Fear forever or never

I cannot live in fear forever. It never wins. no fear, know fear, NO FEAR.

Someone once told me that I shouldn’t check-in anywhere on Facebook because people would know I’m not home and then go break into my house. Yeah – they could drive by and see I’m not home and break in – should I never leave my house? All of us have our own fears for our own reasons.

I’m going to challenge myself to ask the questions about fear.

Am I in imminent danger?

Is it a real rational fear? Or am I making it up? (Spiders are going to kill me? – Really? We don’t have poisonous spiders where I live.)

Is it a what if? Where I think of all the bad things that could happen, what if this, what if that? If it is – what’s the worst thing that could happen? Would I die?

If I’m afraid, I can be afraid without being terrorized. Okay, I’m scared, what do I do now?

I started writing this prior to hurricane Sandy hitting New York but realized the timing of this  question in fear was right on. I experienced the power of hurricane Hugo in South Carolina in 1989 and I can say that, that was REAL fear. It brings you to a place where you have nothing left except for fear and the reality of that kind of fear is surrender. There is nothing you can do.

I look back on that time in my life and it taught me a valuable lesson, when fears are real you don’t stress about them, you don’t think about them, you are with them in the moment and you have no choice but to not be overwhelmed. You have to keep living. 

We create a lot of our own fears, which doesn’t mean they don’t feel real, but when we’ve made something up in our heads, we dwell, we stress, we develop anxiety. Those fears aren’t truly real, but made up and in that moment.

I have compassion for what scares me, but I’m not going to let it drive me. I’m scared, now what? Live! GO!

Parallel Lives

Amos passed a Hispanic family, the father driving and smoking, the mother looking out the window with a wistful expression on her face. Amos, couldn’t swallow, so dearly did he wish to be one of them…Why does this happen to us? Because we have abandoned an infinite number and variety of pure possibilities, and perhaps they live alongside the choice we did make, immortalized in the cosmic memory. Perhaps there are unknown lives walking alongside ours, those paths we didn’t take, and we reach for them, we ache for them, and don’t know why. We have, none of us, lived our lives as we ought to have and maybe that’s a good working definition of sin.  God doesn’t care, the angels don’t care, no one is mad at us for our failures. But what agony, to know our better selves, the life we might have lived is there, just out of reach! ~ Amos Townsend – The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimmel

It’s not often that I quote a fictional character, but this quote has stuck with me since the first time I read it. It’s as if Haven Kimmel was speaking directly to me when Amos said these lines.

My whole life I’ve wondered these kinds of things – what if I were there instead of here, what if I were born to them instead of these people, what if I chose x, y, or z and what if – I don’t.

I’ve always wondered why we make the choices we do, why we choose red, instead of blue? Choice. What’s behind the choices I’m making?

Some might say it’s destiny/fate/insert some god’s name here behind the choices we make.

Some say that our entire lives are lived in an effort to become more whole, more of our own true selves and if we don’t choose to move forward in life, the universe will catapult us in that direction anyway. How could that be? Some say that our psyche drives us toward the things that will heal us or help us find our piece/peace in the world.

What is not brought to consciousnesscomes to us as fate ~ Carl Jung

What if there are unknown lives living alongside us and we could capture them if we make a different choice?

What if?

What if  – is the question that for me leads to anxiety. Too much information. Overload. 

Sometimes I feel like I’m stuck on a loop, in a cycle, where I keep making the same choices over and over.  Why? I take it as a sign that I haven’t learned an important lesson that I’m supposed to learn.

Sometimes I can’t get to the real question because I keep asking – what if?

What if all you had to do was make one choice differently?  What would it be, would I even think about it or choose without thought, to see if destiny/fate/failure/lesson-learning was true? What would you do?