Pavlovian

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After a discussion I had this morning, I find myself reflecting how we revert to our core when everything seems to be challenged.  We fall back into the patterns we know, the learned behaviors we have lived for a lifetime. Despite our best efforts, these rise to the surface and can take continual monitoring to manage. Having lived through pain it is one instinct to protect themselves; a continual scuffle between fear and hope.  With enough time, effort, and grace can they be relearned?

After a lifetime of conditioning, I have the ingrained assumption that the quiet retreat is only a momentary pause occurs before the real attack. I have learned that an initial push, a small lashing is always followed by silence that leads a full scale attack, that always results in damage and scars I will forever bear. In that moment of false tranquility, I leaned to steadied my mask and while filled with apprehension I braced myself with a vigilance and for the onslaught I could not flee. For as long as I remember, I have seen this occur, as if it were the only coping mechanism many have, in some friendships as well as relationships which were more personal.  I was reminded that this is not the only result that follows the moments when the world is silenced; sometimes the hush is a need to balance and heal oneself,  as I have often needed.

This week a friend faced an overwhelming challenge and pulled back into that silence seeking their peace and balance. Seeing the pain in their eyes as they struggled to vocalize their difficulty concerned me at so many levels.  While I wanted to collect them in my arms and reassure them it would all pass, that life would return to their normal I also found myself filled with a growing sense of dread. Although it may have been in vain,  I struggled through my fearfulness and angst to reach out, to try to offer reassurance and support. Through this I gained a new perspective that there is not always a campaign of my spirit; there can be a respectful pause. one small gift in all the confusion.  I wonder if I will always revert to that anxiety, boarding my windows and doors and fortifying myself form the impending disaster.  Hiding behind those battlements I may miss the rainbow that can arrive after the storm or the sun that continued to shine in the absence of my imagined impending catastrophe.

“Courage in danger is half the battle.”  ~Plautus

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