Dizzy and Disoriented—by Choice

Dizzy and Disoriented—by Choice

This week I needed the words of Mark Nepo, philosopher extraordinaire, to help me sort out my mental fog. Despite my best attempts to focus and be productive, my thoughts were circular and spinning, refusing to gain traction.

What was wrong with me?

In his meditation, “The Discomfort of Newness,” Nepo begins with a quote from Kierkegaard:

“Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.”

I scratched my head as I often do when I start reading Nepo’s meditations during my morning quiet time but, as usual, he offered an explanation that spoke to me.

He described the disorientation that we must feel when we first learn how to walk and dare move away from a parent’s hand to take our first steps. And the dizziness we experience when we first fall in love and move beyond our own walls to include others.

Then he nailed it for me:

“The truth is that every fresh experience has this dizziness of freedom that we must move through. We needn’t be afraid of it or give it too much power. It is the doorway to all learning.”

Of course! That’s what was wrong with me. I wasn’t stuck on spin; I was just processing, perched in the doorway to learning.

So how did I get there?

It was my choice.

In the last 26 days, I’ve given five presentations, in five different venues, and met 113 new friends along the way. Even though I did my advance work by visiting each location, editing and rehearsing my remarks, and even double-checking the computer connections for my PowerPoint, each event was different, surprising, and challenging in its own way. But most of all, I’ve had the chance to connect with some amazing people—thoughtful, welcoming, caring, and so willing to include me in their lives.

I’ve had so many new experiences I don’t even know where to store them in my mind. I may have to create some new categories!

So if you catch me with a slightly dazed look, you’ll know I’m not stuck on spin; I’m simply on the dizzying threshold of processing all I’ve experienced.

Thanks, Mark Nepo, for giving me permission to spin!

How about you? Have you ever found yourself dizzy or disoriented from a new experience? Tell me about it. I’d love to know.

My best – always,

Becky  (Nana B)

P.S. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers that supported me, especially over the last month. If not for your steadfast encouragement, I would probably still be scared spitless and unable to face the fear of speaking to groups. Thank you!

P.P.S. Up next, my trip to N.C. Hope you can visit me! Sunday, October 21 at 3 p.m., Bull’s Head Bookshop UNC Chapel Hill Student bookstore. More details and info below.


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