Friday, November 25, 2005


I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Ours was very low-key and very lovely. We have a lot to be thankful for, and I'll try to fill you in over the next few days. Thanks for all your good thoughts--they helped, they truly did.

But I still owe you some answers. The amazing Jessica asked:
What would you do if you had absolutely no fear in your life?

This is such an important question to me. I've spent a good deal of time over the past few years finding the answer. I used to be so afraid of everything. Afraid of failing people, afraid of succeeding, afraid of leaving, of being left, of what could happen if I made the wrong choice. Afraid of getting old, of being alone, of being poor, of losing people, of being hurt, of hurting others. And then one of those things I was afraid of happened, and guess what? It turned out okay. And then another one happened, and damned if that didn't turn out okay, too.

I've really developed a rather metaphysical belief system over the course of these frightening times. One of my favorite statements is that the opposite of faith is not doubt--it's fear. And fear is like a magnet. What you believe will eventually consume you, you know? You just can't do it. You can't live in fear all the time. Well, you can, of course--plenty of people do--but I choose not to do. When I realize I'm afraid of something, I try to sit with it, and just let it be what it is and listen to what it has to tell me, instead of running headlong in the other direction, as I used to do. And it helps, it really does. So this is the part of the answer where I tell you that my spirituality has helped me a great deal in my life, not because I think, ladida, nothing bad can ever happen to me, but because I know that nothing can ever happen to me that I will allow to crush my spirit. Does that make sense?

So I guess I'm a lot more fearless than one would guess from my surface. Because I'm a somewhat cautious person. I tend to evaluate risk and whether it's worth it, so I won't, for example, be sky-diving anytime soon, even though I'd love to try it. The risk of being hurt and not being there for my kids is not worth it to me. It isn't that I'm afraid, I just don't evaluate it as a worthy deal, if you see what I'm saying.

The big fears I still have tend to be for my kids. I become filled with the fear that they won't be happy. I'm not fighting it, exactly, but I am trying to learn what I need to learn from that fear so I can move past it.

What would I do if I got past all the fear? If I had absolutely no fear? I would be the friggin' Buddha, you know? I think it's a nearly impossible goal to achieve. People think no fear means running around doing crazy things or being oblivious to danger, but I don't think that's it. I think it's realizing exactly what the human spirit is capable of becoming, and realizing that nothing stands in our way of reaching that, unless we give it permission to do so. And that is probably the scariest thing of all.