The missing post from a few days ago; apologies if it's a little flat now, after all this time ...
Safety -- it doesn't exist.
Now, we all spent a fair amount of our childhood absorbing parental advice along the lines of "Look both ways." And we needed that, because kids do need to learn to be careful. Moment to moment, it makes sense to take care of yourself and not risk unnecessary injury.
But for me, at least, all of that input got translated into a belief that absolute safety actually existed "out there" as a concept. That, although absolute safety was a goal only achievable by the perfect, it was a goal that could be approached arbitrarily closely, given enough effort.
Yet that's not even a little bit true. We will all die. Our family, our friends, our pets, and ultimately, ourselves.
Now, I didn't go into all of that to bring people down, or to suggest that we should all go skydiving without parachutes. But, if you decide your life won't be complete without trying skydiving, then it might be time to go, because I don't think they'll let you, after you're dead.
But my real reason for writing all this concerns a growing awareness that has developed in me over approximately the same time period as I was realizing my childhood error about safety.
I've realized there's something larger than myself. Okay, yeah, that sounds like I was pretty stuck up, before, but never mind that. In fact, I think it's fairly common to feel like the world is centered on ourselves, especially when we're anxious. Everything narrows down to whether or not our particular fear will come true, because to us, it's a survival issue.
But, I believe, inside each of us is a place we can go where we can feel the connectedness of all things, the peace and acceptance of being part of ... Everyone? and the comfort that that brings. We're all a part of something moving, and it doesn't matter what you call it. We spring up, we do our part, and we are reabsorbed, but no matter what, it wouldn't be the same without us.
That simple belief gives all sorts of benefits. Now, safety doesn't have to mean living forever, it just means doing my part in the flow, and that can't be prevented. It also means that self-esteem is automatic: I have my flaws, and I have my good points, and they're both just a part of me. My worth comes simply from my having a place in the flow, just like every other person. There is no "better" or "worse".
So, for me, it's as if I've just realized something I knew all along. It's an odd feeling not to need all the reasons I've spent a lifetime trying to find. Nor do I need a lot of words to describe it to myself; in fact, it's hard to come up with adequate words to describe it to others. Though, as is my tendency, I have tried. :-)
Of course, it's not like I'm suddenly "cured": I have a lot of habits to unlearn. I still get angry at insults, or sad at feeling useless at my work, or tired of not having the life I want.
But at least now, I feel like I know where I'm going.