Let me be completely honest with you for a moment.
Fear rules me.
And let me be honest again.
I suck at New Year's resolutions.
I want to change the way fear controls my response to life and it's a nice occasion to do this for the New Year. Might as well start changing this part of me now. Right?
Here's a list of why I want to change King Fear's reign of terror and domination:
- I look at other books on Amazon and fixate on the sales ranking. Response: Fear. You're not going to make it as a writer!
- I write a blog post and realize my boys have spent the past hour-and-a-half playing a stupid tapping game with a gingerbread man. (What's with that, anyway?) Response: Fear. You're a shitty father! Go spend time with your kids!
- I close my eyes after my evening meditations. I think of the abyss. Nothingness. No life. Response: Fear. There is no God and life is meaningless!
- I wonder if people give a shit about the stories I share. Do I make a difference for people? Response: Fear. You're wasting your time!
- Why do I still think about drugs and alcohol? Not just "about" them, but I first remember the good times. Response: Fear. You're going to lose your sobriety!
- I realize that I've spent an entire afternoon Facebooking or looking up new music mixes on YouTube. Response: Fear. You aren't getting anything done!
- The next subject for an interview cancels on me. Response: Fear. That person was perfect for the collection of stories. Your book is going to suck!
I've thought about ways to begin changing this aspect about me.
I've tried telling the fear to just shut up. You can probably guess how that went.
I've read articles where an expert says that fear is really an "appendage" emotion—like an appendix or the little thing hanging in the back of your mouth. The article said that we developed fear because of an existential, life-or-death threat that USED TO BE real, but no longer is. Lions, Tigers, and Bears. Oh my!
Since I don't live in a cave any longer (don't talk to my wife—she will disagree) I shouldn't have this issue, I tell myself.
Nope. Fear's still there.
I regularly practice meditation. That helps a bit. It also helps to simply immerse myself in work or when I reach out and help other people. I like helping people with writing projects; I like to share my addiction and recovery story.
But then there it is again.
The. Fear. Never. Seems. To. Just. Go. The. Fuck. Away.
So here's my plan of action . . . [drumroll]
I'm going to give up.
No. I'm not going to give up on life. I'm going to give up trying to banish the fear.
A guy who I deeply respect recently told me about a different way to deal with sorrow, emotional pain, negative emotions, fear and stress. I only reconnected with him about a year-and-a-half ago. He was a student with me when I was at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota studying for my undergraduate. My friend is a soldier, an officer in the military.
He's also got a different perspective about these sorts of things, not just because he's been through some pretty scary times in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also since he was raised with an understanding of the Cherokee Harmony Ethic.
This ethic—or way-of-choosing-to-live—has its roots in a Cherokee understanding of the preciousness of life, despite what circumstances you find yourself in. Since I'm writing my fourth book dealing with the subject of psychological resilience, I've done a fair bit of reading about the subject. It absolutely fascinates me.
But I'm still a baby when it comes to changing the way I behave to adopt the principles into my own life. I don't know how to actually DO IT.
Change is hard. I might be keeping a blog on transformation and the process of change, but let me tell you . . . I'm still learning.
Anyway, here's a bit of what the Harmony Ethic is about. I got this quote from this site here.
Fear is a part of me. I don't need to make a normative judgment about it.
It just is.
I cannot banish fear. I'm a human being and human beings have fear.
But I can banish its tyranny over my life. I can acknowledge it and move on.
So that's my New Year's resolution. What's yours?
Let's talk. This blogging thing is so much more interesting when you interact.
I love hearing from you.
Peace! - DDM
About the Author
Daniel D. Maurer is the grand wazoo keeper-of-this-blog. He's got a couple of books out already. Here's one. Here's another. He's writing two more this year and will soon be writing on a couple of new freelance projects. He lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with his family and is owned by one dog and two cats.
Transformation is real. Believe it, baby.