Facing my Fears
This past Sat, Dec 5-2015
This Saturday, Peter Hanohano led a group of us through an exercise called Strategic Silence. It was a strategy taught by Nana Veary in her book “Change We Must- My Spiritual Journey,” where in silence you are made whole again. Her message was that instead of talking to God in prayer, we listen to him in Silence. “The purpose is to free one’s self of all anger, guilt, resentment, discouragement, disappointment, worry, all the negative patterns buried in the sub conscious mind.” She says, “…in Silent Retreats you clear your channels so life can be fulfilled. Silent retreats give you spiritual Dignity.”
“Silence means no repetitions, no affirmations, no denials, only a conscious acknowledgment of God’s allness.”
We read an excerpt and was given the assignment to go outdoors and experience Silence for 15 minutes. Easy enough, I thought, in Silence! Turns out I had to leave through the gates of my farm because all the weeds and plants kept begging for my attention saying me! me! Me! Me! So fled outside my driveway and property to seek Silence! As I’m walking out the Gates, I notice a huge branch of a neighboring Eucalyptus tree shadowing my friend, Karen Fischer‘s Honda SUV! It’s this same tree that has been disturbing me for two years now making me worry about it breaking off and ruining my stone wall with its huge branches! The same tree that I’ve written to my Homeowner Association about several times, and now it aroused my greatest fear as the wind started picking up and the branches started waving its huge limbs up and down and side to side high above of both my head and my friend’s vulnerable SUV!! I feared the tree’s imposing limb would break off and come crashing down on Karen’s car, even though it was parked all the way across the street. The children’s lullaby, came to mind: “…when the wind blows… when the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,” and everything will be crushed, Karen’s SUV and all! Never the less, if the branch did break. It would be a direct hit from its huge 2-3 story branches weighing at least 4-5 tons!
Then, there was a light “Uhi Wai” drizzle, the kind that Hawaiians receive when they are blessed, the kind of misting drizzle that almost always accompanies a wedding ceremony that I’m officiating! In that moment, I get chicken skin and feel blessed and my mind finally quiets down in Silence!
It instantly starts to turn from a light drizzle to a Gully Washer with the wind carrying the rains sideways! I end up seeking shelter out fo the rain under my greatest fear… that huge Eucalyptus tree! Then, in an instant there’s complete silence again with the cloud cover rolling in! I can barely see 5 feet in front of me! It’s foggy dark and quiet and I can feel and hear my own heart beating against my chest! For the first time, I quietly observe and see fellow shelter seekers: all these plant roots of a Christmas berry plant, ferns and bird nests all intertwined in the bark of that huge Eucalyptus tree that I’m afraid of. Ironically, I observe that it is sustaining other life forms. Finally, the silence is broken by the singing birds like its morning all over again and the fog and clouds lift revealing sunny skies over Paia and Haleakala in the distance! Then I become aware that Peter is beckoning me to come inside. My 15 minutes of silence is over!
Inside, each of the five of us, including Flora Wong, describe our Spiritual Awakening to one another. I can relate most to the experience of my friend Wayne Wong about being silent: the difficulty silencing the “chatter” in one’s mind, my mind! Peter shared a past “silence” experience with a huge mother Koa tree and I tell about my experience with my fears of my tree! Karen nonchalantly says she’s not afraid, if the tree falls on her car, she’ll just get a new one!
Looking back! I see that tree as a symbol of all all my fears based on “what ifs”, not true facts! Finally, when my mind quieted, I was able to feel and receive the blessings of Gods goodness which quieted my fear! Then I was drawn to the base of my fears by the gully washer and saw that this huge tree also provided shelter and sustenance for other trees, ferns and birds and even me from the rain. In my silence I was also able to experience a new day or gain a new perspective on my life by looking beyond my current situation into the distant future where there was light and clarity awaiting!
So what’s my greatest fear? Losing my identity and forgetting who I am! How will I conquer it! In Silence! Thanks Nana Veary for sharing your wisdom and Mahalo Peter Hanohano, for sharing this Silent Strategy and showing us the way!
Through this Holiday season, let’s Count our blessings, Let Go and let God, and God’s Will be done. Face our Fears, Step out of our comfort zone! With God’s will, anything is possible.