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Even though I still couldn't face my childhood fears, I did feel as if many layers of dead weight had already been removed from me. I reached over to the night table, grabbed my phone, and texted Larry to ask if we could meet that night so he could help me process that last dream. Larry called me immediately. “I'm running out the door but wanted to tell you I have to work late so I can't meet tonight. I'm starting the interview process for a new guidance counselor. The so-called perfect and very professionally dressed person we hired quit the other day—said she couldn't take the pressure of the job. I'll call you tomorrow.”

After we hung up, I closed my eyes, breathed deeply, and relaxed. The breaths became slow and rhythmic, and I soon felt a deep calm and peace. In that state, I asked myself a question: What am I really afraid of? I didn't try to figure out the answer; instead, I took another few deep breaths.

An image eventually appeared. I was with Lucena. We were making love but not to each other. We were using our bodies as a means to reunite ourselves as One. I felt so peaceful. When I opened my eyes, I was free of fear, but I knew it would return. That's when it hit me: I loved the feeling of peace. By avoiding pain, I protected peace. Maybe I believed that if I faced my deepest fears, I would get lost in a painful process from which I'd never recover to feel peace again.

But I knew there was no giving up now. I would face whatever I had to face in order to experience ...

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