Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Releasing the Fear of My Own Impermanence

Preparing for a trip by plane has brought my attention sharply to the way I kick into anxiety mode around the idea that if something fatal happens to me, I am not leaving all my loose ends tied up nicely. I found myself on such a fast track to confusion about how to be responsible for others if I am no longer able to be there taking responsibility for others. The fact is so obvious: that if I am no longer there, something else will be happening and it is not my doing or choosing that will be the prevailing wind.

After a while of internally scrambling, I am amused by my grasping for control over that which is not even in existence! And beyond that, it is startling how easy it is to be willing to replace the real with the unreal! Sure there are ways to accommodate change that flow neatly into the legal system, or the family structure, or follow in a similar pattern to what might have been going on before. How things happen is not something I can predetermine though even if I finish all my plans, update all the legal papers, and file everything with clear labels.

When I fly out tomorrow morning, the files will remain as they are, the papers in whatever form they currently hold. Laws change and papers disintegrate. People come and go. Those who step in to take care of others will be missed when they disappear, but others will step in. The likelihood that this plane trip will disrupt my responsibilities depends more upon my frame of mind than whether there is some unforeseeable catastrophe.

I can let it go while I am away, knowing that I can check in if I am still breathing. I can simply go on being, knowing that the bills will wait, the unsorted details will remain unsorted unless they sort themselves. The people in my care and all their affairs will continue as they usually do, or something will spike as it sometimes does while I am wandering in a new place. I hope to absorb whatever I find; like taking a new route from one place to another, perhaps I can allow each moment to be what it is, without carrying the weight of anxiety or the fear of the unknowable.

The morning will come no matter what the time zone, and the evening will too. This is true where I am now, and will be true when I am no where. Somehow that is now very comforting after all my recent sloshing in the big waves of grasping for control and fear of death.

1 comment:

  1. it's so interesting how we all have our rituals before we travel. mine have changed since 9/11...i don't get anything in order any more. but my mom's is the best - every since i was a child, she would write me a letter -- and a separate one for my brother. when i was old enough to understand what this letter was, i felt i needed to break the jinx i thought the letter would cause. i thought the only way to break the jinx was to open the sealed envelope and read the letter while she was away. here i am at 50 - my mom on the verge of 80 - and she stills writes those letters and i still read them while she's away!