Today I continue my exploration of the poem from the Introduction in Paulie and Me:
Viewing him soar in spite of clipped wings, Paul taught me to fly
The image of me flying, my human body soaring through the air, arms spread wide conjures up fear. Even when I stand firmly, I feel it physically as though the earth has dropped away from my feet sending me to plummet.
By his encouraging example, I believe that Paul teaching me to fly has been a journey in overcoming my own fear. If I am not afraid, what would stop me from doing anything? Lots of things scare me, even writing these blogs; my vulnerability laid out on these pages in crisp black Open Sans font for all of you to read.
At times I’m not sure what scares me more the things I fear, or the uncomfortable sensation of fear itself. Fear is not just in our minds, it hides in our body too, sending out signals that we often are not even aware of.
One good example of that was early last year in January. The chapters for Paulie and Me were written and my manuscript was coming together. For several years, I had been visualizing the publication and felt quite clear on what my next steps were. I was ready and impatient to take the next step and begin the tasks involved to publish. Quite suddenly a red itchy rash appeared on my neck and face, leaving my eyes swollen shut most mornings. For over six weeks the sensation to scratch my face off became quite literal. At the same time a head, sinus, and chest cold showed up and joined it for about five weeks.
I felt physically beaten and knew I needed to do something positive to purge my body of the negative energy. So, I committed to practicing a daily yoga class by following Gaia’s online – Yoga Every Day. It wasn’t long before I started to notice some distinct changes and improvements in my body.
A few weeks later the morning practice was titled – Hip Openers for Devotion. Several times during the class, the instructor asked us to notice what emotion we were feeling in our hips. At first not feeling much of anything except their objection to these difficult poses, I groaned. Then slowly I became aware that the emotion of fear had begun oozing from my hips. I knew what it was… It was associated with the next steps of my book, Paulie and Me. Feeling the emotion in my hips, I realized that I was terrified. So much so, that my anguish rolled down my cheeks and my shoulders shuddered with it for the remainder of that practice. Over the next few months it was my awareness and surrendering to this fear, that enabled me to strip its power over me.
A short time later I was helping my brother Paul prepare for his first ever surgery. When he turned to me and quietly confided that he was afraid, I was surprised. I can’t remember ever hearing him say he was afraid before; he’s my strength.
Paul is why I feel that I can fly. I am strong because Paul is strong. He rarely complains and smiles all the time. He loves everyone. He doesn’t hold grudges and is happy. As I watched him take longer than the other kids because of his special needs, to learn to read and write and add and subtract, I knew then that we could all fly. Throughout my life I have watched Paul soar. I saw it during his years of working and how he supported himself financially and I saw it with his friends and the way he maintained his own happiness. Paul doesn’t get angry or resentful with life. He accepts most everything that comes his way.
I am truly blessed to have Paul as a teacher and guide in life.
What about you? How does fear affect your life and how do you overcome it? I would love to hear your stories and comments.
Author, Bernice Ranalli
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