Posts Tagged 'personal drama'

Fear of Fear

fear of fearMost of the things we avoid are avoided because we’re afraid of being afraid.

The negative outcomes that could actually occur due to speaking up in class, caring about our work product, interacting with the boss – there’s not a lot of measurable risk. But the fear… the fear can be debilitating, or at the very least, distasteful. So it’s easier to just avoid it altogether. We avoid the feeling of fear.

On the other hand, artists and leaders seek out that feeling. They push themselves to the edge, to the place where the fear lives. By feeling it, by exposing themselves to the resistance, they become more alive and do work that they’re most proud of.

It usually looks higher from up there. When we find ourselves on the edge of a precipice, looking down at the depths of the chasm below, it’s easy to think that our plan is far too risky, or our behavior too weird.

The funny thing about perspective is that most bystanders don’t see you standing on a precipice at all. They see someone doing something a little risky, or even questionable, but by no means off-the-grid nuts. You’re far more likely to go not-far-enough than you are to go too far, especially if you tend to find yourself worrying over what others think.

Internal monologue amplifies personal drama. To the outsider, neither exists. That’s why our ledge-walking rarely attracts a crowd. What’s in your head is real to you, no doubt about it, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us can see the resistance you are battling. And most don’t care about it.

How deep is the water? If it’s over your head, does it really matter?

At some point, when the stakes are high enough, you will swim. And when you swim, who cares how deep the water is?

How much does it cost you to avoid the feeling of risk? Not actual risk, but the feeling that you’re at risk? What are you missing out on? Feeling risk is very different than actually putting yourself at risk. Over time, we’ve created a cultural taboo about feeling certain kinds of risk, and all that insulation from what the real world requires is getting quite expensive. It’s easy to pretend that indulging in the avoidance of the feeling of risk is free and unavoidable. It’s neither.

The fear doesn’t care, either way. The choice is to spend our time avoiding that fear or embracing it.



Bad Guys and Castles


People, men especially, seem preoccupied with protection centered around having something to protect. It’s as if guarding the castle is somehow what makes them men. There are primitive systems at work within us here. Though most would claim otherwise, and point to all sorts of evidence to rationalize it, the truth is we engage in this way not (usually) because it’s legitimately necessary, but because it gives us a means to validate ourselves and satisfies a need, even chemically.

It parallels our tendency to gravitate toward outrage, or choosing to get offended. Yes, it is often a choice. It’s bottled with so much righteous indignation, judgment, and in extreme cases even hate. It’s also often bottled with baggage of our own. Things we’re hiding from and want to protect. We build things, ideas, beliefs, and lives that are sacred to us, then spend a lot of time and energy protecting them from any kind of affront. We become territorial. It’s us and them. We’re trained that this gives us power, makes us feel like men, protecting the helpless. Meanwhile, we sometimes want what they have, which then reinforces our belief that it’s a danger. We’re easy prey for this because of our ancestral instincts.

Man, it is just not as hard as we make it. The proverbial boogie-man isn’t outside your door. Yes, terrible things happen sometimes, but most of it is so overblown by the fear-inducing media that it’s skewed in our minds. We’ve been trained to look for discord, to protect from nearly any possible threat; to worry. By the way, we must remember that this day and age, the function of news organizations is to attract an audience so ads can be sold. Drama, controversy, and fear compels people to engage. It’s a simple formula. Hollywood uses it, too. Our value and contribution is as consumers. If we happen to overreact along the way, no big deal (to them).

We don’t really need the media to take us there. It simply reinforces and capitalizes on primitive stuff that already exists within.

A man wants to feel like he is the king of his domain, the protector of his castle. That’s part of what validates him. Simple as that. To a hammer, everything looks like a nail. It doesn’t help that women often validate this behavior.

