It's that time of year – all souls, all saints, Halloween, El Dia de los Muertos -- when we choose to engage that which scares us, on purpose. If we walk through Halloween with a default to the candy amassing, we are missing the point. For me, it is the deepest moment of my year.
Today I was given the sacred task of talking with children about managing our fright.
And so children gathered 'round a sort-of hearth. I stood up before them and lay down a long strip of cloth that I had been wearing as a stole. The swath was wide -- about 14 inches.
"This is my threshold, " I said to them. We clarified the word and the meaning. I explained that thresholds are not usually described for their width but for their symbolism. But then I set down a battery-operated candlestick and sat down in my threshold.
I said because fear was so scary, I learned to sit inside and within the threshold. I learned to relax as best I could in that space in between comfort and The Worst. I found that if I waited until my breathing became relaxed, I could ask my Self some questions about what I was feeling in that moment.
Before I could share my top questions, the children offered some questions of their own -- like, "why? Why be afraid?" Good question, I said. Yes. And then there were other questions, like, "what is the worst?" "what if?" "how about?" And more:
What are you afraid of?
Why are you afraid?
Isn't it better to have courage?
What will happen if you let fear be the boss?
What about letting courage be the boss?
Yes, those are the questions, I said. Everyone has fear, I proclaimed. Be sure to make your threshold wide enough to sit in with a candle, I suggested. They wanted to try mine out.
And then I asked "what comes next?" And a young one said, "the song about peace."
Immediately came a comforting cord, and off we went to our cozy places of more questions, nurturing and growing.