FEAR

 

“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”
― Frederick Buechner

 

Fear is insidious. It undulates and creeps around like a viper.  It whispers in our ears like the winds; howling and shaking and crying out. It demands our attention. It assumes control and commands there shall be no other gods before it.

Fear makes us think the unthinkable. It calls us to action at times and paralyzes us at others. It seizes all common sense and hijacks the imagination, forcing it to succumb to it’s will.  Fear is irrational. It claims to be all-knowing, all-seeing. It promises to share it’s insight for it insists it knows the future. It will take care of you. It will provide you with thoughts to think, things to do, and people to hate. It offers so much but leaves only emptiness in it’s wake.

Fear grows rampant in this crazy world. It’s no wonder since it has been used as a means of control since the very beginning.  Nothing motivates like fear and nothing can feed that mob mentality quite like it.

Throughout history there has never been a shortage of boogeymen. We have been taught to be afraid from the very beginning. Some of that fear has been benefical. Our early ancestors lived a life fraught with real life dangers, it paid off to be able to perceive threats and respond  quickly and efficiently. The physical effects of fear itself such as a quick dose of Adrenalin gives us quicker reflexes to be able to try to outrun that Saber-tooth Tiger or fight it off.

saber tooth tiger brave face the tiger

Not all fear is bad. Some of it is fun. We can get a vicarious thrill by watching scary movies. Haunted houses are popular at Halloween which is a major holiday in The United States. People go to amusements parks for that same thrill. Facing danger without truly facing it can be quite exhilarating. Science has proven our brains really don’t know the difference between a real and not so real threat. 

dracula pics-qDtU

There are forces in this world which feed off our fears. They distract us and manipulate our thinking. We don’t need them but they need us. It’s a new threat played out on TV, the internet, and in advertising and print media…everywhere. It is fed to us and it’s difficult to know who or what to believe. In times of doubt and uncertainty we tend to believe the authority figures we are trained to obey. Governments, the media, religion and even your 5th grade teacher and dear old mom have used the tactics of fear on us at one time or another. But we are all grown up now and ready to face the truth, whatever that may be, not what someone tells us it is.

Fear of disappointment
Fear of disappointment

  The only thing we have to fear….

Fear causes us to miss out on what is truly important to focus on the improbable. Most likely it will not be the object of our fears which will “get us” but something that hits from left field. If we have taken reasonable precautions in life there is nothing much more we can do to prevent that great unknown menace except for having a positive attitude.   There is no logical reason to worry. At this point any concern is counter-productive.

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That often quoted quote by FDR still rings true today maybe even more so.

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt

Fear-Mongering

Fear can hurt you literally. Fear effects our physical and mental well-being. The most common physical reactions are a rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, sharpened or redirected senses and dilation of the pupils. Muscles tighten up and are primed with oxygen, in preparation for a physical fight-or-flight response.

Most of what we fear in this modern age we cannot fight or run away from. Many of us live with a certain amount of chronic fear, real or imagined. This weakens our immune system and can cause heart damage and gastrointestinal problems. Fear impairs the formation of long-term memories and causes damage to parts of the brain. This can make the impact so much worse because we lose the ability to regulate fear by rational thought.  We are more susceptible to intense emotions and impulsive reactions and our decision making processes are altered in negative ways.We are anxious, depressed, tired and old before our time.

 “Is it useful to feel fear, because it prepares you for nasty events, or is it useless, because nasty events will occur whether you are frightened or not?”

― Lemony Snicket

AK4253-006.jpg

Of course there are valid dangers in this world, much too many. It is within the realms of possibility, albeit a very slim possibility, I could walk out my front door and get hit by a meteorite. It is much more likely that I will proceed to my destination unharmed.  Most of our fears are the meteorite-type ones; dramatic dangers, hideous and terrible with the infinitesimal odds of ever happening. 

Credit: Jack Ohman
Credit: Jack Ohman

Most of us lead relatively uneventful lives and deaths. What are the chances of your typical average Josephine such as myself or you or anyone being killed in a terrorist attack, or from getting the “plague du jour”?  Not likely, but it seems the dramatics of the very possibility can supersede reason.

Being a person who has been afraid of most everything for most of my life I can testify to the needlessness of fear and how it can control you and keep you from living life to it’s fullest.  I can also say that it can be overcome. I know most have never been afraid to the extent of myself but I do know I can’t be the only one who has experienced this intense emotion. Any fear is valid because it feels that way to the one experiencing it and it’s difficult to step outside of an accustomed way of thinking. Face the dragon and the dragon will dissolve before your eyes. We are more powerful than we believe.

