Sunday, November 27, 2005

Embracing my Dragons by TM Sheila Mapanao

FEAR! Such a strong word that it instantly conjures up images of ghosts, goblins, monsters and dragons! But of course the reality is that these things don’t exist! Or do they?

We each have our own dragons, or things we fear. If I ask you right now what you fear the most, I’m sure each of us has at least ONE thing we’re most afraid of. What is it? Bugs, snakes and creepy, crawling insects? Cats? The fear of dying? Of growing old?

My fears? Years ago, I was in a very bad relationship. How bad, you ask? Have you ever woken up one night, not being able to breathe, because someone was strangling you? Have you ever experienced a loaded gun being pointed at your head? Or being held by your shirt, dragged from one room to another? Have you ever seen your kids cowering in fear in a corner of the room while your partner shouts at you and belittles you? It’s true, I experienced those things as I was in an abusive relationship. I was emotionally and physically abused. The things I was going through that time, I wouldn’t even wish on my worst enemy. So you can imagine what sort of fears I was faced with. I was afraid of dying… I was afraid of leaving my 2 kids… but surprisingly, one of my biggest fears then was that I was afraid people would find out that my life wasn’t perfect.

I grew up in a happy home. I felt loved and I had no worries. So I went into marriage thinking that it would be as happy as the home I grew up in. But sadly, that was not true. When things started becoming ugly, I was masquerading, and I was pretty good at it! With my co-workers, friends, and family as well, I was good at hiding… hiding the tears and the bruises. Looking back now, I can only shake my head, “What WAS I thinking?” But I guess I still held hope that things would change, because another fear was that I didn’t want my kids to have the stigma of growing up in a broken home. So what changed my view? It came to the point when I said “enough is enough”. And when I realized that my prayers had changed. From “Lord, please give me the strength to overcome these trials”… to ”Lord, PLEASE don’t give me strength or else I might just kill him with my own bare hands!” or “Lord, please kunin mo na sha!” True!

The fear of people finding out my life wasn’t perfect, and judging me as failure…My fear for my kids growing up in a broken home…
The fear of being a single mom… these fears were all still there but these fears, these DRAGONS, I gladly embraced, when I bundled up my kids, and together, we left their father 3 years ago, in April 2002. Then, I didn’t know what the future held for me, but with faith in GOD and knowing my family’s love for me, I knew things would be a lot better for me and my kids.

Which is why I can SOOO relate to this story I read, about shaolin monks. At the time of a shaolin monk’s final martial arts test, an urn embossed with a dragon is placed on a fire, and the monk embraces the hot metal, scarring his flesh with the image of the dragon. It is believed that to embrace the dragon is to befriend your fears, your obstacles and make them your strengths.

I embraced my dragons years ago, and I still do. The dragons I’ve embraced recently -- I’m afraid of getting hurt and overpowered. So what did I do? I took up kickboxing!

I’d love to be a trainor and public speaker, but I’m afraid I’ll fail, so what did I do? I joined Toastmasters!

Tonight I embraced another dragon. I’m standing up here in front of you now, baring my soul.

Friends, I encourage all of you to look deep inside you. What dragons are you facing now? Think about it. Face your fears, embrace your dragons, and you’ll overcome your obstacles. Good evening, everyone.

26 October 2005

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