One of my subscribers (and old time friend :)), Kat, commented on my last blog post: “ … I find that the older I get the more fearful I become. I wonder if it’s part of the aging process.” This wondering has sparked my curiosity for a long time. I think it was from reading The Soul’s Code by James Hillman that my own inquiry started. If I remember correctly he posits that when we become elderly our so called ‘social veneer’ lifts and what we are left with to participate in the world with is our true character. So if what we have presented with in our lives consists of a character mantle that covers unfinished personal work, we then are faced with the uncomfortable truths at the end of our lives that we didn’t work on before.
Part of my observations since then have been to assess what make up these character mantles (my term, btw). They consist of ways we all manage the discomfort that life presents so that we don’t have to do the needed soul growth work of learning to become ‘comfortable with the discomfort’, which is part of the path of self acceptance. These management tools can include denial, procrastination, blaming, guilt etc, etc. When I work with people I notice that fear comes up whenever we come close to the idea of letting go of those tools and choosing tools that provide an opportunity to embody being congruent; ie: walking our talk or being comfortable in our own skins. So I could assess that Kat is onto something wondering if that growing fear is part of the aging process.
I want to say here, as well, that my musings do not discount other explanations of more fear with aging that could include bodies aging and the physical consequences like chronic pain, or hormonal and neurological changes. I just know that what so strongly interests me is the spiritual/intuitive component in the machinations of our character so that’s what I ‘glob’ onto.
Recently I have been re-reading the book The Language of Emotions by Karla McLaren preparing for a presentation I am giving at a retreat in March. What she says about fear is that when that emotion runs through us, it can indicate that our intuition is telling us something. And…Caroline Myss suggested at one point for us to ‘deal with fear as a form of instruction’. Now, that is what I deem exciting. It certainly motivates me to move towards the idea of walking this inquiry in wonder rather than fear! I also know that it takes a lot of courage, maybe some work with a spiritual advisor 🙂 and, what Karla calls, internal resourcing to be able to allow the fear to run through the human system without reacting in old ways; like “No WAY am I going there!” or in panic, despair or in any other default response we have to fear.
I’d love to hear your own musings on this, dear ones. Blessings be with you and yours.