 Have a fearless day,

Nancy

dragon_slaying____by_pixelcharlie-d3in4jm

 

Warning!!

You are about to enter SBI’s Gallery of FEAR!

Enter at your own risk…

 

adam eve eden snake
Evil knowledge

 

el diablo devil vintage creepy
Scary Evil Dude. Boo!

 

1957---invasion-of-the-saucer-men movie fear vintage
Aliens!!

 

Cold-War-Ads-and-Propaganda-Main fear
Bad Communists

 

vintage fear invasion
Invasion!

 

Bad drugged out zombie people
Bad drugged out zombie people
Fear mongering: Probably the best-known example in American politics is the Daisy television commercial, a famous campaign television advertisement.
Fear mongering: Probably the best-known example in American politics is the Daisy television commercial, a famous campaign television advertisement.

 

islamophobia fear
Islamophobia

 

 References and related articles

 

Impact of Fear and Anxiety

Viral Outbreak – Fear – Chaos as Means of Control

The Bogeyman (Wikipedia)   Bogeyman-like beings are almost universal, common to the folklore of many countries.

How to Spot a Communist

“Daisy Girl” Rare 1964 Lyndon Johnson Political Ad -aired only once- 9/7/64 

Duck And Cover (1951) Bert The Turtle Civil Defense Film

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YOU are not alone and neither am I

 

shadow woman waiting dark

I have wasted too much of my life being afraid. Afraid of sharing my unique self with the world. Keeping my little jokes to myself for fear of someone not getting them, not getting me. Afraid to speak up, afraid to say anything at all. I blended into the background as best as I could. Trying not to be “discovered”.

I kept in my own little world for fear of living in the real world. And that is what that fear was doing to me; it was preventing me from living at all. I responded to events, I never initiated them. I never tried my best at anything for fear that my best wasn’t good enough.

Fear is isolating. It self perpetuates; feeding on doubts and insecurities. My fear kept me away from people, from getting to know anyone. Even my own family. I would don a placid and vaguely pleasant mask that I wore for the social events I couldn’t get out of.  I was labeled shy and thus ignored, and I liked that for a time… but as my life passed and I found it more and more difficult to convince myself that I enjoyed being alone in a crowd; never sharing my thoughts, my hopes, my dreams, my opinions. It never occurred to me that others could feel the same. I think loneliness has a way of making one think they are the only person in the world who has ever felt the way they do.

stars shadow lake night

Perhaps it was my loneliness which caused to to reach out.  I have discovered that loneliness is quite common, many of us are lonely. Some hide it well but it shows in the eyes. It shows in the constant seeking some people do; the restlessness, the looking for that something they can’t seem to find.

I have found that something and that is this glorious truth;  by reaching out to others, others reach out to you too. I have been encountering such beautiful souls…wonderful people who shine like the sun. Some of them don’t think they shine at all but they do and that light warms us all in this cold world.

We need more of this. This world is dark and cold and we need those special people out there, the quiet ones out there in the shadows, hiding…waiting perhaps for someone to notice them and beckon them out into the light. I understand you. I am one of you and you are not alone.

 

Contemplation

Part of me wants to shout out from the rooftops: I am here!  I exist!  I yearn to make a difference in the world!

(Another part of me wants to run and hide and blend into the background.)

This time I won’t allow it.  I will wear my heart on my sleeve and I won’t give a damn what some may think or say. I won’t let fear run my life, rule me. I won’t be afraid of opening my heart, my mind, of freeing my soul to something wonderful that I cannot yet see. I will free myself from fear…those of you who fear like me, you can too…

You can. Take my hand… We can come out into the light together and together we shine like a million suns…

 

shadow kids-in the sunset

 

Thanks for being there and listening. Thanks for reading my blog and for commenting. Thanks for accepting me as I am. My confidence grows daily.  It is through my writing and because of it that I can come out into the light and be the person I’m meant to be.  

 

~Nancy

*

The Beatles – Eleanor Rigby

Jumping off cliffs

It is now that I sit here tapping away. It is way past midnight. I am snuggled up in my fuzzy purple blanket, drinking strong hot coffee and living in the moment like a breeze. For me this is one of the bestest and funnest things to do;  in words I dance in this moment. At times not knowing exactly which word will be…next…it is a journey of sorts and I tend to end up in places I never expect.

My mind is the octopus. The ship is logic. Let's see who wins out?
My mind is the octopus. The ship is logic. Let’s see who wins out?

