“Let go, grandma,” I shouted into my grandmother’s ear. I had to pry her gripping, waxen hands from the railing, but it was the only way to prevent her from falling. We were on line at the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland, Florida. What possessed my mother and I to bring my two immigrant 80-year-old grandmothers to Disneyland, and in particular, the Haunted Mansion escapes me now, but this scene has become a great metaphor for me when I find myself fearfully gripping for a stable hold in the midst of life changes.
My grandmothers were “bubushka” types — short, round faced jewish women from the old country, who even having lived in America for 50 years, maintained thick accents and even thicker customs. This was their first time at an amusement park and my mother’s mother, who we affectionately called Grandma T. (short for Trattner), was very hard of hearing in spite of a hearing aid.
The railing that she had grabbed for was attached to the concrete floor that didn’t move; unfortunately, her feet had already stepped onto the floor that did move. We had been standing in line for an awfully long time in Florida heat, so perhaps that is the excuse for my not paying attention to what the attendant kept repeating over and over again, “Please watch your step. The floor moves to bring you to your seats.” I was so grateful to find myself out of the sweltering heat, that it did not occur to me that my hard-of-hearing Czechlosavkian grandmother, besides being completely unfamiliar with moving floors, was also unaware of the repeated warnings. It therefore caught me by surprise when I sensed some commotion behind me and saw the attendant attempting to save Grandma T. from falling as she held steadfastingly to the railing while her feet were propelled forward.
I think of this scene often when I find myself gripped with the fear of life’s changes. In an effort to “stay safe,” and as others say “remain small,” I hold steadfastingly to “limiting beliefs” and the “what if’s” instead of trusting in *Hashem’s mindful directing.
I am but an actor in the play of life, everything basically determined and purposefully plotted out — my only part is to track and trust the the direction, to step onto the “moving floor” of life and recognize that “Someone” knows my destination. I can even call out “whoo, hoo” and enjoy the ride on the magic carpet of Hashem’s world, noticing the miracles which are the revelations and sychronicities of divine providence.
But only if I let go of the railing and center my feet with awareness on the task at hand and put my trust in the Director. I can allow for fear but also choose to open my mind’s eyes to the true knowing that there are higher reasons for things than what I see with my limited physical eyes.
But I have choices: I can choose to grip the railing and resist fearfully while my feet continue to move. My back may start hurting in this position, my jaw may clench and result in a migraine. Or, I can take a deep breath, say “whoa, how interesting,” and notice with curiosity what the circumstance may be asking of me.
The act of trusting that there is a Director, who as of yet, remains hidden from the scene, can provide me the spiritual “eyes” to notice the direction that the flow is taking me and the divine providence of this direction. As in my musing, Awed by Affirmations, I wasn’t worried about my flight. Instead, I was amused by the alignment of my “escort” affirmation and Angel, the cab driver, returning me to the airport.
I invite readers to experiment with these small steps of awareness that may allow them to loosen their grip on the railing:Take a deep breath and simply ask Hashem “what is it I need to know?” These words are an invitation to the Director to open your awareness to the next small step in the co-creation of your life. You may hear a soft message within your mind or just a “knowing” of what you’re being invited to “play with.” **
- Notice what you are being drawn to that brings you a sense of wellness in your spirit or a sense of joy in your body. Is it a class, a nap or a used book store? If you are being drawn to a class, perhaps your knowledge of a certain subject will bring you to a new, easier way of handling something in your life. Or perhaps your body and mind are tired and a rest or more sleep will give you the clarity you’re desiring. For myself, used book stores were a treasure chest of findings and each finding led me closer to what now brings me tremendous joy — life coaching and an introduction to an exciting community of like-minded, spiritual people.
- Untangle the fearful thread of thought with a friend or life coach. Lean into the discomfort of the fear by taking a deep breath and asking what the fear is trying to teach you. Is it showing you that you are relying on a person instead of Hashem to fulfill your need? Since Hashem gives us everything we “need,” how can you get your needs met in other ways than what seems difficult in the moment? Is there an easier way to go about what you are trying to do or get? Do you even need that thing, or is it just inconvenient at the moment not to have it? The deep breath puts you in the parasympathetic nervous system of rest and digest, which allows your mind to open to an array of possibilities.***
- I find affirmations helpful. I use them as personal prayers to the Director (Hashem) , who is running the show. “No” may be the answer, but at least I’m bringing a healthier energetic state into my body by choosing a more positive, trusting thought. “Hashem makes this situation easy to resolve” or “It is easy to breathe in this moment” helps me remember and tap into divine support.
These are just a few suggestions. Stay tuned for more in the future as I continue to catch myself fearfully gripping that railing as I’m propelled forward.
As a spiritual being having a human experience, a soul in a body, I hope to keep finding ways to release and trust the Director. After all, Hashem seems to want us to continue this process of fear, trust, fear, trust and uncovering our inner gold along the way.
* Hashem is the jewish way of referring to G-d
** “Play with” is a coaching term that helps someone attempt a new approach to something from the less serious mindset of “work with”
*** The parasympathetic nervous system is restful as opposed to the sympathetic nervous system, which is adrenal based and based on fight, flight or freeze (like a lioness resting as opposed to hunting). When we are in fear mode, we take shallow breaths, our bodies prepare to fight or flee, and our minds are closed off to intuition and possibilities.