There should be a bold, red warning right there on the packet:
Caution! Embarking on a journey to follow your dreams and live your greatest life possible may cause extreme swings of emotion and moments of utter fear.
It’s true. Sometimes following your own yellow brick road you will have moments when you feel like Superman, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. These will be those moments when everything in life and the universe conspires for you and you feel like the powerful, awesome being that you truly are. Aren’t those the greatest? I mean, aren’t they just?
The ones I struggle with, though, are on the other side of the spectrum. On this darker side of the pendulum, I go from feeling like Superman, to finding myself suddenly quivering in the darkness of my metaphorical closet. I’m sitting there in the dark, hugging my knees and listening fearfully for any indication that the axe murderer, my worst fears, are about to, horrifyingly, find me.
As I sit there straining to hear the heavy footsteps in the corridor outside, I fearfully wait for the moment when the cupboard door will creak open, and I will be found.
If it is in fact the axe murderer that finds me, it might almost be a blessing, because then at least the worst will have happened and I can get busy dealing.
But often, I am even more scared that the cupboard door will open and it will be some kind soul, who heard a funny noise in the cupboard and has come to investigate. Their perplexed face will appear in the crack of light, asking me if I’m okay, and worst of all, asking me what I am doing in the closet…
Then I’d have to explain to them how afraid and scared I am sometimes, how the uncertainty of stepping into the unknown just gets the better of me at times.
In this world with its emphasis on positive thinking, manifesting abundance and putting on the cloak (the red cape?) of success every day before you leave your house; there is nothing worse than having to admit that sometimes you, in fact, can be found in your closet of fear.
Now, I know that the “axe murderer” is mostly my ego and that in truth I am always protected and cared for. It is precisely for this reason that it is so much harder for me to accept those shivering, scared closet-moments. They shouldn’t happen.
Doesn’t their mere existence prove that I actually do not believe enough? Or that I am not evolved enough? Or worst of all, maybe they mean that I’m not cut out for all of this “saving the world stuff” when I can’t even save myself from the closet and the “axe-murderer” outside?
Maybe we should accept that there will be closet-moments along the way and shine a torch-light of compassion and kindness into that closet. Maybe we should even (and this is an absolutely crazy idea) tell each other about them, because the judgments that we make about them are part of the problem, I think.
Maybe the closet moments are all part of being human, and being real, and being vulnerable.
I’m not advocating spending our life in the closet, but maybe we also shouldn’t expect to live our lives feeling like Superman every moment.
If we accept that both of those extremities —and all the other moments in between— have merit and are perfectly valid responses to the amazing paths that we’re on in our lives, it becomes easier, I think. We don’t need to be perfect. We just need to be… whatever that moment calls for.
I think the truth is that maybe even Superman really <em>needs</em> a nice safe, dark, closet, where he can hide and reflect and shake with fear without feeling too bad about it.
Maybe those moments in the closet are what ultimately give him the power to put on the cape and fight evil and rescue distressed damsels and be a force for good in the world.
I’ll be in my closet, pondering all this, if you need me…