AIDS confronts all of us with our fear about death and dying, which can be a source of intense suffering. However what one does with the emotional challenges connected to AIDS, is essentially no different than for any other suffering we experience in life. Left with the central choice of living; our willingness “To Be,” moment by moment we design our lives. From birth we begin to learn. We are all programmed to seek pleasure – to avoid pain, and we’re bound to follow this instinctual mandate unless we make the conscious choice to override it. In fearful moments many of us distract ourselves by identifying sources of blame, but the fear is still there. As long as we remain lost in our fear, the opportunity for personal growth and the acquisition of wisdom is gone. But as we step into the heart of difficult moments we learn and establish our individual dignity.This is done by using our minds on purpose; deliberate, disciplined thinking, coupled with the willingness to accept responsibility for our attitudes, choices and behavior. Fear itself is a major source of cognitive pain, so while the human reflex is to instinctively avoid it, when it comes to emotional fear, avoidance leads to greater apprehension, thus more pain. Learning how to relate to emotional fear in a healthier way is the hardest thing many people ever learn to do!
When allowed to run rampant fear is emotionally crippling. While fear is determining our attitude, we lead a life of defensive over-reaction and threat is perceived on all fronts. But consider for just a moment what happens if you set this script aside. Imagine, there you are with your fear, isolation and loneliness, clinging to what is familiar in order to feel safe. Suddenly a gentle, white cloud, settles over you and absorbs most of your fear and anxiety. Moments later you watch as it it rises, higher and higher. As it departs it magically erases your life long attachment to fear, leaving in it’s place a new life script for you to follow:
By grand design, a higher power has given you life and it created your life to be an adventure. It will be full of excitement as well as challenges. You must accept this, because that is simply the way it is. Each one of these existential dilemmas is an opportunity to learn and grow. The joy and reward of life will only reveal itself to you as you travel through your fear – entering each moment courageously. Take yourself into your own heart, because you are the beloved of your life!
Reach down deep for humility and courage. Seek truth and live with love in your heart. Do it “now” – life has no dress rehearsals. Realize that when you learn to use your mind on purpose, you get to choose your experience – of your experience. From that vantage point, pain and fear become friends from whom you may learn and grow. Think about your values and be aware of what you pay attention to, because as you attach language to your experiences, you are choosing the path your life’s journey will follow.
Discipline over laziness * Action over procrastination * Love over hate
Humility over grandiosity * Responsibility over blame * Courage over fear.
Celebrate your life now – in this moment!
Southern New England Community Consortium
A center devoted to the care of the HIV positive community and the advancement of treatments and therapies for HIV infection.
Gary Blick, M.D. Medical Director 25 Valley Drive, Greenwich, CT