Blogging for Sanity

Fear is Useless

by Jan 18, 20170 comments

I’m not certain of the exact moment it begins.  Maybe it is when I decide to cruise Facebook and

online news sites in hopes that there will be good political news.  Who am I kidding?  Even if there is good news, I am pretty sure that the corporate media doesn’t plan to share it with me. Why help me feel good when they can get me to buy more of what they are selling.

Here is what they are selling:

Fear.

My body feels fear well before I realize what is happening.  A tightness in the pit of my stomach, maybe a constriction in my chest.  A random thought enters my mind: I wonder if I should buy some grain to store in cupboards… or more toilet paper.  Just in case.

Before I even notice the anxiety,  my imagination is bent on worry.  My creativity transforms into
thoughts about safety and security… or if left long enough maybe into dystopian fantasies of dying in a large nuclear fireball. 

I need an intervention.

I’m not usually one to quote scripture, but here it is: “Fear is useless, what is needed is trust.”    Chaos, death and destruction happen. Fear won’t change that.  Fear, in fact, makes it worse.

As FDR famously said: all we have to fear is fear itself. 

There is a reason he said this.  From our fear, we create more things to fear. We fear each other.  Perhaps we fear ourselves.  When we fear, we cannot create positive possibility.  Fear constricts.

For me, fear gets bigger when I try to make it go away.  It’s a self-reinforcing cycle.
Ignoring fear, saying “there is nothing to be afraid of”, judging the fear… none of this works for me.  But recently, I discovered a practice that does work.  It starts with paying attention—noticing when I am actually feeling fear.  That is key.

The Practice:

(1) Notice fear in my body.  Where do I feel it?
(2) Say. “So this is what fear feels like”
(3) Feel it.  Notice the thoughts as they come up.
(4) Say “So this is a thought that produces fear” (or alternatively “This is a thought produced by fear)
(5) Choose a new thought.  I like this one: I trust in good. (Thank you , Jesus)
(6) Choose an action, however small,  in a positive direction.  Am I worried about climate change?  I choose to work on solar energy.

Guess what!   My fear dissipates.  Perhaps it doesn’t like to be noticed. Or maybe action chases  it away.

Give it a try and let me know if it works for you.

Read More 

Announcing: The Frog Doctrine

Announcing: The Frog Doctrine

Dear Friends: I'm excited to announce news that's close to my heart. As you may know, I've been passionate about ecosystem restoration, climate action, sustainable living, and permaculture for quite some time. But what you may not know is that while the pandemic...

Frog Tale – a love story

Frog Tale – a love story

It was July of 1969. In our paneled den in Bremerton, Washington my dad, mom and I sat in front of a new Heath-kit TV my dad had built and watched Neil Armstrong plant an American flag on the moon. “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” I was ten years...

What Can One Person Do About Global Warming?

What Can One Person Do About Global Warming?

For many years now, people have asked me: "What Can One Person Do About Global Warming?" Sometimes they follow with a question about my own climate engagement:  "How can you stay engaged and optimistic?" Confession: I'm not always optimistic or even hopeful. But I...

Leave a comment.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment