Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Halloween scare: Imagination in action


Here comes Halloween.  Booooo!
Halloween is a time for all young and old to step into that space of make believe.  A day that is completely acceptable to be scared.  Imagine my surprise when the fun was taken away, only to be replaced with fear. 

It all started on a fall day in October.  The day was turning into quite a warm day.  Being at the campsite was a requirement for my son in his current rank of cub scouts.  We were fortunate to pick the Halloween camp for his fulfillment.  This is the annual camp for his pack where a carefully constructed haunted house is created by the pack parents.  A walk through this haunted house allows one to see creepy clown kids, rats, bats and spiders hanging from fish wire, a man's head on a platter and a women with her hands, and feet cut off, and her intestines spilling all over the place.  My son and I were fortunate to walk through during the "no scare" time.  It was a first for him to walk through a haunted house. I was surprised of his determination to walk through.  It was a fun time and was not a time of fear, but that changed upon bedtime. 

While placing the tent up in the afternoon, we noticed the tent was showing its age with rips throughout the fabric where the support poles insert.  This was a tent my father had given to us to use on our first camping trip two years ago, and it seemed he had much use of it.  One of the support poles was actually broken, allowing the tent to become angular in shape instead of the curve it was intended to take.  It was sturdy enough for us to reside in for the night, and we were happy to be revisiting this dwelling for the second time in our camping history.  We also brought our inflatable queen mattress so my body would not ache the next morning. 

Once our Haunted house adventure, and trick or treating was complete, and smores were all eaten, it was time for bed.  Because we arrived at our destination in the late morning, all the spaces for setting up our tent were taken. We were directed down the hill a small distance away, but away from the rest of the pack's tents.  I really didn't think anything about being alone down there away from the pack.  I was completely fine. As the other's in our group continued with the chatting around the campfire, and the rest of the children were treated to a movie on an inflatable movie screen, my son and I decided we needed to sleep. 

Unfortunately, I noticed our mattress no longer held its air, which reminded me we had two air mattresses, and one had a leak.  I knew if I just refilled it with enough air to get me to sleep I would be fine. That is what I did, and it worked like I suspected.  THEN, at 12:56 in the morning, I heard a noise which startled me awake.  It had the sound of sniffing and I immediately thought of the wolf pups I heard howling right before going to bed.  My mind began racing of all the scenarios that could be evolving at that moment.  The tent was moving back and forth and I remembered how skittish wolves are around people.  I also remembered reading recently that the wolves are becoming more daring around humans.  I intellectualized that it couldn't be a wolf, and then I thought of mountain lions.  I remembered a handout we were given to read, regarding mountain lion safety, on another camp out we were supposed to attend 3-4 weeks prior. Since we ended up not going, I didn't read the handout, and now my mind was dreading the fact that I hadn't.  Once I came to terms that the tent wasn't being pushed by a creature of nature, and was actually the wind being stirred up, causing a swishing sound on the bottom of the tent against the dirt floor, I was relieved. However, the wind became slightly stronger and my mind began to race again, remembering that we had a broken tent and it may come toppling down if the wind continues in strength.  My mind was in full fear mode and I had to stop it. 

I remembered the journal given us from the Commitment Experiment at Center for Spiritual Living, Capistrano Valley. On that exact day the quote was: 

Stand Tall and be Proud- Sink Your Roots into the Earth-Be Content with your Natural Beauty- Drink Plenty of Water-Enjoy the View
Ilan Shamir-

Though I didn't remember the quote exactly at the time, I remember I journaled about nature.  I was bringing myself down to calm, however, with all this heart-pounding action the damage was done, I was wide awake, couldn't go back to sleep, and now needed the restroom.  Because I had remnants of the fear that was created, I couldn't move from my warm, safe sleeping bag.  I laid awake until I could no longer ignore the results of my fear. Two hours later, I mustered up the courage to leave the tent for the restroom.  When I returned I was able to reflate the bed and get 2 hours more of sleep. 

After getting home I read in the Commitment Experiment journal. The statement I was to finish was:

Today I intend to take advice from nature and....

I journaled: 
Be easy with my surrounding. Let nature be ok with me in it. Go with the flow. 

Interesting how Spirit works. My intention was for me and nature to be ok with each other, and my mind gave me many reasons not to be.  I, however, remembered my intention while I was in the midst of fear. This is what it means to build a Spiritual muscle. The ability to recollect and utilize the tools of the Spiritual trade. Once I re-read the intention I set, I was reminded of what it takes to embody that intention.  Of course, there is even more excitement to the story. What I have found is that my fear has actually provided quite a bit of humor to many of my friends, and will continue to provide humor for many years to come. An experience, a lesson in letting go and going with the flow.


          Happy Halloween