Sunday, January 29, 2012

Internal Security Service

I came into this world equipped and programmed with a system that is still functioning today. I'm naming it my Internal Security Service, or ISS for short.

Just this morning I recognized how it is affecting my life.

You see, like all people raised in a family with the community support of church and school, I am programmed.
For the most part, this programming has been to my great benefit.  It has shaped my conscience and behavior and allowed me to enjoy a content life in society.

The ISS has helped me to develop a life that feels relatively comfortable, stable and happy.  On the other hand, it has constructed walls and doors with alarm buttons to warn me of dangerous territory.  Discovering these doors is a brand new awareness.

Today I discovered my first door, with a giant red alarm button.  The name of the button is intimidation, and whenever I act in spite of experiencing a feeling of intimidation, the alarm goes off.  If I am brave and walk through the door and keep on walking, the sound fades and I find myself in a new place.  It's disorienting at first.

Let me explain.  I'm beginning to recognize why I've created patterns of living that have become my circumstances.  In some ways I've been negatively influenced by society and have developed the response of wanting to huddle in a sanctuary.  All of this home-making business is about creating a peaceful, comfortable sanctuary.  And I enjoy this part of my life very much.  While enjoying my home, I also recognize that I'm easily intimidated by certain issues.  Talk of money is one.   My financial health has been stable because of the work my husband does every day.  And that's okay with me.  As long as I don't fall into the trap of wanting extra material things like new carpet and kayaks.  I would like to be a Buddist and release my need for anything, but I'm not there yet.

Someone can say the word "taxes" and my ISS button sounds the alarm.  I immediately want to run for cover.  My mind rolls out a litany of complaints: "Taxes! Oh no, please let's not talk about taxes! I am ignorant about taxes and I know it involves numbers and you know I nearly died of severe anxiety attacks in math classes!" 

It's a fact.  Somewhere during my lifetime, I was intimidated either by a math teacher, my parents, the text books or the tests.  I developed a strong distaste for all things number related, except for my phone number and address.  Today I realized that this is the stupidest fear I continue to feed.  I want to kick that door open and keep on walking despite the anxiety and the alarm bells ringing.

Let them ring! Today is the day I'm going to look at my taxes.

There are lots of other things that set off my ISS system.  In my new awareness of how the system works, I intend to keep busting through those doors until only the sight of a Tsunami intimidates me.

I'm simply tired of letting things my ISS says limit my life.  Self control is healthy and normal.  It is safe.  It is also sometimes the thing that holds me back from experiencing extraordinary moments.

Today I woke up an ran under the cold stars at 5:30.  It was dark and so fresh.  It felt like being home in Michigan.  There was no traffic and I felt more alive on that dark road under the dim streetlamps than I have in months.  When I came home, my face was cold and my heart was happy.   What had that ISS been warning me about?  That it's dangerous to run in the dark?  I kept on going through that door while the alarm bells rang and rang.

I can't wait to notice when that old feeling of intimidation happens again.

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