This morning, while contemplating the phrase, “I am innocent.” I began to feel that familiar hard knot of anxiety in my solar plexus. I sat with the feeling to let it clarify itself. It began to claw its way up to the surface of my consciousness. I knew I needed to pay attention this time, no more locking those old feelings in a concrete vault in my gut.
Fear was looming large today because I am being invited to do things that are super scary for me. I know I want to do the scary things, and in order for me to do them, I must work through the fears. I have learned that if I work my way backwards in time that I can locate the first time I felt so afraid. I ask myself, “When was the last time I remember feeling this way?” I discovered that it was when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I decided not to stop there because I knew there was something way back that needed a closer examination. I went back and back. It was not an easy trip, but I wanted to free myself, so I allowed time to dig in deep.
I landed on a day in June, 1970 right after my mother had spent a month in the hospital with a heart condition. I suspect her heart was broken because of what she new was going to be hard news for me. I realize this may be a rather egocentric way of interpreting the events, but it makes sense to me. I can imagine that if I had to tell my child that she had to leave her friends and that she was losing her sight, that I might have a heart problem too.
My Mom said to me, “Come into the den. I need to talk to you.” She was in a pink nightgown because she was still recovering from her hospital stay. I don’t remember anyone else being in the room but there may have been. I do not remember the exact words but she essentially said, “You are going to live with your sister to go to school so you can learn braille and typing.” I was eleven years old. I could not comprehend what she had just said to me so I made her repeat it. I jumped out of the chair where I was sitting and flew down the hall to my room. My sister met me there and I fell into her arms. I remember crying so hard and saying, “I don’t want to be blind.” I said it over and over. She held me and we cried. I think there was a whole lot of crying that went on that day, but I was interested in only my tears.
That summer I cried and cried and cried some more. I think looking back that I subconsciously began to realize that my tears were hurting the people I loved the most. I stopped crying. That was the summer I learned to turn my fear inward. I remember shivering from fear, not cold. I remember wetting the bed a few times. My mother took me to the doctor. I think it was because I was crying so much. He gave me some little blue pills. I assume it was Valium or some other tranquilizing drug. I knew then I needed to become silent, and so I did.
What does this story have to do with the phrase, “I am innocent”? It is because, I was an innocent child. I was not developmentally able to understand that it was not my fault. All I knew was that my tears made people hurt and I did not want to do that. I knew I was getting the pill so I would stop crying.
Why am I concentrating on this so much today? It is because those unshed, unwanted tears and fears live on and on in a body. They turn into concrete. They create disease and paralyzing fear. I don’t want that! I want that innocent child to fly exactly where she wants to go. I refuse to be paralyzed by fear. I have places I want to go and a thousand things I want to do. I know that if I touch the fear, I . can make it dissolve. Under the fear is that beautiful, innocent child. She has done nothing wrong and she certainly deserves to fly. I know that accessing my innocence is the way for me to clear away the concrete and to make room for strength and courage to get where I want to go.