Friday, October 18, 2013

Pressing the PANIC Button

Have you ever wondered whether or not you would press it? If you were seized with panic, and you saw one of these, what would you do? If you did push it, what might happen? What sort of response would you expect?

Relieved to Wake Up, this morning, I opened my eyes from a dream, where I'd been gripped by a sense of panic (and I don't recall any reason for it). Along with the powerful effect of this emotion--in my dream--I'd been staring at a Panic Button on the wall. 

I was standing there deliberating over whether, or not, to go ahead and push the button. I was trying to gauge the extent of panic I felt; wondering if it was actually severe enough to set off this alarm? But I couldn't make up my mind what to do. That's when I woke up. 

Immediately, I went online to find the exact button, that I'd seen in my dream. Row after row, of different panic alarms were featured. I asked my husband which one he liked best. 

"I don't like any of those because they don't look like they would work." he said, eliminating a series of rows with the sweep of his finger, "I'll take this one." He finally said, stopping at the one that's illustrated, above. I love his pragmatism. It never occurred to me that it might not work!

I am fascinated by the difference in our perspective: I wondered if I should actually push the button at all, and he wondered if it would work when he did push it. Neither of us said anything at all about WHAT we expected to happen, IF we did set off the alarm. But there was an underlying presumption that if it worked, then some sort of response would follow.

The most interesting thing about my dream, however, is what ended it. It was my serious deliberation about actually pushing that panic button, which jolted me AWAKE. When we ask for help, it doesn't really matter what form our 'asking' takes. Our plea is heard because we asked. On the verge of non-specific panic, I was rescued from dreamland. 

Isn't it similar in waking life? Whenever we avoid panic, or anxiety, or pain, it festers. As soon as we face it and begin to pay serious attention (however this might manifest), the pattern begins to shift. The tightly wound fist in our chest begins to loosen and the fingers begin to relax and open. This allows the issue, itself, to breathe, and our feelings can gradually expand into the space that is created. Whether 'the issue' is visible or invisible, infusing space into any dilemma allows perspective to expand. It 'clears' the air.

The panic button offers us a way to officially acknowledge--and validate--the seriousness of our circumstance, or impulse. Contraction can only have power over us if there is no way for the tightly held energy to relax and release. It does not matter whether the perception of danger is real or not. The importance lies in our response. 

Opening to what's terrifying us, in the first place, is the starting point. Peeking behind the veil of our panic is the only way to do this. Our sense of curiosity may be utterly stifled by our terror. This can make it seem that we are powerless with no way out. When we feel helpless to take steps on our own, then naturally we look outward for assistance. 

A hand held out to take hold of ours, in return, can offer permission to explore even the most paralyzing fear imaginable. That's why Panic Buttons exist. They simply take a more human form, when we turn to each other--being there to care, to reach out, and to connect.

Perhaps its not about how the button looks, OR 'if the button works'. Maybe the very idea of a panic button, is simply a way to give ourselves permission to NEED something. Or someone. And to admit this is to press the invisible button with the force of our yearning...

Such permission is always just a push of the 'button' away!

Sunday, October 13, 2013


"Obsession by potentiality."

BUSTED! I've been almost drunk on 'potential', on the verge of losing myself in fantasies of 'what might be' for a month now. My island getaway on Whidbey Island is just a week away and I don't want to ruin it by riding the runaway horse of Imagination. Today I saw an astrology column that said this:
There's such a strong sense of potential in the air, 
it's a bit difficult to stay on track 
with current reality. 
The mind and heart continue 
to want to live in the possibilities that lie ahead." 

Pam Youngans

But how can you not be excited? Or not have images flash through your mind? I have dreamed of going here for years. My aunt is in an Extended Living center in Seattle. I'm going to visit her, while having this getaway as my homebase. Why not? Sometimes I wonder if the 'real vacation' is this time I've spent longing and imagining it all. I have done so many things and gone to so many places. I have inhabited my downstairs unit and it wasn't even raining in my fantasies (although it probably will be during the time of my actual visit!!!).

We've all had the anti-climatic experience of building something up so much that it's a huge let down when the real thing arrives.

But I'm good with whatever it might be. This whole adventure (going off by myself, to 'places unknown' and discovering whatever I discover) IS THE TRIP. So it's not about what I find when I arrive--as if THAT might bestow happiness. It's marveling at the moment-by-moment wonder AS Deep Presence saturates every instant of the journey itself. 

By being each moment (something I'm learning to do in life anyway) there's no horizon ahead and no wake behind. It's all just 'this wave cresting'. And what an amazing moment each one of them IS, from such a vantage point!

I am keenly aware that this 'problem' doesn't actually exist, anyway, since there can be no 'future that might be ruined, nor any 'dreams come true' that might unfold. There is only and always this one single, infinite and irreplaceable moment. And IT carries no charge whatsoever--to the extent that we fully experience it (fully ARE it). 

Fully showing up for this 'one & only' moment means being so totally IN and OF it--that any evaluation or measurement, any proclamation of worth, can only occur before/after the actual instant. Because the actual instant is uniquely, simply, & exclusively WHATEVER IT IS. 

Being such Deep Presence, eclipses the tendency to 'lose our self' into identification with whatever's going on. This does not imply a self-immersed stance that becomes polarized, nor distanced, in any way. It's just the opposite. We become THE FLOW itself, rather than somebody who is focused upon 'the particulars' or 'the predicament'.

Trusting this--because it's what I find to be true throughout the moments of each day--eliminates concern, anxiety, and energy spent falling into the temptation of fantasy OR reverie, whenever it offers its allure of promised reward.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


If I don’t ‘pick up’ the scripts that say 
I need to judge something, 
or feel bad/good about it, 
problems fall away at an alarming rate!

It’s been a year since I retired
A sort of easy relaxed acceptance of my laissez-faire existence is settling over me. It doesn’t feel good or bad. It’s just how it is. It is a relief to simply admit that I am content with life as it is. YES, of course--in a perfect world--there are things I would change if the push of a button could make it so, but since it won't, I’m good with it all: AS IS. Whew--can it really be this simple!

I do not live my life by typical standards. Rarely have I done so, if ever. Even as a kid, I harbored secret fears that I might be “found out” if anyone really ever knew what my days were like, my family, my heart, my thoughts, or my dreams. But how many of us actually DO live our lives by 'typical standards? Is there really any such thing as 'typical'? 

What if 'typical' is just a scare-tactic word, created by an insecure society hoping to reign in those who dare to question the status quo, rattle the cages, or break familiar molds?

Solitary time has always been my refuge. I grew up in an atmosphere of turmoil at home, and crisp order at Catholic school. FREE OPEN SPACE was what felt REAL to me. It was the territory where I thrived. It was wide open and utterly lacking in judgment or demand—like the acre of land we bought when I was 6 years old.  

Growing up in the company of Eucalyptus trees, like a grateful weed, roaming vacant lots, my brother and I were wild and every day was an adventure. You could still see the purple mountains in the San Fernando Valley because Smog wasn't a word in our vocabulary yet. (see Eucalyptus Days for a peek into that world!) After 40 years in the work force (and I count 40 hours a week at school as part of 'work force') having a couple decades to do whatever one likes--seems fair. I am relishing retiement! 

Next month I'm flying to the San Juan Islands to fulfill a life-long fantasy of escaping to a  place of solitude and freedom. I can do whatever I want with the 'money & time' that I've saved up. WOW. There are no more standards to cage me in. I'm home again...Look our Werld: Here I come!!!!