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▣ LOVE ME TENDER The Journey from fear to forgiveness to love! Part 1. Fear

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Part 1.  From FEAR
              Part 2.  To FORGIVENESS

                                 Part 3.  To LOVE

INTRODUCTION

Are you nostalgic for the good old days?

In the good old-days before every household had a television, life was simpler – or so it seemed. You can watch an old movie or one of the early television shows like, “It’s a Wonderful Life” with James Stewart and Donna Reed, or “The Donna Reed Show,” or “Father Knows Best” with Robert Young and Jane Wyatt.  These shows depicted life as simple giving the impression that life was safe and secure. On these shows, neighbors knew each other and did not lock their doors; as a kid, you could go to your parent and get them to help you with any of life’s problems; even the teenagers had...

Part 1.  From FEAR
              Part 2.  To FORGIVENESS

                                 Part 3.  To LOVE

INTRODUCTION

Are you nostalgic for the good old days?

In the good old-days before every household had a television, life was simpler – or so it seemed. You can watch an old movie or one of the early television shows like, “It’s a Wonderful Life” with James Stewart and Donna Reed, or “The Donna Reed Show,” or “Father Knows Best” with Robert Young and Jane Wyatt.  These shows depicted life as simple giving the impression that life was safe and secure. On these shows, neighbors knew each other and did not lock their doors; as a kid, you could go to your parent and get them to help you with any of life’s problems; even the teenagers had simple issues that concerned them. Then in those days you had the benefit of siblings, aunts and uncles, and grandparents, and compassionate neighbors who willingly offered to help if something went wrong. It was accepted practice for a young pre-teen child to stay out after dark and, if they did get lost, a police officer, a fireman or even a stranger would readily give them a ride home. If a pre-teenager got into a fight in high school, the teacher would render a spanking, the principle would render a spanking, and when the pre-teen got home, a parent would again spank them (this also included many a teenager).  If your car broke down in a strange part of town, you could knock on almost any door and ask to use their telephone.

This is how a lot of adults remember their past; but the truth is they have reinvented their personal histories. The truth is primal fears have been with us ever since the human race started, but the intensity of the information about fearful events has increased dramatically in just the last 25 years – actually it has escalated exponentially since September 11, 2001.

This posting is to address the basis of our primal fears and drives – knowledge is empowerment.  Why do our fears feel so much more dramatic and overwhelming now than decades ago – and, more importantly, what we can do to help ourselves through some basic actions – the journey through forgiveness and love?

PRIMAL FEAR

Primal or primordial fears and drives are feelings that humans have always had to deal with.   A primal fear means that the feelings are so deeply ingrained in our psyches that all mentally competent individuals experience them.

These primal fears create interesting challenges for human beings; that is:

·         the individual who is totally void of one or more of these primal forces or fears is at risk of death or serious injury because they lack the forethought/caution that the fear raises; and

·         the individual who is overwhelmed by one or more of these primal forces or fears may find themselves frozen in their tracks and unable to proceed with their life.

The primal fears (not in any particular priority order) are:

·         Fear of the dark and the unknown – today’s example includes a fear of success or failure;

·         Fear of fire;

·         Fear of heights;

·         Fear of strangers – today’s examples include asking someone for a date, or asking for a deserved promotion, or fear of public speaking; and

·         Fear of sudden movements – examples include animals because they tend to move faster than any human and include the example of being startled by someone jumping out from behind a door.

There are also primal drives, some of which are universal, such as the drives to obtain food and water, to maintain a stable body temperature, to have reproductive sex, to avoid pain, and to experience pleasure and curiosity. But the one we are most interested in is a very complex drive that deals with survival of the species. It is complex because it ranges from self preservation to the example where an individual will take actions to save someone else’s life without regard for their own safety or life; an action that often invokes multiple adult’s primal fears.  

Life is psychologically tougher today than it was for someone a hundred years ago. A person born prior to 1910 often died within 25 miles of their birth place. They lived close to their many relatives and had lifelong friends. People in the nineteenth century got most of their news delivered by stage coach, train or telegraph after it was several days old.  Prior to the nineteenth century very few people could even read much less write so people in the eighteenth century and earlier got most of their news delivered by traveling minstrels (story-tellers and musicians), tinkers (a combination repairman and salesman), and soldiers after the news was several days or even months old.

