Saturday, February 11, 2012


I woke this morning early with the idea for a website--perhaps a Facebook page?--where people would be invited to make friends with their fear. The idea originated in a casual remark at our artists' group on Tuesday evening, when I mentioned that I was anticipating the trip we're due to start this morning with some anxiety, and that I was trying to make friends with my panic.

"Making Friends With Fear" would offer a simple, step-by-step process:

1) Find a quiet place to sit and close your eyes, and use the breath to create a pleasant, safe, expansive mind-space.

2) Allow yourself to recognize your greatest fear; ask yourself when you were first aware of it; and what kind of physical sensations it brings with it.

3) In this safe, expansive mind-space, allow yourself to fully experience those sensations. If possible, breathe them away.

4) Invite your fear in to join you. Welcome it warmly and let it know that you understand its intentions to be good: it wants only to protect you. You appreciate everything it has done for you in the past.

5) Breathing comfortably, sit with your fear quietly for a while in friendly silence.

6) Before inviting it to leave for now, give your fear your warmest thanks. Say you'll look forward to sitting comfortably together again soon. Wish it well. And without the attempt to banish it forever, breathe it quietly away, for now.

A little fanciful maybe, but worth a try. I find this to be a wonderful exercise. I think it might be helpful to others, and would love to share it in some way. If by some magic it caught on, it could go a long way to healing old wounds and worries, along with the rifts between us.


Lynn Tatro said...

BRILLIANT! I love this idea. It would be a very creative way of dealing with fear. I'm going to try it. Dr. Wayne Dyer says fear is "False Events Appear Real." Working with that concept in this way could be very healing. Thank you!

Doctor Noe said...

Peter, let's start a movement. I posted this and Ms. Tatro's excellent Wayne Dyer quote on my friend's FB page about her blog on Patch deriding the Denzel Washington "Fear" Billboards here:

I thought she was tilting at windmills by reacting against the Universal studios' use of these billboards to instill fear and sell theater tickets, and on FB I quoted the Wayne Dyer definition and referred her to your modest proposal here.

Oh yeah, I also said this:

Your comments about fear being a powerful motivator are spot on, but Denzel would be the last to claim the role of representative of his race any more than Vincent Price, Bela Lugosi or any actor who has starred in a horror movie would represent the white race, or the Hungarian nationals or any ethnicity they hail from.

What if it were a movie about extraterrestrials with the same tag line, and the image was of an alien? Would you say the billboard was promoting fear of aliens, the unknown, the Other? Course not.

In a capitalist society, your freedom of speech is sometimes paid for (or payment for) marketers' use of the landscape to sell stuff. In the Soviet-era communist society that same space was used to convey the government's message.

You could legislate it away, but you'd be better off "growing a thick skin." By the way, I saw the movie and it was a crackling good yarn of an action movie, and Denzel's performance gave it some quiet dignity. I went because of the great tv spots that promoted the movie two months ago, not because of the billboards.

PeterAtLarge said...

Thanks, Lynn!

I'm up for a movement, Noe! Good article. I'm on the road today, so must be brief. All good things...

Doctor Noe said...

Peter, perhaps another way of saying what you said in this post is, "Put your fear on the tip of your sword." It's what we learned at our Warrior traing back in June of 1992!

Btw, have you weighed in on Mr. Hockney's latest work here, or is this blog for more personal discussion?