A month to be fearless
Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017 11:58 am
I will sure be glad to see September is over. It’s been quite a month, starting with Mother Nature serving up a relentless cycle of catastrophe with her hurricanes, earthquakes and monsoons. Then there’s been USA President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un jousting with nuclear arms. Mother Nature and world leaders have all proven they have the capacity for massive destruction.
At unpredictable and scary times like this, it feels like every molecule in my body is shaking at a higher level of energy than normal. My automatic response, after being fear-conditioned as a little girl with air-raid drills at school, is to “duck and cover” under a desk; a useless exercise at best when it comes to increasing one’s odds of survival in a nuclear attack, but a long-lasting tendency nevertheless. With no suitable desk around, instead I find myself glued to the news, watching one disaster unfold after another. Sometimes it’s all I can do to breathe in and breathe out. Fear, it seems, is waging its own war within me.
If only I could become fearless. If only I could get to that peaceful place where fear could just wash over me, like water over a duck’s back. It’s hard to be of any help to anyone when frozen in place, like a deer in the headlights.
During dangerous and destructive times like these I get a little jealous of people who prefer to live in a state of oblivion. Rather than watch the news or read a newspaper, they are happy to go about their daily activities with absolutely no desire to know about, or give energy to, the chaos going on in the world. While I agree there is some wisdom in not letting too much bad news overwhelm your life, I would still rather know what’s happening than not, no matter how difficult that knowledge might be to live with. Just because an ostrich can put its head in the sand when it gets scared, it doesn’t mean it won’t get eaten alive by something. It just means the ostrich won’t see the enemy coming, and will also lose out on any opportunity for escape.
To know or not to know, is that the question? And even if we do know, where does that leave us? Are we any better off? Unless we have learned to effectively manage our fear of whatever is out there I don’t think we’d be better off at all. Maybe the trick is in learning to effectively deal with fear, so it won’t matter what comes at us. Come hell or high water or nuclear attack, we’d be equipped to handle it all. Hmmm…
To look at all this from another perspective, let’s dust off our empathy skills for a moment. What might it be like to have been in the direct path of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, or Maria? Left completely devastated and in dire need of rescue and support, there’s no doubt that hurricane victims wouldn’t be any better off at all if the rest of us were immobilized by fear. And, wouldn’t world tensions be heightened, not eased, should the fear of nuclear war grip citizens around the world?
I think first responders, whether paid or volunteer, are fearless. I think diplomats working to make the world a safer place, especially those stationed in unstable countries, are fearless, too. Not only are they fearless, they are fearless in the face of knowledge; an amazing feat, if you ask me.
Finding a way to be fearless so we can be more helpful when help is needed the most—now that’s in our best interest.
For more in your best interest, follow Sheelagh @sheesays or visit www.ideagarden.net.