Thursday, October 2, 2008

on fear

a post about fear from a fellow blogger and witchy-friend got me thinking, especially when i consider it's october, the month when popular culture is increasingly allowing all the things that go bump in the night out of the closet.

when you start to notice how many times we are told we should be afraid of things, it's really no wonder that most of us live our lives in a constant state of low-level fear. just a trip to the grocery store, or goddess forbid, a gas station, can stir up terrible thoughts from global warming to genetic modification. when i was married to my first husband, i lived in a constant state of fear because he could be emotionally and physically abusive.

when i left him, i promised myself i would never again live in fear, or make decisions based on fear, or allow fear of anything to rule my life. but even after i'd moved to ct, and we were divorced, he still had the power to terrify me with legal threats about custody and child support. one night, i was upset because i'd been served with yet more court papers. i remember crying and carrying on, and just being so terrified i felt as if i couldn't go on.

and then Beloved pointed out, that as bad as things MIGHT get, there were no nazis at the door. and that everything i was afraid of had not come to be, might never come to be, and i was wasting a lot of time and energy worrying about things that weren't real. i can't say his words immediately changed my outlook, but it marked a turning point for me.

and once the situation with my ex began to calm down, and i was able to apply my outlook to the broader world around me, i was astonished to realize just how much we are manipulated and controlled.... by fear.

the pitch is intensified now, it seems, over the election. time and again i hear from my dear Syster-Wymen how afraid they are ... if mccain gets elected, if the supreme court overturns roe v wade... if we go to war with iran... if if if... the litany of fear runs over and over, a moebius loop of such astonishing proportions it seems we must all be snared in its web, except, of course, for the lucky few - like the buddhist monks and nuns in their monasteries, the ones who've renounced it all.

a few weeks ago, i received a letter from a very kind-hearted and well-meaning individual - a reader of this blog, in fact - who means to save my soul by threatening me with potential hellfire and damnation if i don't bow my head to God the Judge.

this poor soul can't see how she is bound in a hell made of fear, a hell she sincerely wishes in which i should join.

i haven't answered her latest epistle yet, mostly because i haven't quite decided HOW to answer her. it isn't that i simply don't believe her kind of hell exists. it's that i can't participate in her kind of fear. and that's the attitude i'm striving to adopt - in these most tumultous of times.

so what if the worst happens? what if mccain-palin get elected? what if the financial markets collapse? what if roe vs wade gets overturned? what if we blow ourselves up, or worse, poison our world with chemicals and greed, so we all go down in a slimey green sludge?

well, maybe if roe vs wade gets overturned, we will be roused out of our complacencey and finally and forever create a law that "gives" women absolute right to decide what they do to their bodies. the fact we even NEED to articulate this "right" is - or should be - an abomination.

not long ago, i came to the conclusion that anyone who thinks the end of humanity is a bad thing isn't seeing it from the cockroach's point of view. energy is never lost and matter regenerates. a trillion years from now we may all be arguing over the viablity of belief in sentient humanity, even as we chow down on their mountains of rubbish. after all, haven't there been times you wanted an extra pair of hands?

and furthermore the war must end. blessed be.


Dina said...

all i can say is WOW. Love it!! I did a post on fear a long time ago and it was about the fact that all of us humanoids act from one of two places love or evangelist friend is obviously acting from fear...a place I never want to be!

Spirit said...

You are the very best. Thank you for you sage advice. it is appreciated more than you know.
blessed be.

A Shade Of Scorpio said...

Beautiful. I needed that. =) Good autumn morning to you Annie!

Bookwormom said...

Ah.. fearmongering. A time honored tradition it seems. Thank Goodness I've never had to fear losing my children due to divorce, but we did have to endure living through the Beltway Sniper (not to mention everywhere else they strew chaos). For a long long time we were the only ones who let our children outside to play & our neighbors asked me wasn't I afraid they'd get shot at the playground? I was, a little bit, but fresh air and green grass is better for their souls and my patience than being held hostage by an unknown boogeyman.

As to complacency, you are right- the silent majority often needs to be roused from their inattention before anything will get done.

Carol said...

hi annie. at this ripe age of 50, i have admitted to my children, the 3 daughters anyway, that i have lived most of my life in a quiet sort of fear. usually not a loud, huge, terrifying fear, but an underlying one. it has controlled most of the decisions i've made about myself, what to try in life, what to do, what if i paint/draw/write something and no one likes it? what if i do it "wrong"?? (heaven forbid!) so i do nothing.

some fears are good, like the ones that have us protect ourselves and our loved ones. this other kind is just destructive and sad. so...i'm working on it (have been for a couple of years now). it does help to break it down and figure out the answer to the "what if's"....makes things a tad less scary. :) so thanks for putting it out there.

and....i was just reading the heart to heart newsletter and saw that you will be doing a workshop there?? it's one of my most favorite, peaceful places to spend time! here i've been reading your blog for months and never made a connection. the older we get, the smaller the world gets!

annie kelleher said...

thanks for all these great comments :)... fear serves many purposes, and i dont think we can banish it entirely - as carol points out it is one of the things that ensures our survival. a certain amount of fear is good for the soul (and the body, if its in danger of being eaten). and terror is a heightened state of awareness - if one can set aside the fear and utilize the awareness of terror, one can accomplish heroic, even miraculous things, even under the most extreme conditions.

P.A. GIbbons said...

Are you sure we aren't sisters, or perhaps we were married to the same husband, or had lives together in parallel universes?!

Meditation and learning that it is a waste of time to project into the future has calmed this type A personality down quite a bit. I can no longer live in fear of anything as it has mucked up my head and stressed out my body long enough.

I take it moment by moment and constantly try to be present.

My mind still wanders on those meditation sessions, and I still can create catastrophes in nanoseconds if I let my mind wander too much.

Fab blog!


Darling and so Charming said...

Oh- I forgot to tell you I clicked on a comment you made on a blog (I rarely do that..) and here I am.

I think you'd like this site a lot.. I love it and I just think you'd enjoy it.. peruse at your leisure..


The Johansen Family said...

Hi Annie ~
Psalm 111:10 says "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever." This is not a "fearful" fear, but a "respectful" fear. I have absolutely NO fear for myself anymore - that's the beauty of it! He gave me wisdom in the LORD when I got saved. It's a very peaceful life ~ to live in Him. Take care of yourself. Laura