New Year’s Revelation No. 5 of 7: Freedom from Fear

“Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom.”
 — Marilyn Ferguson

In her insightful blog, Cauldrons and Cupcakes, Nicole Cody recently wrote a post titled What’s Your Power Word for 2014?”  She explains that she ditched the whole New Year resolution thing, and replaced it with a more streamlined system: one single Power Word. This Power Word is at the center of all her intentions for the year.

My Power Word for 2014 is Freedom.

  • Freedom from the predators who have been looting methodically through our property, on the other end of the country, until almost nothing is left (see my post In Search of Mayberry).
  • Freedom  to wage the mother of all legal battles against these people. They will be brought to justice.
  • Freedom from the economic encumbrances of this prolonged (Recession) Depression.
  • Freedom inside my heart, so that I may let go of all the negative energy that has followed me around the past six years, like a relentless mountain lion tracking the scent of blood.

And this is only just the icing on my cake of intentions for 2014.

But today’s Revelation is about Freedom from fear.

Most of us have fears.  We have phobias, like the fear of flying, public speaking, bees, rejection … the list goes on.  Some fears may seem silly but they are very real to the people who harbor these anxieties. Sometimes, they can be paralyzing. 

When we overcome our fears, we feel lighter.  That “lightness” is what freedom feels like.

When I was a child and teenager, I was rather shy (many who know me today, are raising an eyebrow as they read this).  So, I decided to enroll in theatre classes, to overcome my shyness. Apparently, it worked. I haven’t stopped talking since.

Beware of hypotheticals. 

Sometimes, we are anxious or fearful about what we imagine will happen.  We’re not sure that what we imagine will happen, will actually happen… but we fear it nevertheless.  This is a difficult one to overcome, but if we try to rationalize it by saying:  Okay, what’s the worst that could happen?…  then think about it. Live with the idea for a bit.  If the worst actually happens, then it’s over and done with. The sun will still come up the next day.  Life goes on. And so will we.

As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face.

Courage, mes amis. Courage, my friends.

We shall be free of fear.

 “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

Frank Herbert, Dune

Photos via ssy.org and thewisemag.com.

New Year’s Revelation No. 1 of 7: Simplicity

As 2011 came to a close, I learned a valuable lesson (although – in theory – I knew it all along).  It’s a story about an oyster …. well, actually 36 oysters …. and celebrations-gone-awry …. . You’ll laugh, perhaps shake your head in disbelief, or roll your eyes in a “What-was-she-thinking?!” way. But, there is a moral to every story, and I will guide myself accordingly in 2012. Absolutely.

I like to do things somewhat “over the top.”  Those who know me well are snorting loudly with laughter as I write this (how rude!).  So, this is how my New Year’s Eve went:

AM – Tidied the garden (back front and side), went to the corner store to get sundries, then off to the local grocer to buy 24 mussels, a salmon filet, 24 oysters, chocolate-covered strawberries, and Veuve Clicquot Grande Dame. You may be wondering how many people was she having over for New Year’s Eve?  The answer: just me and The Husband.  My theory has always been to buy more, rather than less (that way, you won’t run out).  The natural question would be:  Why all that seafood?  Well, this was the plan:  make Oysters Rockefeller and Mussels Marinara for NYE and the salmon filet for NY Day.

And then the grocer told me that they didn’t have oysters (fyi … the salmon filet that I bought could feed a family of 6 and will last a few days…but, I digress….). “NO OYSTERS!” … exclaimed heatherfromthegrove (actually, more like a shriek, than an exclamation). The guy at the seafood counter shrugged his shoulders, completely unfazed that he just ruined my fantasy of an aphrodisiac-infused evening. 

PM – So, I went home with the mussels, salmon, strawberries and champagne and then called Whole Foods to verify that they indeed had oysters and that they would keep two dozen aside for me.  The time, at this point, was 2 pm.  I travelled to WF and lo, and behold, the seafood guru had the oysters set aside for me (only later did I realize that he added twelve more to the pack …. at my cost, of course!).  Always looking for the right tableware, I stopped by Z-Gallerie to get a platter for the oysters. I found a beautiful large faux-oyster shell that would be the perfect platter for my Oysters-bloody-Rockefeller!  I arrived home at 5 pm.

Because ambience is Everything, I had to spend the next 3 hours decorating — the house, front/side/back yard. This involved decorations, balloons (don’t ask!), and candles. 

At 8 pm, I commenced with the cooking.  But, first, I opened a bottle of champagne (not the Grande Dame, which was reserved for midnight).  As I sipped, I prepared the Rockefeller filling, thinking the oysters would be a breeze. 

Note:  I had never cooked oysters before.

At this point, you are probably wondering “Where is The Husband?”  Immersed in his work on the computer, completely ignoring me as I proceeded to take the holiday celebration waaaaaaay over the top.

I would like to say, at this juncture, that the ambience was gorgeous …. the house looked beautiful.  But, again, I digress …

I then began to prepare the baking pan, filling it with coarse sea salt and placing the pan in a precarious position in my overcrowded, space-challenged kitchen.  I began washing the oysters and started to “shuck” them … but realized that I did not have an oyster knife (blunt implement) so, I was forced to use a knife.

You know where this is going, don’t you?

As I “shucked” the oysters, I managed to nearly sever an artery in my wrist and stabbed myself in two other parts of my hand ….. and, as Murphy’s Law would have it, the pan filled with the coarse sea salt fell on the floor, spilling salt everywhere.  Everywhere. I had to take a deep breath, get a bandage for my hand and then vacuum the floor, before resuming the”shucking.”  Meanwhile, my black Lab — Bacchus — was stubbornly staying under foot in the kitchen because of the fireworks outside (he is terrified of fireworks) and wouldn’t leave my side.  At 11:38 pm, on New Year’s Eve, the table was set — complete with tasty appetizers (hors d’oeuvres), fine champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, and, yes, the f-ing Oysters Rockefeller.  We toasted the New Year at midnight, enjoyed our feast, and I made a vow: 

In 2012, I will make a supreme effort to keep things simple.

 “A little simplification would be the first step toward rational living, I think”               – Eleanor Roosevelt