Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Fighting Fear

On my way to swim with the stingrays, June, 2010.

I am participating in #Trust30, an online initiative and 30-day writing challenge that encourages you to look within and trust yourself.  

Prompt #8: Afraid To Do by Mary Jaksch

The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson says: "Always do what you are afraid to do." What is 'too scary' to write about? Try doing it now.

(Author: Mary Jaksch)

I found this prompt confusing, because it seems to me that the two quotes mean different things.

I believe the first quote refers to our reluctance to behave in unexpected ways so as not to alienate our social circle. We get comfortable in our little niche, and we don't want to risk losing our place. But the fact is those who truly have our best interests at heart will support us unconditionally. They will let us be our wild, wonderful, unpredictable selves and love us all the more for it. Inevitably, we will make mistakes; our real friends will help us pick up the pieces. When our risks pay off, they will show up at the front door with champagne and dark chocolate.

So, while we're quoting Emerson:
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

As for the second quote, I try not to let fear stop me from doing anything I truly want to accomplish. For example, I am afraid of being in water over my head, but I put on a life jacket and swam with sting rays in Grand Cayman last June. I am afraid that I will never find a worthy life partner, but I keep putting myself out there. I am afraid I will never find success as a writer, but I am doing my best to learn the craft while developing a daily discipline.

My deepest fears have to do with things completely beyond my control. Tornadoes and earthquakes and house fires and decisions my children make and losing loved ones. When scary thoughts pop into my head, I try not to focus on them; instead, I acknowledge them and hope they will pass as quickly as they came. Then I focus on the next thing so there will be no room for them to come back - at least, not for a while.

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
~ Frank Herbert, Dune, "Litany Against Fear," 1965

Does peer pressure ever keep you from being all that you are? Do you ever find yourself immobilized by fear? How do you fight your fears?

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#ROW80 update: I got my Maggie entry (synopsis and 35 pages) submitted Sunday evening; I have been hard at work on my revision ever since. I've added only about 2000 words to my manuscript so far this week, but at least I'm back in the game, and hope to up that word count considerably tomorrow and Friday.


Carol Burnside aka Annie Rayburn said...

Pam, I think you're right on with your interpretation of that first quote, especially. I'd like to add that not only are true friends there to help us pick up the pieces if we falter, but they'll also admire that we TRIED and will encourage us to continue.

At my house, they'd better show up with milk or white chocolate! Truffles would be even better.

Another quote I think you'll like, and maybe already do:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~ Marianne Williamson

Isn't that lovely and freeing?

Julee J. Adams said...

Okay, chick, I saved this one. Chris started that quote from DUNE one time when I was driving in Indy and it made me laugh so hard, I almost went off the road. Of course, he also started a rosary prayer one time and I worked that into my novel. And thanks Carol for the Williamson quote.
And I'll be there with some Godiva dark chocolate liqueur. How about that? Some powerful stuff.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sunny Punkin Dew Drop, That's a great picture of you heading for your sting ray destiny. One happy smile, like the one I used to see in the Atlana skyline not so long ago.

Pam Asberry said...

Good point about friendship, Carol. I will remember what you said about the chocolate. ;-) And I love the quote; thank you for taking the time to share it. Marianne Williamson is amazing. So are you!

Pam Asberry said...

That's one great thing about being a writer, Julee; we can work our life experiences into our work. For me, sometimes it's downright cathartic. Godiva dark chocolate liqueur? Sounds like the best of both worlds to me - great idea!

Pam Asberry said...

Thanks, Anonymous! :-D