A clever Universe gave me a friendly nudge this week.
The other day, I installed the latest update for iTunes on to my computer, only to have it repeatedly not open once it was through installing. I tried all I knew to try before I ended up having to call Apple's tech support yesterday afternoon. Not able to help me over the phone, they scheduled me an appointment at my local Apple store for this morning.
Had it been any other application on my computer that was screwed up, I wouldn't have considered going to the trouble of dragging my computer across town, daring to venture in to a mall! =) I would have let it slide; I'd have forgotten about it as best I could - but this was my music! My working iPod notwithstanding, I couldn't lose access to my library, indefinitely! It's far too special to me - and the Universe knows that. So I agreed to the appointment and went...begrudgingly.
Once again, I was nervous. And once again, I survived. I knew that I would. Hell, I always know that I will, but my god, getting from Point A to Point B is a bitch! It's all about practice - spiritual and otherwise. And I held on to that as I walked in to the surprisingly crowded store, back to the Genius Bar located on the furthest wall.
I didn't expect it to be so crowded on a weekday morning; for every one customer, there seemed to be four or five employees, all buzzing around the store in their blue T-shirts, khaki cargo shorts, and tennis shoes. At first, after letting them know I was there, I strategically stood off to the side with my back to the rest of the store (with the vague, childish notion that if I can't see them, maybe they can't see me...), pretending to be curious, and interested in, the wall full of iPod and iPhone cases, iPads, and gift cards. I could see that I was dumbly wasting this opportunity, so eventually I forced myself to turn around and face the entire store - and to really look at all the people in it. It's laughable now because it's so obvious that it would be the case - but not even a single person knew or cared that I was even in the room!
I wasn't even a blip on their radar, it was clear, and yet...the brain and body still did what they know to do. My face was still hot, my stomach still turned - and I hated it. I was pissed off that I'd have to feel these things. I was mad that my brain would continue to interpret these kinds of situations as perilous when clearly there's never any problem to be found. I cursed the situation, had my tantrum, and then surrendered. I realize that if I am ever going to make peace with, and live fully in, the Reality that all is well, then I'm gonna need to remember in times like these that all is well - and that includes these fearful reactions that I'm always so tempted to resist. Let them be, Silence says. They are fleeting, wisps of energy, nothing to be afraid of. So I stopped, took a breath, and let it all be as best I could.
I simply watched the blond lady in high heels as she got upset with the manager and walked out. I watched the young Asian woman examining the iPads, taking one off the display and studying it for a bit, taking it over in to the line and then walking back and returning it to the wall; I smiled inside at her indecision, as she went back and forth at least three times. I watched employees rushing around, taking care of customers, and others hanging around chatting with each other. I stood quietly and listened to the loud sea of voices and recognized it as song - strange and unusual, but very real. It's amazing to me the way things seemingly transform themselves when only given the chance to be seen for what they are.
After doing whatever he did, the dude at the Genius Bar restored my iTunes - and expecting to have to pay something, I was happily surprised to find out that it was free - "just a perk of owning a Mac." Anyway, as he was doing whatever he was doing, I noticed that the longer I was in there, the longer that I was able to look him directly in the eye, and the longer that I was able to engage in conversation (we were communicating, after all, so I assume I wasn't coming off as an incoherent moron), the easier it became. It's terribly uncomfortable; it's a pain in the ass, but I really do believe that there is something to "feeling the fear and doing it anyway." I like to think that if I can keep doing stuff like this - maybe three times, fifty times, or a thousand times more, that eventually the illusion (and that is all it is!) that it's something I'm not good at or capable of doing will be seen through, and washed away.
And maybe it won't.
But I like believing that it will.
And I'm going to proceed as if it will.