the wages of fear

The only thing keeping us from being gods is ourselves. When will we learn to get out of our own way?

At least that is the thought that occurred to me earlier this week, when I was being held responsible at work for situations that were not my doing. I did some crisis building and had a good old fashioned panic attack, which I recovered from thanks to friends. But the rest of this past week, I had a good thought about why I went into panic mode.

The first reason is fear. I have fears of being reprimanded at work because I have issues over losing my job; that is, fear. I got fired from Bridge House unceremoniously and without provocation during a high-stress period when I was investing myself too heavily in the job and not heavily enough in myself. So I have a fear around the issue of getting fired.

My brain goes into a panic mode. I’m 51, it says, how am I going to find work somewhere else? How will I take care of myself and my family? And on and on until my fear has me, in my imagination, living in a cardboard  box under the overpass (that’s where my fear always ends up, of course).

But I know, from losing my job at Bridge House, that this isn’t going to happen. I lost my job; I went without a job for nearly six months, and nothing happened. It was harder to pay bills but not impossible. I didn’t end up under the overpass in a cardboard box.

So why was I freaking out? Old scripts, and overvaluation.

I run old scripts in my head. They’re not even my scripts; I just play them out because I’m used to doing that. The fact that they’re not even my scripts is not relevant to that part of my consciousness that is terribly afraid; the scripts just automatically get run.

I know that my fear over unemployment comes from my parents, who grew up during the depression, and more specifically from my mother, whose family suffered a series of tragedies that made them deeply mistrustful and fearful. Without meaning to, that hereditary fear transferred itself to me. At my worst moments the desire to be safe and secure (although we know that there is truly no such thing outside of slavery) tries to seize control of me, and when it does, I make bad decisions. Fortunately this time around I made the decision to reach out and to wait instead of act out of panic. It paid off.

The other part of this equation is manipulation. My employer, or rather my immediate supervisor, manipulated me into finishing someone else’s work through intimidation and fear.  She, knowingly or unknowingly, tapped into that fear of unemployment to scare me into doing what she wanted me to do, which is finish someone else’s work. This will not happen again.

If the old Zen proverb “The way you do one thing is the way you do everything” is true, then fear has kept me from doing many things in life. This is a difficult realization to come to.  It is true that I am making fewer decisions out of fear now. But the consequences of old decisions linger, and the ghosts of old decisions made in the past by people other than me linger in my consciousness.

These ghosts have to be dealt with, and these consequences are to be dealt with. The way to deal with them, I think, is to continue to move forward. I know what backward looks like, and I know what looking backward leads to. I know that looking into the future, when I look through the eyes of fear, only leads to crisis building.

What I do have is here and now. I have myself, and my own power-from-within. I have my true friends and my true family. I also have the knowledge that I am more than my job, more than how others who don’t know me well perceive me, and even more than I know. If I pay attention to the words of my spiritual paths, to the teachings, in both Feri and Thelema it is emphasized that we are innately, truly, and essentially divine. I know this. It is a part of me. It is me.

All I have to do is to get out of my own way.




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4 responses to “the wages of fear

  1. Z

    It might be generational. I’ve had exactly these kinds of things happen at and about work, too.

  2. I have those scripts, tape loops running non-stop. I realized awhile back that these were the ‘gifts’ of my mother( and father, but I don’t know who he is) who also had mental health issues, and for her, they were the gifts of her parents. These are hard things to deal with.

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