration of what is important to me. The list was my proof - I was IN CONTROL.
But I have changed. I see that the time on my sofa, semi-comatose, has not been a time of retreat, but actually, the hours of a full out war being waged. A battle plan that has been refined endless times during the past six decades is in the process of being dismantled. The new plan being suggested is untried - there is no body of evidence that it will work. Everything in me has been screaming, "Don't go there... It's not safe!"
This began a few days ago, as I listened to Vanessa Stone talk about entering this year empty - no agenda, no calendared plan. An empty cup waiting to be filled. As I felt these words go straight into my heart, I knew this is what I want for this moment. I want to be open to something I have not yet seen. I want to enter this year without my list, my agenda, my grand illusion of control. I want to step into each new day with wonder.
I am terrified.
I know I have written all year about facing fears, about change, about seeing new directions. But nothing has prepared me for this griping fear. I realize that exploring this with words has been an entry point. As I typed out each new awareness about this journey, I was beginning to open to the courage of investigating further. Words on a computer screen let me glimpse through the cracks, checking out a new land. There is a sense of safety in writing - I can observe from a safe distance.
I have no idea how this works - those of you who are already on this path are so invited to send back a report.
I only know that as I write this, I am less frightened. More curious. More Open.