Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fear itself

I believe in aromatherapy. I have a database of inspirational quotes. I tout the psychological benefits of exercise, and I practice what I preach.

Yet somehow, I end up spending a good chunk of my time afraid.

Part of this is necessary. I take a decent amount of (healthy) risks, because you can't savor a fear and adrenaline cocktail from the comfort of your couch.

Still, I don't welcome fear with open arms. It surfaces in a variety of forms. Sometimes I fear I won't hit certain life milestones. (Thanks, Facebook!) Sometimes I fear I'll regret the quality of my relationships, or lack thereof.

And sometimes -- like right now -- I fear things as mundane as a kickball game.

Naturally, my first instinct in this situation is to remind myself that concentrating on fear is a losing proposition -- it will consume your thoughts to the point where your dreaded outcome materializes.

That approach doesn't always work. Maybe it's too rational. So I've turned to Courage -- as in, the name of a tube of bareMinerals lip gloss in my purse right now. Laugh, but I use it very selectively and so far it has a perfect fear-conquering track record.

We all have a version of Courage lip gloss -- something that temporarily blinds us to what we consider a really complicated world. Sometimes, however, fear disappears when we realize it really isn't that complicated after all.

I'll leave you with an excerpt from Roger Ebert's new memoir:

I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime.

To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances.