Struggle with Fear

(Written in October 2003)
Yesterday evening was pretty good. I felt quiet & peaceful & tired. Made supper, enjoyed the sunset, read and washed dishes. That’s how I’d like my life to be. Woke OK this morning but then hot flash and fear which faded. Sat up & did the forward bend. Still some edges of fear — lay down again & tried to bring compassion to my discomfort but couldn’t really feel it. Alas I seem to have beginners’ luck with these things. They work brilliantly the first time & then don’t work again. I guess I must have some expectation for how it’s “supposed to be”. I wish I could wake up in the morning feeling comfortable and then get up because I want to instead of making myself get up because it’s become too uncomfortable to stay in bed.
I don’t know how I’m going to get through this day. Maybe I should do an “ashram day” — meditation, reading/writing, housework. There are a lot of little nibbitchy things that need to be done that would fit in just fine.
Neighbor dog barking. Bring compassion to poor Jenny whose nervous system reacts badly. There, there, dear, you are not in charge of how you react, only in what you do with it. There, there, dear, it’s painful to be so sensitive.

Feeling so sad about the state of our planet — the enormous numbers who are suffering from war, famine, refugees, and all the animals & plants that we are destroying in our greed and ignorance. I can feel how much I love the earth and how sad I am because of all the suffering. I need us to be acknowledging our interdependence, and cooperating for the greater good of all of us. I had a strong sense of oneness — how what we do do the creatures we do to ourselves. I have a feeling of carrying the planet — our desperately wounded planet — in my heart. I’m staying with the sadness as best I can while going on with the housework. I feel the fear that just staying with it, and not doing anything to change it, means I’ll stay stuck in the sadness. Bring compassion to that fear.

Feeling pretty bummed out. Can’t tell any more if I’m sincerely staying with my pain about the world or if I’ve just got lost in my own misery. Bring compassion to the misery, bring compassion to the sadness. There, there, Jenny, you’ve been frightened and sad this morning, easily upset… And the phone rang, and it was Kayla. I told her what was going on for me and she gave me a quote from Pema Chodron: “The problem is that the desire to change is fundamentally a form of aggression toward yourself.”
Paid all the bills. Got in trouble trying to reconcile the account in the computer — failed to check off one deposit — didn’t see how to go back and change it. Burst into tears and I continue to feel upset. I think I must be very angry at myself — first for making the mistake and then for letting it upset me so much. I tried reading Pema Chodron (Things Fall Apart) but it didn’t help. Just another assignment that I’m failing at. She talks about seeing ourselves with both clarity and kindness — and I think I’m doing that and it’s hard work and it doesn’t make me feel any better. I want to feel better. I want to be a different kind of person. I want to be able to live in the moment ——
Actually, I’m not looking at myself with clarity — I’m too caught up in how awful I am and how painful it is to be me. I feel like I’m just grinding myself down, and I don’t know how to stop it.

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