Friday, April 17, 2009

Saying Yes

Right before I drift off there are sudden starts, the sensation of stepping off an edge and falling. This happens just about every night as I fall asleep. Sigmund Freud suggests that all dreams are based on the need for wish-fulfillment, and the events of the day inspire the story in the dream. In children, this theory works very simply. In adults, it gets complicated by distortion and "latent content." I often ponder the idea of dream interpretation, because I have some funky ones. Case in point would be last night's, when I found myself in the minivan stuck in traffic in Baghdad, attempting to reach the Waldbaum's shopping center in the middle of a desert so I could return self-tanner cream. I'm slightly afraid to interpret the real meaning of this scene since the last time I let someone pick my brain I was mortified.

I was a freshman in college sitting in a sociology class when the professor, who was also a practicing licenced psychologist, asked for a volunteer for a mental experiment. Perhaps I was bored, and maybe just stretching, but at any rate, I found myself playing a game with him while the rest of the class watched. He said a series of words and I had to tell him the first image that came to mind. He started out slowly and gradually increased the speed of the noun race. Eventually I lost control of my answers, as was expected, and the tail end of the experiment went something like:

Him: "cats"

Me: "bagels"

Him: "brown"

Me: "milk chocolate"

Him: "rabbit"

Me: "Easter Chocolate"

Him: "Wednesday"

Me: "chocolate brownie sundae 2 for 1"

Him: "Just say one word..."

Me: "Oops"

Him: "sports"

Me: "okay"

Him: "men"

Me: "nope"

Him: "safe"

Me: "run"

My professor grinned. Apparently, he could read me like the obscure book he wrote and forced the class to purchase for $49.95.

"Loren, you're obsessed with chocolate and afraid of men." He announced, confidently.

The room was silent. Every male eyeball was turned in my direction like plant leaves drawn to the sun. I squirmed under the heat of the invisible spotlight. I decided right then and there that I would never allow myself to be analyzed in public again, (not counting this site, the word "blog" wasn't invented yet) .

Fears, well yes, I have them now and have had them in the past. Do I like letting them show? NO. One of my life-long projects is to let go of them, one by one, because they block me from personal growth. They keep me from saying yes to life.

I'm not talking about his "me and men theory," but more important things like not following my dreams for fear of wasting my time, and not going outside because it's raining. It was not until I got caught in a torrential downpour walking home from a park that I realized how freeing it can be to get soaking wet in a rain storm.

Patti Digh, in her book Life is a Verb compares saying yes to wearing pink glasses. She encourages readers to think about the fears that limit our opportunities. From whom and from what do you seek permission in your life? Find this out and then STOP IT! Saying yes requires one to release some assumed control over life. It requires faith in ourselves and our Creator. Saying yes can be as scary as hell.

I like to think about certain people whom I consider to be role models who said "Yes" to personal change. Mary, the mother of Jesus comes to mind, Cassie Bernall, one of the students who was murdered at Columbine H.S., and the character Morrie Schwartz, from the novel Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Ablom. Saying yes is a kind of death; it's a kind of falling. It's falling without knowing where you'll land. If saying yes makes life an adventure, then my dreams say I'm ready to give myself permission to put on the pink glasses.

P.S. Miralee Ferrell's novel The Other Daughter is also a great story of a woman's struggle to say Yes to life. I won this book on Koala Bear Writer's blog and I really enjoyed it. Thank you Koala and Miralee.


Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

That reminds me of a conversation I had at a wedding. I was talking to the wife of one of our old good buddies. They'd been married about 2 years and she was unsure as to whether they were ready to have kids yet. "Just say yes, it's a leap of faith," I said. And they had 2 beautiful, red-headed boys, one after the other, shortly thereafter.

Caity said...

Wow that is so interesting! I love this post! Sometimes I wish I could analyze my dreams as well. Some of mine are pretty strange too and I remember them all the time!

By the way, Tuesdays with Morrie is one of my favorite books.

Sandra said...

Great post. Very inspiring. I may be reading the "verb" book very soon. Until then, I'll be looking for those pink glasses to wear. :)

Putz said...

i hate to say this, and your very creatvie blog, yes this very blog and my wife snips have made me to decide once again that i am not in control{why keep kidding myself} and to stop blogging again..yes i relinguish the control of my life to my wife. hey that rhymesby the way blogs are obsolete just ask the plurktwitterfacebook peole

Loren Christie said...

Mr. Putz,
If my husband asked me to stop blogging I would. I think sometimes we have to make choices for the people we love. I would never, however, stop writing altogether because I love that too. Keep a journal in Microsoft Word for yourself so you won't feel resentful.

jenX67 said...

This post struck a couple of deep chords on me. I never think of overcoming my fears - as you've suggested. I simply try to endure them, but the notion of overcoming them - I'm not sure how something so simple escaped me. =0

The other is this: "from whom and from what do you seek permission in your life?" This has always held me back.

Great writing, and helpful post.

Koala Bear Writer said...

Really great post, Loren. I'm glad I came back to finish reading it. God once challenged me to "get out of my comfort zone"--or, as you say, to say "yes." And yet how easy it is to fall back into that pattern of fear. Anways, glad you liked The Other Daughter. :)

Dear Internet Traveler,

Welcome to my writer's blog, started about six years ago for fun. Over time, the writing I have posted has ranged from personal reflection, to Long Island history research, to tall tales for my own amusement, to feature articles for local newspapers. As you can see from topics listed here, I travel in many mental directions in regard to interests. Click on the tabs and labels to explore my strange mind which senses that you may be having a criss-cross day. If so, perhaps this blog will distract you. However, please note that if you tell me my blog is beautiful just to get me to advertise rhinoplasty surgery and cheap drugs from Canada in your comment, I will ask the gods to give you a tail that cannot be concealed.


Loren Christie

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