I know fear intimately. We have had a long association which means that my fight and flight system is a well-oiled machine. During the Canterbury earthquakes it got a real work out; I still prick up my senses and react like a Meerkat when I hear a rumbling noise. I consider that is a positive thing as I may need to flee, seek protection or take action. But my unhealthy relationship with fear started at a very early age to deal with the rigours of my home life and the carnage that followed.
Fear has been a constant companion, holding me in its grip, masquerading as an invisible dark presence that would take over without warning, sabotaging so much of my life.
As I mentioned in Part 1, I have two women to thank in part for my sanity, rescuing me from the abyss of fear - Martha Beck and Caroline Myss.
They inspired me to create a set of characters which enabled me to see fear for what and who it really was. Through this process I have been able to shine a light on the darkness that so often pervaded my being.
Martha Beck, who is a Life Coach of worldwide repute, writes in her book, Steering By Starlight, about our 'lizard-self' and suggests to her readers that we give our lizard-self - our fight and flight personality, a name. Thanks to Martha, I was able to put my over active imagination to good use and visualise my lizard-self.
In a previous blog, I introduced you to the Critical Critic. Here is another of the troupe, I would like you to meet Petal. She is a resplendent, iridescent, winged, fire breathing dragon. Her mantra is, "We are all going to die. The sky is falling, the sky is falling."
She looks very much like a combination of Dame Edna Everage and Patsy & Eddy (Absolutely Fabulous). She is a drama queen.
Petal was in her element during the Canterbury earthquakes and when I am a passenger in a car. Her nostrils flare and she pulls herself up to her almost fullest height, puffing and snorting; ask anyone of my family about how much they 'love' me being their passenger. But Petal is at her most resplendent when I get on board a plane.
Flying or the thought of flying before I discovered Petal, was an event that brought on severe anxiety. When on board the plane the only thing preventing me from running screaming and yelling during the flight was that there was nowhere to run to.
Poor Jon... my hubby. His hands would be squeezed within an inch of their lives especially during take off and definitely when landing.
Me... Olwynne... I love the 'thought' of travelling to other parts. I even like the 'idea' of flying. Petal however does not. That all changed a few years back, when we travelled to Australia to visit family. We boarded the plane at Christchurch Airport and the aircraft had just pulled away from the terminal when Petal turned up in full force. She had been lurking around in the background huffing and puffing about how I was putting her in danger by taking her on the plane.
The irony of this is that she flies all by herself. She has enormous wings and like Petal, I have had many amazing flying dreams throughout my life and I love them. The feeling of soaring the skies and the freedom that comes with it. She loves that too. Neither of us like someone else being in the cockpit and us not being in control.
Back to the plane. She comes into my view anxiously looking around and cocking her ear to one side then the other, "What was that? Did you hear that? OOo there was a bump."
By this time my heart is racing and my palms are sweating, but I am wise to her by now.
I stop her in her tracks and talk to her with a firm voice. I really surprise myself.
"Petal, you have to stop this. There is nothing happening here that requires your attention. We are taxing to the runway. Everyone is going about their normal business. If that changes and the cabin crew or captain tell us that we need to act, I will need you, but otherwise until that happens, go back to sleep. You are spoiling what is a great experience for me."
She looked hurt for a bit and then she nodded in acknowledgement that I was right and everything was ok. A few times throughout the flight she poked her head in to see what was happening and I would reassure her that all was well. We landed in Melbourne and I can say in all honesty that it was the first time I had ever flown and hadn't wanted to abandon ship mid-air.
Since that day I have flown to Australia by myself and it was great. She was there with me, only this time she flew alongside the plane and loved every minute of it.
Having her with me reminds me of the wonderful movie Pete's Dragon. Petal is my Eliot. Like Pete, I needed her when I was a child because there was a lot of reason to fight or flee.
But I am a big girl now, I wear big girl panties and I just needed to let Petal know that I am all grown up and can take care of myself.
We go flying together and watch each other backs. She still does the 'what was that' stuff but not as often and we laugh when she overreacts and it is nothing.
She has helped me to see that if something is going to happen there is not a lot I can do about it and what I imagined, might never happen. If I continue to live in fear, then I will miss what is happening and that would be the greatest travesty of them all.
We're off now. We have our Biggles goggles and flying helmets on. The wind is up and the sky is blue. Off into the wild blue yonder!
See you next time, when I introduce you to another of the voices in my head.
Please feel free to post your comments below. I love knowing your thoughts, insights and ideas.
~Author~ Olwynne Cade
Olwynne is a Spiritual Teacher, Spiritual Past Life Regression Therapist, Certified Holistic Life Coach,
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