Monday, March 12, 2012

Beyond Layers Class Day 17: Fear

Today we are supposed to list the fears we have faced, and the rewards of having pushed through them.

Ug. That feels really personal. Why? I have no secrets. I guess that means there is some shame in having fears in the first place for me. Something to think about. Or ignore. 

I'm good at ignoring. I like to push on through, like a stubborn bull, just get to where I want to go. Or sit and wait for a chance to flit through, like... a scared rabbit? No, like a busy bird, maybe. One or the other, it depends on the situation. But either way, I don't like to reflect on this kind of thing, or the past, or how I got to where I am. I'm always, always, looking forward. It feels much better for me. Sometimes, I manage to be in the moment, but usually, I'm looking forward. Onward. Away from.... maybe. Probably. 

It doesn't matter, as long as I'm not in that place of not being able to move forward. I've been there. Of course I have. There are things in my past that are hard and could have ruined a life forever. I don't think about them anymore. There are other things that were hard, that I'm so grateful we survived, like a preemie baby with vision and speech issues, who is now an amazing boy who reads a new book almost every other day and never stops talking. And autoimmune disease, which, thankfully, after too many years, is under control now that gluten is out of our lives. (It is amazing, actually, how much fear was released with the gluten. There is a whole new brain buzz of happiness and contentment, and serenity and peace and possibility that happens when gluten goes away. It's chemical. You should try it. No, really, you should.  YOU. I would shout it to the world if I could, it's that amazing.) 

There is the usual stuff... job losses, and other illnesses. Deaths in the family, so much pain, dragged out, fear that it would only get harder before it was over, that it would wreck the lives of the care-givers in the family... family issues and relationship issues. People you miss. People you wonder if you will ever see again. Major world events that can suck you in and make you afraid to cross a bridge or travel or drink the water. The best thing for that is to filter the news of course, and figure out what the agenda behind the fear message is... so much manufactured fear in the world that we could do without. Imagine what the world would be like without all *that* kind of fear being spewed at us daily?

And then there is Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's. There will always be Alzheimer's. The big elephant in our closet, maybe. We've got it on all sides... 4 direct links on three branches of the family tree. That's a big fear, especially knowing personally what it is and what it does to a family. But we deal. We donate money whenever we can to research. We take our vitamins, we eat right, we hope for the best. Create new memories every day. Because sometimes that's all you can do. The best you can. 

The most freeing thing? In recent memory... was when my grandmother died. It's sad. I miss her so much. I wish I'd been able to visit her before she died... but not having to worry about what was next, how much worse was it going to get? To know that she was no longer is sick, it was a relief. And I immediately started creating again. In her honor, at first, and in mine, now as I keep going. She was an amazing artist, and she was always busy. Busy busy busy. Until she wasn't herself any more. So hard to watch. Much better to live as much and as well as you can, while you can. 

Moving forward. Every day. Sitting around worrying just makes you sick. Makes me sick, I know this. Worry is a killer. I come from a family of worriers... and I remind myself often: "Worry is just focusing your attention and energy on what you don't want."  It's much better to think what you DO want and reach forward to that with your thoughts. Moving forward. Always. Eventually, anyway, even if you have to throw yourself a little pity party for a day or two...or longer if you can't help it... but you always get back to the moving forward bit. You have to, otherwise, what is the point?  See, I don't like to think about this stuff. It just is. You get through it. Or you don't. But you can't dwell or it sucks all the life out of you. It's a choice. But the more you live, the more you know what you have control over and what you don't. That changes things too, doesn't it? Just knowing? 

Some quotes on fear I've collected that ring true to me:

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do. 
Eleanor Roosevelt

You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.
Eric Hoffer

I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today.
William Allen White

Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.
Karl Augustus Menninger

Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.
James Stephens

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.
Dale Carnegie

Try a thing you haven’t done three times. Once, to get over the fear of doing it. Twice, to learn how to do it. And a third time to figure out whether you like it or not.
Virgil Thomson

The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but, it is fear.

Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic.

"Life is like a good black and white photograph, there's black, there's white, and lots of shades in between." 
Karl Heiner

And here is a photo to go with, looking back in the dreary rain, kind of fitting for the above post? In black and white. We will be working on black and white photos this week. 


  1. Hi Pam, I don't think I am brave enough to do this one, I'm still behind anyway so I've some time to think about it I guess! I just wanted to tell you that the big 'A' is my biggest fear also, my Mum, my aunt, my g.aunt and a g.g. aunt too...seems to be the women in my maternal family. Moving forward and holding the memories....I like that, we should all do that..!

    1. Hi Lizzie, I think there's something really scary about admitting if saying them will make them that much more possible to come true maybe. I know I try not to even think about them, try to push them away as often as I can, so this was really uncomfortable. I have almost deleted it several times today. Really.

      Thanks for commenting, I'm sorry you have Alzheimer's in your family too. Sigh. Hugs!

  2. Hi Pam,
    I love your writing style, your voice. It’s so open, truthful and raw. It’s so relatable.
    I love the quotes you posted, especially the Karl Heiner and Eleanor Roosevelt is always a fav of mine.

    Your black and white photo is awesome – I can almost feel the damp chill of a rainy day.

    I’m so behind on my Beyond lessons but I’ll catch up soon enough.

    (I just have to say that I love your beads! I’m a beader too and your beads are so beautiful.)

  3. Hello I came across your blog by chance. Your photography is amazingly beautiful. Thank you for sharing your fears. Somehow hearing you say the same kind of things in my mind was comforting. I only read this one post and found rare depth and substance in your words. I agree with your insights and appreciate how you explained a way to deal with worry. It was exactly what I needed to read even though I wasn't searching for it. I like how you pointed out about the fabrication of fear. This is so true! Its weird like you summed up everything that is blocking me from progress right now. Thank you!