Friday, August 20, 2010


Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world. Ralph Waldo Emerson

My fears are strongest in the morning, and they awaken when I do. I know they’ve been exercising, doing push-ups in the basement while I was sleeping, gathering force and potency as I’m resting. By the time I’m back among the conscious they’ve taken on monstrous proportions.

They run the gamut. Financial insecurity; Alzheimer’s, cancer, relapse. Age, loneliness, fear of failure at what I’ve been doing for a long, long time now—writing—and the belief that no matter what I put together, I will not be published or recognized. Fear that I will lose my home through lack of income, that I will not be playing the lottery the very week I would have won it. Fear that my friends will move away or vanish as many have already.  And many, many more.

I don’t know whether this is normal or not and I don’t remember harboring such qualms a few years ago. I speak with people who exude serenity and have no uncertainties about what may—or may not—come to them. They believe their Higher Power somehow is aware of their every twitch and desire and will come through for them, not matter what. I have no such confidence. My Higher Power’s pretty busy laying waste to the Sudan or loosing floods in Pakistan to pay much attention to me. Or at least, that’s the way I’ve been feeling the past few weeks.

Call it a step back from faith. I’ve always believed that faith is not leaping from A to B, it’s leaping from A, and lately I’ve been unwilling to commit myself to such a jump. I don’t see the safety net below and don’t trust the rescue squad to get there in time.

Buddhists believe that the whole secret of existence is to have no fear.

The one good thing in all this is, I’m pretty sure it’s all temporary. Over a lifetime I’ve had far more good things happen to me than bad ones and there’s no reason to think the trend will stop for good now. So it’s a question of conquering the fears, or, at the least, learning to live with them. There’s a lesson here somewhere but I’m damned if I know what it is…

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