Today, most cognitive human beings are being bombarded with information that is heavily loaded with stories of war, massive natural disasters and destruction, terrorism, criminal behaviors, amber alerts, and individual acts of rape and murder, plus homes burning down and school kids being arrested for bullying. And that’s just to name a few of the images we see and hear about each day on the news. Our grandparents, even our parents, of 50 years ago did not get as much media overload as we do today; yes, they learned of these events, but it was often delayed reporting. Prior to television (just 65 years ago) and the Internet (just 25 years ago), they did not often hear about a murder or rape that happened thousands of miles away – let alone, the same day it happened.   If they did hear about it, they would have learned about the Haiti disaster about a week after it had happened; and, it most likely would have felt like a really distant event that had little relevance to their lives.  The images would have been newsreels seen at a movie theater.  Today, we not only hear about these horrible incidents, but we get instant graphic pictures, we get dramatic heart-rending interviews with the victims, and we see the suffering, and even empathically we feel their pain. When we hear of an Amber Alert in Seattle, Washington, it strikes fear in our hearts for our own beloved children. When we hear of a suicide bomber and the intense police search the same hours that it is happening in London, England, we recognize that it could be one of our populated centers.

Fear indicates that the person is focused on what is important to them. In some ways fear is like an addiction; for some people it starts out in small ways and grows. But for another person, it may be full blown from the very start and take over their life completely – technically in psychology, this is called anxiety or a phobic response. Though they can still be functioning in the normal world, there are some who become so dysfunctional that they have a breakdown and have to be medicated or institutionalized for a period of time.

Part 1.  FEAR…

So today, it seems most of our planet is operating under the influence of fear.  Fear includes worry, anxiety, trepidation, dismay, fright, dread, and that very scary word, “terror.”  Is our war on “terror” really a war on fear?   Is it a fear of someone or something different from ourselves, fear of change, fear of loss, fear of lack, fear of death, etc.? 

Control…When we fear someone/something/anything, it announces that we are feeling as if we have no control over our lives/circumstances/choices or that we are trying to hold onto the control that we perceive we have in our life, i.e., status quo

Yet, our greatest gift from God is that of “free will.”  Fear says that we either do not know we have “free will” or we are not accepting or using our “free will,” OR that we choose to not take responsibility for our lives, our circumstances, or our choices.     For any one of these reasons, a very large portion of humans have turned over their free will to their fears or to individuals, even to the media, that promise to help them hold onto or justify their current circumstances and dogma, i.e., maintain their status quo!  People can be absolutely miserable and unhappy in their life situations, but they prefer to maintain their status quo because change is scary to them (fear).  After all, change might require them to review the information housed in their JAR (unconscious) and require them to be willing to release the fear/emotions attached to the “stuff” housed there in order to have or create the change.

Fear can keep an individual stuck, frozen, and unable to move. However, friction and movement are the creators of change; sometimes the change is uncomfortable.  But, change is what we are here to accomplish.  If our ancestors had never stepped through their fear(s), we would have starved to death millennia ago (I know that only starvation would give me the courage to face a dinosaur [fear] on my hunt for food); we would never have gotten on ships to travel the scary seas to discover new land, we would not have electricity; no one would have climbed mountains or invented the light bulb or airplane. 

Fear can be beneficial if it is transmuted into knowledge, into caution, into preparedness, into a search for clarity, etc.  When fear pushes us forward, it can lead us to great discoveries; e.g., a fear of losing someone we love from a disease could launch us into research for and/or discovery of a cure.   Curiosity can push us beyond our fear of climbing a mountain so that we can discover what is on the other side.   Love can make us forget our fear and jump into the turbulent ocean to save someone who is drowning. 

When fear immobilizes us and we find ourselves at a standstill, then fear is in control.  Our fear of losing control then is realized because we have turned over our control to the fear.

What is important to remember is that being in “control” demands a great deal of personal responsibility.  If we insist on control, then we have to be responsible for our choice(s) from the time the choice is made through to the outcome.   

Keep in mind too that without input from other viewpoints, control can limit our results.   Though a flower garden planted with just one color and type of flower can be beautiful (one viewpoint); think about how beautiful a garden planted with many colors and types of flowers, trees, and shrubs can look (multiple viewpoints).   Multiple viewpoints, whether we accept them or not, expand our baseline of facts and potentialities. 