My mind is like a hungry octopus, its tentacles awry, making a wild grab for this and that. Storms form. Clouds rush in only to be ushered out by shards of brilliant sunshine.  I am here amid swirling thoughts and ideas that play themselves out atop a blank page… it is here floating on this stream of consciousness where I feel fulfilled and engaged…so alive…huddled over a keyboard like a maniac, tapping away into the night…

“A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.”

― Franz Kafka

There are many reasons why I write; the most obvious being that I generally go crazy if I don’t. It is an essential outlet to me. If I were the only person on this planet I would still write it…even if there was no one to read it.  There are feelings I have that would never see the light of day if I didn’t get them out in a such a way. In a way, writing is my friend….and at times in my life, my only one. It is a big part of me. I have allowed it become a big part of my identity.

Writing has become an open window to the world

I started this blog over two years ago with an idea. Simply put; I planned to be myself and write whatever I felt passionate about and see what happened.  Now 190 posts later I am a different person than when I started. I feel as if I have gone on a long journey and I’ve seen and learned much. I’ve met some amazing people along the way; others who share this wanderlust of the mind and spirit.

I am happy when I am writing and I enjoy the results. What blows me away is how others enjoy the results as well. I am the happiest when  I  hear that something I wrote brought a smile to someone’s face. There are worse things. And as dreams go; being a writer isn’t all that impractical, is it?

I feel fulfilled and enlightened and I feel my journey has only just begun…

The Grotto in Portland Oregon. Credit: SBI
The Grotto in Portland Oregon. Credit: SBI

There are so many more reasons not to do something than to do it.   All action brings risk but then so does inaction. Much of the time it is this inaction and the result of such that can be the most damaging and corrosive. Fear can cause one to freeze like a deer in the headlines and do nothing. I have been guilty of having this response for most of my life.

I can’t say that I’m not conflicted. There is the artist part of me that feels and yearns and all that. It is that side of me I have chosen to let dominate, at least for now. Then there’s the other side. The one that doubts, the one that looks over my shoulder at the cold cruel world , the one that sees the bottom line. The part of me that pays attention and knows how difficult it can be to make a living being a writer. It reminds me that in no uncertain terms; if one wants a job writing, one must make writing a job and go to work.

I admit it.  I am hesitant to want to make something I love so much into work….and really…to be honest, I’m scared.

I suppose a lot of it is the fear of rejection. Do I have what it takes to be rejected over and over? Writing is very personal for me. I put my heart and soul into everything. It is much more than just a simple act to me. It is something  akin to extraction. The possibility of a million rejections and then subsequent “failures” truly hits home here. In writing that’s where my safety lies. This is my safe spot that I protect. My soft underbelly.  Much of my new-found self-worth is found here in this freedom of expression. Perhaps it is here I will find my answer as well.

I am reaching a point to where my fear of inaction is greater than my fear of action…

There is this voice inside me.  It started as a whisper that’s grown to an insistent tap on the shoulder,  it borders on the desperate, begging and teetering on the edge of a scream…

There is never a better time than now…do it!

Jump off cliffs

One of my favorite writers, Ray Bradbury once said,

“You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.”

Life is full of risks. without risk there can be no reward. Without jumping off cliffs, how are we ever to learn to fly?

I made a promise to myself that I would start submitting writing pieces in 2013, I have yet to do this. Now I’ll have to. Keep you posted. Wish me luck.

 

Strawberryindigo.

blue butterfly

“Writing is finally about one thing: going into a room alone and doing it. Putting words on paper that have never been there in quite that way before. And although you are physically by yourself, the haunting Demon never leaves you, that Demon being the knowledge of your own terrible limitations, your hopeless inadequacy, the impossibility of ever getting it right. No matter how diamond-bright your ideas are dancing in your brain, on paper they are earthbound.” 
― William Goldman

The Behemoth

pine tree morning

Have you ever had a behemoth in your life?  Did the elephant in the room ever come sit on you? Has there ever been a big thing that plopped down on you and grabbed you and now is sucking the light out of your life or in this case your yard…

I moved into this house 13 years ago. Back then it was quite a different place, besides of being denied of my whimsical vibes and general weirdness, the house and surrounding yard lacked the appropriate plant and animal life.  The backyard lies on a double lot. In the far west back are big bushes of the still unknown variety.  A very tall pine tree stood in the center like a behemoth.  This tree was too big for the yard and it’s influence was greatly felt.  The tree rendered 90 % of the yard dark and pine needly, what little grass that grew was patchy and only grew to shaggy and straggly near the outer parameters of the yard—the only place the sun was able to shine. This was where the tallest of the strongest weeds grew. They stood like sentinels seeming to be guarding the yard from interlopers.  This yard had been neglected for some time. There was nothing; no odd wildflower sprouting up, no old forgotten rosebush in the corner overgrown with weeds. Nothing to show that someone who loved flowers was once there. I have a fondness for old neglected gardens, finding the traces and leftovers of a plants that at one time were planted there by someone and cared for and enjoyed them. To me it sort of feels like walking back through time. And I try how to image how the place once looked. To me gardens have always felt like the person who once loved them.

