Into the Arms of Fear

Other than flying out to California to visit my mother Leona when she was dying of cancer, tomorrow will be my first time on public transportation since I was shot in the head in 1984. I was shot in New York City and early tomorrow I am taking a train to New York City. I am giving a speech there tomorrow. The chilly veil of fear has me thoroughly engulfed, but I am allowing it no decision making power.

Over the years I have learned that, with rare exceptions, the healthiest way to manage fear is to stride into it, not away from it. I particularly love the phrase, It’s okay to be afraid, don’t let it scare you. It is a phrase that underscores the notion that we have a relationship with all things and, in this case, with fear. Relationships can be healthy or unhealthy, including those we have with our emotional conditions. And so, tomorrow I board a train and travel to NYC. I never thought I’d be able to do this. But, as Nelson Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until its done.”

Lest you think I have not prepared, let me assure you I have. Today I drove to the train station so I could go inside and see it and familiarize myself with it. I picked up my tickets so the task of doing so in the morning would not sit in my mind and morph into an event that would be highly problematic and, well, scary. I scoped out the parking area and visualized myself walking from the parking area to the train. I saw a newsstand and a coffee counter and, to my delight, realized I could buy a New York Times and coffee there in the morning just like my Dad did when he worked in NYC. There is something comforting to me about the presence of newspaper stands and coffee counters

I will be getting up early and so have pulled my small coffee maker out of the cabinet and have it all set up so when I wake up I will push the button and speed the comforting aroma of coffee into my day.

I will, of course, bring a book and my journal along with a twig  from my father’s grave. While I am damned scared at the moment, I somehow know I am going to have a wonderful day tomorrow.


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