Many years ago. Self-improvement was my god. Neuro Linguistic Programming my creed. NLP the initials I relished. Learning to live not inside and behind my skin. But living in my skin. With nothing to hide.
Arrogance was on display. Control was very visible. Confidence still hid away. Scared of the light. Camouflaged. Blending in and singing along. Mouthing the words so as not to stand out and be noticed. Something was missing.
I look back with mixed emotions. But in the final analysis … It is what it is.
Too often I read words, see paintings, hear music. Words of fear. Painting of fear. Music of fear. Everywhere is fear. Camouflaged. Blending in and singing along. Mouthing the words. Scared of being noticed for what is is.
One NLP exercise was High Ropes. A totally safe activity with harnesses and enough safety to keep a young baby gurgling. Thirty feet up in the branches of very sturdy trees. Helmet. Harness. Heart thumping. Head saying “safe” over and over again very quickly. And kidding no one. Sweaty palms. Trembling muscles. Brain freeze. Controlled panic.
I learned that I fear letting go of what I know. Fear stepping forwards. Hold on to the known. In this case a tree-trunk. A solid, unmoving, going nowhere tree-trunk. My comfort zone.
That same fear overwhelmed me when I opened the door, looked out blindly and screamed Help Me Now!!
I didn’t let go. He did. He let go of waiting. He let go of hoping. He let go and moved in. Ignited a spark. Showed me how to put one very slow foot in front of the other. And then helped me place it in just the right place. Fear never left me. I wouldn’t let it. Fear has been a constant companion. Longer than Him. Because I see fear, smell fear, feel fear. Longer than I could Him.
I will never be rid of it completely. It is as much part of me as the cells of my heart. It is the cells of my heart. No matter how much prayer, songs of praise, words of hope, preach the message of salvation … it remains. Mouthing the words. Blending in. Hoping to go unnoticed.
Is fear of the devil? Is fear of sin? Is fear bad? For I have written often that fear and love are like oil and water. Love cannot where there is fear. Love cannot where there is transaction.
That same exercise I cast out fear.
Three tree-trunks. More trees. Angled upwards. A walk up one to the next and then the third. On each had been drawn an intricate pattern. A beautiful intricate pattern. Just for me. Just for this moment. A moment so wondrous all I knew was awe. That someone had placed this masterpiece of art right under my feet. My feet which lovingly stepped with great respect so as not to fray their delicacy. Too precious to merely walk on it. So precious that each step I took was my tribute to the artist.
And all too soon in the blinking of an eye … I was thirty feet in the air without even knowing how I had got there. Sad my journey had ended. Tearful this moment had been taken away. Replaced by the sights and sounds of “an exercise”. Replaced by analysis of that moment. Finding evidence of brain processes. Concluding something scientific.
In those few moments fear was cast out. And my very being was filled. Filled so full, there was no fear.
It is possible to live without fear. For a few moments it was not only possible – I did. And where there is no fear there is only love. Love and fear do not have to be fractious bed-fellows. Fear is not part of me. It is allowed. I allow. And I do too often.
I returned to that tree trunk path. What I had been entranced with were only grain patterns. Worn smooth and polished by countless boots. Worn by countless helmeted and harnessed others. A boringly normal explanation. It was just a tree. Positioned for all us to walk the walk and fight our fears. Just part of a High Ropes exercise. Nothing special
NLP went the way of many others searchings for self-improvement. Another “is this the answer” phase. Enthused and happy. Finding it helped for a while. A year or two maybe. Until the next phase, the next answer.
Until I opened the door and screamed for Him. And finally found what I had been searching for.