How to get past the fear! Walk, run, or just step through the fear.   Sometimes, as stated earlier, the outcome can be uncomfortable; sometimes, the outcome can be great.  Most importantly though is that you have created movement/friction, and you have expanded your vision of possibilities and potentialities in a world that is craving creativity.

You have free will and part of that is the ability to ask logical questions. As an example, you are listening to the news about some disaster that happened in some city thousands of miles away from where you live. You see the graphic destruction and injuries and hear the sad stories of the victims to which you respond with a visceral tightness in your throat and chest – fear.   This is the time for you to stop and ask yourself, “First, am I responding to a threat to my life or to my family? Second, is the news media (television, Internet, radio, etc.) selectively picking up sensational news that catches the viewer’s attention? Third, can I take a healthy, positive action based on the information being provided?” You now have the potential for movement/friction.

You cannot control the world, but you can take action!   Take responsibility.

First, recognize that some of the things you fear take a community to do something about.   In an example where a mother experiences the loss of her daughter to a drunk driver - the mother was devastated and wanted to do something to stop drunk drivers. She started a movement called MADD – Mothers Against Drunk Drivers.  MADD works with State and Federal legislators for tougher laws regarding drivers under the influence of any inhibiting agent (alcohol or drugs, etc.). Another example is that of the group of young television actors who are using their fame and influence to create a nationwide (worldwide) movement to clean up the environment – you can see it their ads on the Disney Channel. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, who have joined together to solve the big fearful problems.

Second, recognize that there are a number of actions that you or your family can take on a daily basis to protect yourselves – here is a tickler list to get you started:

·         Lock your car door – immediately – upon getting in it; particularly, at any shopping mall.

·         Never stop your car in a dark lot or dark street – it’s better to destroy a flat tire than to get assaulted or to get hit by a car that does not see you.

·         Look around before you use an ATM machine – even in a well lighted location.

·         If you work late: (a) move your car before it gets dark to a closer parking spot; preferably one that is well lighted; (b) carry a whistle – loud screams and piercing noises make potential attackers run away, most prefer quiet victims; (c) ask a co-worker or the building guard or maintenance person – known to you – to escort you out to your car; (d) use your cell-phone – if you cannot get someone to escort you ask the guard to be on the cell-phone line with you until you are safely locked in your car; even better, have your spouse on the phone. And men these ideas apply to you too – robbers will mug a man from behind to get a wallet.

·         If a police car pulls up with its lights flashing and siren screaming at you on a dark and deserted road – DO NOT STOP! Turn on your flashers to let the possible police officer know you see him/her; then drive to a well lighted area that has a number of people who can see you and the police car. It is your responsibility to protect your safety and the fact is there are a number of vehicles dressed up with bogus police lights and sirens. The other thing you can do is call the police dispatcher and state that you are being followed by a police vehicle and want to verify that it is real.

·         Do not let strangers put anything in your suitcase, bags, or purse when you are traveling.

·         Young single ladies going out night clubbing should go with a friend. Do not accept free drinks from strangers; if you do, realize you are taking a risk – the best approach is to only accept a free drink when it is handed to you from a bartender or staff person; unless it is a bottle of beer with the cap still on it. Use your cell-phone camera if you meet a guy you like, then have your girlfriend take a picture of the two of you – if he objects to getting his picture taken, dump him quickly.

·         Do not text using your cell-phone while driving – no one is able to split their awareness that safely. 

·         Assemble a personal identification file for each member of the family. This sounds like a worst case situation but, hopefully, it is something you will put in a fire proof box and never need to use – just like a home owner’s insurance policy or flood insurance policy. In this personal ID file put the following: (a) finger prints – you can get a kit from many hobby shops or ask the local police station; (b) picture – but obviously for young children these get out of date quickly, so update them on a regular basis; (c) note any birthmarks or other identifying marks or scars or tattoos; and (d) needed medications and serious allergies. You can include potential DNA material like a tooth (that came out naturally) or a lock of hair from a comb (this material lasts a surprisingly long time) – not blood as it needs to be refrigerated. Of course, you can get really serious and send a DNA sample off to one of the various DNA labs that have cropped up in the past few years and put that in the ID file.

·         This does not complete the list of possible actions you or your family can do to ensure a safer life – these are just provided to get you to thinking.

NEXT WEEK, Part 2.  Forgiveness.

 

last edited on June 13th, 2010 at 6:58 PM

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