It has always been a fantasy of mine to move into a place with a yard like that. Where I would have the joy of discovery of  finding and resurrecting once overlooked wonderfulness. an opportunity to nurse it back to former glory with equal parts love, devotion and hard work.

Well this yard had none of that; no hidden charm or gem. Just pine needles, grass and a few weeds and an overgrown hedge.

There was nothing to save and resurrect because there was nothing there.  The tree took in all the life-giving light for itself and didn’t share. Nothing was left.

I tried to make the best of it. I have always been a gardener at heart. I have this need to be surrounded by plants. I probably got this trait from my mother who lived and breathed plants too.  My childhood was filled with memories of the outdoors; of soft green grass, and miniature roses, big green trees with arching limbs, blue skies with big puffy clouds, a chorus of birds chirping and singing away happily. To me nature has also been magical and gardens a way for us mere mortals to create a bit of our own magic.

I much as I love trees I knew that if that if that behemoth didn’t leave we would never have a decent backyard, besides it was dropping needles like crazy, probably not a good sign. We knew what had to be done. We got three bids and went with the lowest one and the behemoth was gone 3 days later.

backyard stump
We decided to save the stump. We had it shaved off at about three feet. It reminds me of the one the Lorax stood on in the Dr. Seuss classic. There it remains today.

Once the behemoth was gone, the yard was instantly transformed.  It was if summer had finally come after a long cold lonely winter. My mind starting whirling with ideas on what to do next. I picked a corner, started digging and never looked back.

I wanted this place to become an extension of me– “my little kingdom” and I spent hours and hours working…sometimes 6 or 8 hours a stretch with no break out there digging in the mud, planting, raking, pruning, mowing. digging, lots of digging…

I really enjoyed the work which surprised me. I was never good at sports or anything physical but I enjoyed this gardener’s workout.  (it’s not as easy as it may look)

Over the years, a little this and some more that. I couldn’t afford a bunch of plants at once, so I would add little bits here and there; more and more each year. I saved many seeds and learned to propagate, adding more and more plants. As time went on the yard looked better and better. I started to feel good about this and started to feel good about myself.

I didn’t much feel good about myself back then so this was a really good thing. I lacked self-confidence and wasn’t too sure of myself. I was shy ( I still am) this simple act of working hard, achieving a wonderful result that others and yourself can enjoy is absolutely wonderful. It makes a person such as myself feel all warm and toasty inside. This gave me a dose of confidence and more importantly made me realize the other behemoth in my life. The one’s who mighty shadow I was standing in and to an extent still do

This huge dominating force is not a tree, but it has taken root in me–planted there a long time ago. This behemoth is called fear. Unlike a tree I can’t just hire someone to come cut it down. But living in its shadow has rendered me a late bloomer I am afraid to say.  I am also afraid to say it still stands but it is no longer a behemoth; just a big weed now. I will probably always struggle with fear to some extent. I highly doubt that I am the only one…but, I have cut it down to size and now my own personal garden in thriving in the light and is home to thousands of bright happy things.

Strawberryindigo.

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Did you ever have a behemoth in your life? What was it and how did you overcome it? 

lemon rose cu

“People where you live,” the little prince said,grow five thousand roses in one garden… yet they don’t find what they’re looking for…

“They don’t find it,I answered.

And yet what they’re looking for could be found in a single rose, or a little water…”

“Of course, I answered.

And the little prince added, “But eyes are blind. You have to look with the heart.”
― Antoine de Saint-ExupéryThe Little Prince

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THE LEAP

Leap-of-Faith blue sky guy

“Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith.”  
―     Margaret Shepard

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Come on in….the water’s fine…

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Sometimes one must jump into the cold pool of uncertainty fully and with gusto. Realities of life rarely afford us the chance to dip a toe into the water and slowly emerge ourselves, gradually taking it all in…aware and ready for each step. No. Life is often sudden and in your face. Events can turn on a dime requiring you to act and right now.  Often it takes a leap of faith.  It is then we must put aside all fear and just do it!  Jump in with both feet, eyes wide open ready for anything.  You can never know what is just around the corner.

