Vern's Verbal Vibe

Singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist and purveyor of folk 'n' roll: spirit-filled sad songs made better.

January 03, 2008

You Know You're Canadian When ...

... you're listening to U.S. caucus speeches and expect the presidential candidates to break into French.

Bonus points if you don't have a clue how their electoral system works.


January 01, 2008

Freedom From Fear

I've had a rough patch over the holidays, with fear coming up over a variety of issues. Once I came through the worst of it and felt more centred, I wondered how to confront it. (It's slowly dawning on me that avoidance, my standard strategy, only makes things worse.) The initial response was to set myself a goal of taking one risk per day—large or small, doesn't matter. So far, so good: two days, two (smallish) risks.

I figured more research couldn't hurt, so I went to the library and borrowed
Susan Jeffers' Feel the Fear ... and Do It Anyway. This is perhaps a quirk of mine, but when I read self-help books I always do three things:

  1. Avoid all the exercises. They drive me nuts, slow me down, and hamper my learning. I'm a verbal learner, not a doer. I need to grasp the underlying concepts and integrate them with prior knowledge.
  2. Distill the message to its essence. The simpler and more direct, the better.
  3. Put the message in my own words.

Here are the results. I hope they're useful, both to myself and whoever might be reading:

(Adapted from Susan Jeffers, Feel the Fear ... and Do It Anyway)

  1. Fear never goes away by itself.
  2. Uncovering the root of my fear may lend insight, but it won’t remove the fear.

  3. Paradox: avoiding fear creates more fear.

  4. The only way to overcome fear of X is to go out and do X. (This can be a gradual process.)

  5. Facing fear builds confidence. The more I do it, the more confident I’ll become.
  6. Everyone feels fear. Some overcome it; some let it paralyze them. Which do I want to be?

  7. Pushing through fear is never as scary as the paralysis that comes from giving in to fear. A risk-free life is death. Obsessive quests for security create insecurity.

  8. Obvious dangers aside, fear generally does not signify retreat; it invites growth.

  9. Underlying fear is a lack of faith. All fears boil down to "If I do this, I won’t be able to cope with what might happen." But I can; I always have. Therefore, there are no wrong decisions—only different sets of experiences, any of which I can handle.

  10. In the big picture, it really doesn’t matter what I decide. Each choice simply creates a different experience. Experiences are neither good nor bad—they are what they are.

  11. The correct answer to "What if?" is always "I'll handle it."
  12. I can live in faith or in fear. When I am afraid, I have no faith. When I have faith, I have no fear.

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