Well this week I am going to write an actual post rather than just an announcement. You'd have to be on this side of the screen though to see that my shout out last week was miraculous even in its brevity. I'm actually amazed at all that has been done this past month or so.
As I meet deadlines, and take on new challenges I have been met by my old companion fear. I've been playing the what if game in my head, imagining all the different things that could go wrong. This is not something new. I do torment myself from time to time with the worst case scenario. However as I have delved more into my self I am realizing just how much fear has been entangled with my identity. It has become a character trait rather than a passing emotion.
There was a great book written in the 90s called The Gift of Fear. In it the author defined fear as a biological response in the presence of immediate physical danger. We have in our civilized brains taken fear out of the wild and removed it from its moorings. Now it stalks our relationships, our work, and our own daydreams. We daily recreate our own nightmarish fantasies of what we really hope doesn't happen, but can't stop thinking about. Sometimes we become so good at it, they even happen outside of our heads. We have become the chosen one, in our own self fulfilling prophecies of defeat and disaster.
Fear is a useful survival mechanism, but in myself and many others it has gone beyond that. It has become mixed up with who we think we are. We often define ourselves by our fears. This is not in our best interests. It makes us stressed out and it also makes us easy to manipulate. Our media works hard to keep us in low to mid grade generalized anxiety state on a daily basis. Make the people afraid and they will give anything to the powers that be to protect them to whatever bogey man the networks are selling. Most of the time we don't think about it, but every generation it rears its ugly head with things like ethnic cleansing, police killing unarmed men, internment camps, and religious persecution. These are the fruits of fear.
I ran across some old notes from a lecture one of my teachers' gave years ago. I found a quote, "Anyone who is trying to scare you a little is really trying to scare you a lot." It's quite true it is the basis for much of the manipulation we encounter. Now I am not saying we should do away with fear, because it has kept us alive. I am saying that we need to reestablish it as a temporary functional state rather than a constant presence in our heads. We must feel ourselves without constant anxiety. Once I recognized this pattern in myself I knew I had to address it if I was ever to have a moment's peace while I drew breath.
How about you? How much does your fear and anxiety shape your life and choices? Can you imagine yourself without it for a day, a week? or a month? Odds are unless you are living in a war zone or a very violent neighborhood there is no need for that continuous sense of unease. Start to examine how much of yourself and your actions is really you, and how much it is your fears. Until next time check out the song Drive by Incubus. I'll put the link below.
Peace and Blessings,