Spiraling out of control

“I think I’m going to give alcoholism a try,” I say only half-kidding. “I think I’ll just drink myself into a stupor for the next two weeks until I board the plane and then suddenly I’ll wake up and be home.” A concerned face stares back at me.

My fist is clamped so tightly my knuckles are starting to crack. There’s blood dripping on the floor. Auto-pilot has kicked in and Fear is behind the wheel. All of my default coping mechanisms are warming up and coming back to life. Avoidance, desperation, and insecurity – they’re all cooperating and working together as the plane takes a nose dive with me in it. “You’re spiraling out of control,” she says gravely, worry furrowing her eyebrows. Sisters are often like a mirror and I’m frightened by the reflection I see peering back at me.

She’s right. The downward spiral has begun, taking on a familiar taste in my mouth. I’m scared to go home. I’m scared of goodbye. I’m afraid of not going home. I’m sitting paralyzed by this fear, unable to see up for down and failure for freedom.

Love, on the other hand is sitting beside me calmly, barely cupping her hand around my squeezed fist with the white knuckles. I’m screaming at the top of my lungs with my eyes closed until I think I can’t draw another breath without smoke filling my lungs. All of the alarm bells are sounding and this is not a drill. We’re going down, yet she’s just sitting there, unmoving, holding my hand in hers but not taking control or stopping the plane from its fatal fall.

Fear, however, has come over the loud speaker and is yelping with glee. He’s clapping and doing a little happy dance as Avoidance and Insecurity shift all of the gears into Self-Destruct mode.

Do you notice a recurring theme around here lately? How often do I have to talk and write about Fear and Love before I get the message?

“Let go,” Love leans into my ear to whisper gently. “Open your fist and let my fingers fill the empty spaces in-between yours.”TheBarefootBeatAvignon, France 2013

I keep my eyes shut but nod ever so slightly as I slowly unclench the grip around my heart and place it in her open palm. She takes my empty hand in hers and safely tucks my heart inside her chest.

Suddenly the speakers go silent. The cackling noise disappears and the alarm bells stop ringing. The erratic plane slowly begins to level out with the beat of my pulse. There’s still quite a bit of turbulence because Avoidance won’t give up so easily, and Fear is a trained hijacker, but Love is back in control.

I look at her tranquil expression every few seconds, reassuring myself that she’s still there, holding my hand. And she is. Smiling back at my panicked face, not saying a word but filling my heart with courage. I’m safe in her care.

I will buy that plane ticket home.

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