I'll take inspiration from anyplace I can get it. Including science fiction. I happen to write science fiction so it seems fitting, anyway. One of the most quoted passages from Frank Herbert's novel Dune is the Litany Against Fear.
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.
When I first read the book I was in seventh grade and couldn't keep up with all the characters and factions and intrigue and invented history and all the rest. But still, the passage above caught my attention, as it has caught that of so many others. I found myself actually using it as a real litany, a meditation almost, and then felt bad for it because in those days I assumed if it wasn't direct from the bible, God would punish me.
Too bad. Because now-a-days phrases and quotes like this are very useful to me. Ways to center myself when I'm overwhelmed. I stand back and watch the fear itself, the path it takes. It moves through me and then I'm still there.
I've spent most of my life afraid, experiencing fear. There are times when I conquer it temporarily, but I always find myself with something else pushing terror down on me. As depressing as that idea is, it carries a core of hope. Fear comes and goes, and I remain. It waxes and wanes, ebb and high tide again and again, but I'm the sky, I'm the shore.
Right now I'm scared because I have to go to a meeting related to a contract, and I haven't done that in a long time. I'm not even certain that when the time comes, I won't drop the car keys on the floor and find I don't have what it takes. And I'll feel like crap if that happens. But the fear doesn't beat me anymore, I'm here to live another day, try again, and maybe find I can do something new tomorrow that yesterday was impossible. You never know.
Your Hostess with Neuroses
Image from xKimJoanne on flikr via Creative Commons
Thursday, February 12, 2009
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