As I sat down on my couch and reflected on the heavy feeling I was experiencing I realized I was overcome with anxiety and with dread.
I asked myself, “why are you so afraid?”
I hesitantly started to explore and open the squeaky and rickety door to my soul. It could have been the time of day but as I peaked in it was dark as hell and I immediately heard some faint cries and moans in the distance. I slammed the door shut. I instantly felt the urge to run, to suck on a proverbial baby bottle, to anxiously grab a sacred object/idol, anything to keep me distracted from the heaviness and anxiety I was feeling.
I then took a breath, mustered up some strength and said, “screw you illusions of comfort and security”. I then told myself, “Alright, here I go, I am opening the door again and I am going in”.
It was weird at first. I felt like I was going to the bathroom after someone else dropped a devastating deuce. I wanted to be stealthy and quick to the draw. I had a “get in and quickly get out mindset.” But I knew this time I had to do something different. I took another deep breath, slowed myself down and decided to meet those ghastly ghosts head on. I was determined to know their names and understand why they were haunting me.
I admit, at first, I wanted to use a gas mask or at least bring my shirt up above my nose to cover-up the noxious smell of those hideous creatures. Instead, I resolved to face them without any protective gear or sly tricks of concealment.
I didn’t know what to expect but I was determined to stay the course. I cautiously opened the door and went in with gusto. I firmly closed the door behind and put a heavy-duty lock with a timer on it. I knew if I didn’t then I would have an easier time escaping, especially if it got too scary or uncomfortable. I was resolved.
As I went in I saw many ghosts lurking about. One, looking like Igor from one of those old Dracula movies, came slowly towards me and said in a crackly and raspy voice, “Welcome to your Haunted House.” Slightly startled, I mumbled back a hesitant, “Thank you”.
As that Igor and ghoulish looking fellow stepped aside, only two out of the rest of the ghosts finally came up to me. They told me not to worry about the others as they would still be around and introduce themselves on subsequent visits. One of them said with a peculiar smirk, “That is if you decide to return,”. It was strange, the more I was around those spooky ghosts, the friendlier they seemed to become.
With one of the ghosts putting his hand on my shoulder, the two of them looked me compassionately in the eye and spoke to me in an eerie unison. They said, “Mark, you/we are still afraid of being punished. You/we are still afraid of being rejected and condemned. You/we still think there is a big Other with a discontented frown and a disappointed gaze upon you. You/we fear what the non-existent hecklers on the sidelines are saying about you”. And then they began to show me as if on a projector some traumatic memories from my past, which I shall not divulge here, but evidently were the origins of some of the above fears.
With tears in my eyes I just stared at them. I was filled with pain but I was also filled with gratefulness. I was pained because I came face to face with the sources of my angst and those fears I was covering up with frantic and frenetic pursuits. But I was tremendously grateful because those ghosts had the guts to tell me the honest truth.
Ghosts do not exist to scare you. Sure they exist to haunt you but that is there way of offering you an invitation to visit with them. The truth is they are really your friends and will always come bearing gifts if you dare to risk and say hello.