Life is what we make of it….and our lives consists of a series of choices, each one effecting the next….twisting and turning. The road is unpredictable….but variety is the spice of life. Who wants to be bland and tasteless in a world filled with wondrous and exotic tastes?

It is easy to allow the uneasiness of unknowing to  overwhelm.  Fear is formidable. It is engrained in us. Fear alerts us to danger….real danger.  Fear can drive people to action. That same fear can also prompt inaction. These instincts have served us well in the distant past. But the world has changed. Old fears have been replaced with new ones. Most of us have no need to fear being eaten in the jungle by a tiger or bitten by a venomous snake. Modern fears may not be so immediate, they may be more complex and sometimes not everything is as it seems.  Valid fears of homelessness, joblessness, bankruptcy, war or global warming, etc. These are real fears and the answers are not so obvious. Frequently there are no real answers. Sometimes it is not as easy to see where the danger lies exactly, and we are confused. This encourages inaction. “Look where you leap” is good advice but not if indecisiveness leads to doing nothing at all.  Action is the key.

leap-of-faith fish

TAKE THE PLUNGE

Seize the day! The world awaits. Take control of your destiny. Lest destiny be in control of you.

Change is inevitable. Be that change! Take  ownership of it. Make that change work for you.

Typically when it is all said and done, it is that which you did not do which you will regret.

  We can ride the waves of cliché as far as it takes… mere words only go so far.

Real progress and anything worth anything at all takes work.

and there is no better day to start than today!

Strawberryindigo.

We should all start to live before we get too old. Fear is stupid. So are regrets.”  
―     Marilyn Monroe

..

                     Flags amongst the trees

                     FEARLESS by Pink Floyd (youtube)

Walk Confidently Past Fear (borntobeaheroine.wordpress.com)

Fearlessness is not the same as the absence of fear (janaknmistry.wordpress.com)

A leap of faith (lotushealingsa.wordpress.com)

Scary Birds

Scary Birds

Here I am in this cage with these birds, these colorful winged monsters flying around and over my head, chirping with their angry little greedy beaks.  One particularly aggressive bird swoops down and steals a tiny white cup of nectar of a chubby fisted toddler, who starts to cry.  I become even more nervous…

I am at the zoo with my daughter, I did my best at hiding my horror when she mentioned wanting to visit the lorikeet’s.  She called them cute little birds, I call them flying demons from hell.  Not wanting to disappoint her and most importantly, not to look like a big chicken in front of my kid, I agreed and came here of my own free will.  I even shelled out a dollar for a cup of nectar.

Once inside the cage, I told myself lies to calm myself.  Lies that rationalized the whole thing.  Why would the zoo people put us in danger?  I look around, lots of families and children.  Everyone else seems O.K. with it.

After all I am an animal lover… And then the carnage begins.

Did I mention the sounds these birds make?  Horrible screeching, their noise echoes throughout the enclosure.  I am going into sensory overload which brings on a panic attack.  My heart races, I start to sweat and all of a sudden, I feel dizzy and sick.  I look around, everyone is having fun, no one notices my white knuckled fear.  It is all I can do to keep up appearances as a calm rational adult human being.  It soon becomes too much as a have to duck incoming artillery.  I don’t want to be stuck walking around with bird shit on my head.

As I said , I am an animal lover.  I have pets. I talk to squirrels and raccoons.  I have even contributed to Greenpeace.  But honestly, this is too much…I have to get out…Right now…

So we leave the nest of the wretched and to my amazement, my daughter never noticed how scared I was in that cage with those scary birds, a big chicken like me.  I smile.

We proceed to the polar bears.  One of my favorites, They seem so soft and cuddily…they would probably maul me if I tried to hug one though.  I know I must keep my affections at a save distance and I admire their awesome strength and grace.

Come on in, the water's fine.

As the day goes on and we see more and more of what the zoo has to offer, the hellish images of what transpired earlier have vanished from my mind. 

We see the silly penguins march around and watch the playful otters swim to and fro. The tall giraffes seem so lofty and majestic, the elephants look like wrinkled old wise men and the big cats nap in the afternoon sun.  Except one, she paces.

What a striking animal.  Full of beauty and grace but also full of raw animal power.  Watch out!

We visit the apes and the monkey’s too.  I look for my wee buddy, the Pygmy Marmoset, he is nowhere to be found.  And where are the Sun Bears and the Tigers and the Black Rhino?

“They are all sleeping” volunteers the zoo keeper, who amazingly can hear my thoughts.  Sounds like a good idea,  A nice relaxing late afternoon nap.  I could use that after this long but fruitful day.

sunset stripe
A beautiful end to a long day

 Strawberryindigo.