Mankind, on the other hand, needs harmony. Sure there are legitimate threats, and we do need to be mindful of them and take appropriate actions. But we feel threatened by things that, in the grand scheme of things, don’t ultimately matter that much. We feel threatened when people do things we don’t approve of, or understand, even though they may not seriously affect our ability to live a life. Our way of life may be challenged at times, and we hate that. We recoil at the idea of someone taking something away from us, whether it be a perceived bit of freedom, a possession, or the time and heart of another. It’s all perfectly understandable, but taken to the extremes we’re fighting what becomes an impossible war, and we’re caught in the crossfire of it at the same time. Any semblance of control over others is a dangerous illusion. See the writing on the wall. Be, and, this is really important, let others be.

Your validation and happiness as a human isn’t going to ultimately be found in what you protect and hold on to. Let go. Let the chips fall where they may. Let others make their decisions about what they care about.

Go | Stop

GoStopIt’s a paradox of our lives that while technology is constantly invented that saves us time, we use that time to do more and more things, and so our lives are more fast and furious than ever.

Recently as I sat on the porch reading an actual book I felt the call of the phone. What e-mail, texts, Facebook/Instagram/Twitter posts have gone by? Was the book not enough? Was I afraid I was going to miss something important?

It doesn’t have to be this way…

It’s only when you stop moving that you can begin to see what really moved you. Yes, movement is important to acquire experience and get things done, not to mention its value as a mere distraction. But don’t forsake the value of simple stillness. Leaving your mind open to think and process. Only in stillness you can deepen the experience of life, to replay it and try to make sense of it.

People are getting dizzy from movement, and we often find that our biggest luxury comes when we’re sitting still. Slowing down without simply being lazy is a conscious choice. To appreciate life & living now and here. It may sound easy, but for many of us it’s difficult to do, and it’s even risky for those of us whose wandering minds pose problems. It’s more than the commonly hyperbolic statements such as, slow down, or stop and smell the roses, or take time to enjoy the moment. Those are valid and often true, but…

You must stop. Go when you need to, but stop at prescribed times. Just stop. Let your mind take over. Let your mind wander (wonder). So much of our life takes place inside our heads — in memory or imagination or expectation or just illusion — that if we want to change our lives, we might best start by changing our minds.

But the mind is hard to control. If it’s not being productive, and the thoughts are dragging you down, then go. Try doing something to reset things. Come back to the stillness later and try again.


cross walk Jesus

Sometimes the battles you’re fighting are not as they appear, or will not lead to a result you really want. Observe how you define winning and think through what it really is. Some players at the poker table will never show you what cards they had after they beat you. It makes sense. If you show people what cards you beat them with they can start unwinding your game. I knew a player who would always flash you his hand, or tell you later over a drink, how he beat you. He cared more about your feeling in defeat than his victory in the next hand. He cared about the connection. What battles are you waging, and why? What do you really want?

An Infinite Moment in Time

Sometimes it takes just an instant. A moment of poor judgement, a moment of brilliance, an hour of extreme depression. It can begin or end a lifetime…or a life. The whole universe can be contained in that moment, for someone.

While the rest of us stare at our computers. Sometimes we wonder. Often we just exist, and plod on with a vague, underlying feeling of angst.

Right now many are so dismayed at the death of Robin Williams. Another in a series of famous and talented personalities we’ve learned were riddled with ‘issues’ and suffering from one of the more troubling diseases of our times: depression.

How sad it is that he reached a state where no one was able to help him. Imagine those final hours (or days?) leading up to it. He moved us. And he was also moved.

Meanwhile with much less fanfare a kid gets snuffed in Missouri by a cop. We’ll never know much of what really happened, but the bottom line is in a moment a kid is dead. Or you have a race car driver who possibly had a colossal lapse of judgement in what may have been a moment of anger or spite.

These are just moments for the pontificating world. They are the universes and lifetimes for some. What do we owe each other? Don’t wait until it’s too late.


From the Outside…

mood-swing…your trials and tribulations don’t seem as grand.

Internal monologue amplifies personal drama.

Consider how much the empathy of others really means to you. Do you truly need it? Is it really what’s going to get you going and get you past whatever obstacle there is?

All of that will comes from within. When you succeed at seeing your problems through the eyes of others — all of whom have their own issues — you begin to realize it’s up to you.

It’s easier to turn off that droning monolog of drama once you get to work on conquering whatever the issues are.

Get to work.


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