Anyone can slay a dragon… but try waking up every morning and loving the world all over again. That’s what takes a real hero. ~ Brian Andreas
Since those close to me and I first started talking about doing a fundraiser to help with my overwhelming medical costs, I’ve talked about ‘pulling the trigger on this fundraising thing’. I hadn’t given much thought to the language I was using until a friend posted the above quote on facebook this morning. What was I aiming at? What was I planning to shoot with my trigger finger? It seems I have a dragon to slay and a beautiful, hand-engraved invitation to ‘wake up every morning loving the world all over again’.
Let me back up a bit. For those of you have followed my journey, you may recall that when I was on the ventilator I had a clear opportunity to lay my burdens down and choose the ultimate peace that I could sense filled the space behind death’s door, or to choose to climb back up that long ladder into a life that was much less certain, and potentially full of much more pain and struggle than what beckoned there at the edge of being and non-being. My memories of my journey in that unconscious state are filled with metaphorical dragon-slaying. I was fighting my darkest demons. Truth is, I’m not even sure yet what those demos were… I just know they scared me so much I was very tempted to give up just to make it stop.
When I did choose life, I came back into a world that showered me with love from the farthest edges of the globe all the way into the circle of friends and family closest to me. My very most inner circle saw me in my darkest hours. I think the darkness that still haunted me was working like a shadow cast on my nearest and dearest and it brought out some of their demons too. Some of it was physiological as I was dealing with some PTSD type flashback stuff, a bit of depression, anxiety, and was in a very fragile physical state, yet some of it was my doubts about choosing this challenging world we live in over the ultimate peace I sensed I could have had. How do you help someone in that state? Do you make them tea? Do their laundry? Do you just leave them alone and hope it goes away? What about when they’re awful to you? Do you forgive them? Do you use it as evidence for your worst thoughts about them? That may seem harsh – yet when dragons are around and the slayers exhausted and hungry, they aren’t always on their best behavior and don’t always act rationally, reasonably, or kindly. I know I didn’t.
As I prepared to ‘pull the trigger on this fundraising thing’ there were so many dragons to slay: dragons of irresponsibility, weakness, exposure, fear of being judged, fear of the greater impact on my family, profession etc. I had to slay the dragon of blame: blaming myself for getting sick, my insurance agent for not getting back to me, my ADD and ineptitude for not having insurance firmly in place, and our US Health Care system for being the way it is. I had to slay the dragons of doing it alone, giving up, greed, limited dreaming, and undeserving. No wonder my hair was falling out! That’s a whole weyr of dragons to slay!!
Finally, with the help of my friends and family, we launched… ‘Pulled the trigger’, so to speak. My bills are just beginning to be reduced/forgiven – much more to come there. We’ve raised over $13,000 from the generosity of friends and family. There are still $73,000 worth of bills. We set a high goal for fundraising and a high goal for getting the bills reduced. My intention is to find a place in the middle – between what we’ve raised and what was forgiven – where I take full ownership of what’s left and pay over time without losing my home or going bankrupt.
There’s a piece of pride and integrity in the middle of this that I hold onto like my friend Caroline says the world-class rower holds onto her oars. The expression is “don’t kill the sparrow”, but rather hold it in your hand so it can wiggle around and stay alive. If you grip it too tight, the sparrow dies. Too loose, and it flies away. If I hold that pride and integrity like the rower holds their oars, I will keep my dignity, receive fully, slay my dragons, and keep my heart in a place where I can ‘wake up every morning loving the world all over again’. Sounds simple, yes?…maybe more simple than easy!
As each day passes, and the amount of money donated rises, new dragons emerge to slay. It’s funny to me how I can set a goal then get freaked out and take my foot off the gas as we get closer to the goal. I start to think I shouldn’t want to reach it… that it’s greedy or selfish… taking the easy way out of the mistakes I’ve made. (See? more dragons!!) When I slow down and give myself a break, feel the immense gratitude in my heart, and forgive myself and our system for this situation – it feels easier to receive, to dream, to let go of worry and suffering, and just love what is.
As a coach I’m curious ~ What dragons are you slaying? How are you doing at waking up every morning loving the world all over again? Where do you take your foot off the gas when daring to dream? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Thanks for reading, supporting, slaying a dragon or two with me, and being heroes and heroines in my life! Thank you for your generous contributions to helensfund.org.
With love and gratitude…