Monthly Archives: October 2013

I was reading an article about southern women today and I realized something interesting.

My father is from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and my mother is from southern California, and the girl I modeled my social skills on in high school was an army brat from (mostly) Texas. I was raised in Indiana in the woods, like a savage, but while my accent is that of a hoosier, my manners are not. 

I quite often compliment my friends, and the folks around me. If you’ve ever been a clerk at a grocery store that’s helped me, or a barista who made my drink, you’ve probably felt the sweet side of my tongue. But here’s the thing-  I don’t give false compliments. I look for something about you I can honestly enjoy, and I tell you about it. As simple as that. If I know you well, you’ll get compliments that are deeper and more to the heart. If I’ve just met you it might be on the order of your pretty earrings, or the color of your shirt. But there’s nothing, I’ve realized, keeping me from being nice, except the fear we all have to show weakness to someone who might hurt you. Well I have made my sweetness into strength, my borrowed southern manners into a face I’m willing to show to a stranger I just met. It’s weird to some of my northern brethren (which, honestly to say, I am one of) but this sweet smile has opened more doors than any number of polite nods or grouchy frowns. People who don’t know me well wonder if this is all an act, false smile, false compliments… I can’t say that I never cry, or frown, or gaze off with a thousand-yard stare, but I make a concerted effort to make the decision to be as positive as I can. Which, frankly, most days, is pretty damn sunny! 

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

October 12, 2013 · 6:16 pm

The Power of Fear in your Life

Fear performs a useful process in my mind. It keeps me from doing something stupid and hurting myself, warns me when I’m about to do something that has hurt me in the past. It’s not all bad. I’m still alive, after all, due to my survival instinct.

But I fight fear tooth and nail, calling it bravery, all the time. Any time I’m in the company of others, sometimes even fighting fear from my own brain in the privacy of my own home.

That’s because fear is powerful. It holds me back, stops me from making amazing leaps, stops me from doing amazing things.

Wisdom is the enemy of action. Isn’t that the quote?

As people get older, they tend to get more staid, more afraid of risk. I’ve always been risk-avoidant. Doing the thing that has the least risk, the most liklihood of keeping me well and alive. College, boring job, straightforward whitewashed decisions. I could have run to some hotbed of music and thrown my whole future at the wall, to see what would stick. But I stayed close to my family, my safety net, and gave myself goals that were what I considered normal.

So when things go to hell, I reassess my strategies, and realize that risk avoidance isn’t avoiding the right things. Quiet, easy-to-reach goals are not the same thing as capturing the passion of the heart. And even if you win at this game, you lose.

The only way to live is to live. Make big decisions, big mistakes. Action, reaction.

So I detest fear, despite the fact that it’s kept me alive and reasonably well so far. Alive and living can be worlds apart, despite the similar spelling.

 

On the other hand, fear has a secondary effect which is wonderful, delicious.

Fear creates a frission which can be the very basis for enjoyment.

What roller-coaster would be fun without fear? What paintball tournament, BDSM session, or poker game would be complete without the fear that goes with it? Life would be boring without fear. Competition dull, gambling pointless, excitement not so exciting. Without fear, life is nothing. Not worth living, not worth caring about.

And how do we not experience fear? By not wanting anything. By giving up attachment. By cultivating wisdom.

So yes, we can give up the pain that comes with loss, the fear that comes before that. But in doing so, we give up living and everything that makes life exciting, fun, new. We are nothing without our sense of fear. And THAT is power.

I believe that we are here on this earth to play a game. Our spirit is limitless, all powerful, and here we are, crouching in these tiny meat bodies, walled in with the laws of physics and the unstoppable end of death, 100% fatal.

There’s a reason. It’s a game, and it’s a teaching game. We’re here to experience life in all it’s various forms. To play the game, hoping to win, to be happy, excited, to get all we want. But it’s just chips, playing cards. The rules of the game. Truly, what we win is experience, knowledge, wisdom.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized