1. Tell the story of how you got the thing you are going to keep forever. Include an image in your post, if you can.
2. Fears come in different sized packages. Tell the story of a time you had a face a fear, big or small.
Oh, let's just comment on both of these today.
The thing I am going to keep forever, hm. Well, nothing lasts forever, for sure not this life, although I hope I've got a bunch of years still to go. And I'm much more in the mindset of getting rid of 'things' that I no longer need/use/want, although I have a long way to go on that front.
I wear rings that I probably will keep forever, or at least until I leave this body. Three were given to me by my dearest love, my husband. The other two, on the same finger, are my mother's engagement ring and my grandmother's wedding ring which my mother wore along with her wedding rings.
But things are things: we imbue them with emotion and sentiment from our stories about them. They do not have emotion of their own, although I do think gemstones can absorb energy both positive and negative, and would always cleanse a stone that had been worn by someone else. Things can clutter up a life and certainly a home, and I am ready to simplify and pare down papers and books and possessions. It is a process, though, not a mere spring cleaning. I'm simply done with too much stuff.
And then fear: oh come on. All of us face daily fear in one size or another: is that twinge normal or is it cancer/heart/stroke? Who is in that car in my driveway -- I'm not expecting anyone? Will I have enough money to pay bills/retire/survive a crisis? Will my children be safe on their way to and from school today? Is my job reasonably secure (understanding that in today's world, NO job is secure)?
There are a thousand and one little fears that stress us every day whether or not we acknowledge them as fear -- but that's what they are. How we handle them is the key to living a good life, a life that is what we want it to be. When we allow fear to paralyze us into inaction, we endow it with power over everything, our heart, our brain, our courage, our health, our peace of mind, our quality of life. And sometimes we need help in figuring out how to walk through the fear and find our true life -- from a friend, from a spiritual practice, from a doctor or therapist. But the important thing is that it can be dealt with. We do not have to live in fear.
My health is probably the most fearful thing in my life right now: learning to walk and balance again on a new ankle, hoping that I will eventually be able to take walks again without pain, hoping that my afib does not mean anything more than a broken natural regulator which can be controlled, hoping that I will not fall and break something, or get cancer, or get Alzheimer's, or any one of many other maladies. To cope, I try to eat properly, take prescribed medications that will diminish symptoms, strengthen my muscles and balance through PT and yoga, spend some time in gratitude and energy work, and live life one day at a time, which is all any of us really have anyway.
When I allow myself to go 'off in the ozone' and feel fearful, I talk to my honey, or to my doctor, and I find something to do that will shift my focus. The wee small hours of the night are a perfect breeding ground for the ice weasels that snake up your spine and dance into your belly, and magnify fear and anxiety. When they happen -- not often -- I sometimes picture myself surrounded by angels in white light, with the light repelling the dark fear. Or I drink a cup of hot tea in our quiet, dimly lit living room, often with a sleepy cat who comes to inquire why I am not in bed and stays to purr in my lap, further quieting the weasels (cats definitely hunt ice weasels, by the way). And then I go back to bed and to sleep.
"To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another. " ~Katherine Paterson, Jacob Have I Loved