some random notes on fear

Fear-based attachments are physically addictive,
states the psychiatrist in the book I’m reading.

(Is that why this nightmare isn’t over yet?)

Explains things:
why ugly hazing rituals cement bonds
why that friend of a friend won’t leave her abuser
(Oh, and she may also know he’ll kill her, if she tries,
but people will still blame her, won’t they?

And do you remember?
“love trumps fear,” said those hopeful campaign signs

I am relieved to find
I am not afraid of Donald Trump
after blustering “many sides” and “very good people”
After David Duke thanked him for his support
I would spit right in his face — I would
(though I am sometimes, often, afraid
I am not attached yet, it

I would spit on Rush and Sean and Kellyanne, too,
though I don’t hate these people,
they are very dangerous
telling us to fear each other, fear our neighbors
passing out fear like shots at a frat party

— calling things by all the wrong names
sowing more fear —

“The greater your influence,” the evangelical preacher James MacDonald said,
“the greater your complicity, if you don’t call the Charlottesville attack what it really was: a heinous act of domestic terrorism entirely rooted in racial hatred.”

There’s an old story about the Buddha.
His enemies frighten an elephant, hoping it will kill the Buddha.
The elephant charges in panic and the
Buddha holds his right hand up:
Stop, his hand tells the elephant.
Then the Buddha sees the fear in the elephant’s eyes
sees that the elephant is driven by fear
and he opens with compassion.
He cups his left hand,
making a space for love,
and the elephant stops, and bows down to him.

So I think it goes:
open with compassion
love with all you’ve got
call things by their right names (don’t lie)
and say no when others try to crush you with fear.

I’m just trying to sort it out.
Figure out how on earth to respond.
Spitting won’t help.
Seeing might. Opening might. Standing up might.

(Remember, be brave. Don’t attach, don’t attach. It whispers your darkest names…but please, please, don’t fall in love with fear.)

Published by

Elaine Olund

I'm a writer, artist and designer who thinks way too much, and tries to see the beauty in the world.

9 thoughts on “some random notes on fear”

  1. So true, Elaine. I experienced an example at the weekend. An elderly man became very aggressive and abusive, so I spoke to him gently and calmly, deliberately refusing to escalate the confrontation, which is what he wanted to do. Eventually he sat down and bowed his head. I felt so sad for him. I was just the focus for some deep-seated pain. All he needed was for someone to help him to calm down. It is not easy work, de-escalating the fear, anger and pain in the world today, but it the only way I know that works.

      1. Today, a child of mine was telling me, just before a car trip, that their head hurt. I gave them some tylenol and said “you should not hesitate telling me when you’re hurting somewhere, because when you hurt, it is so easy to lash out at other people without realising you’re doing it”.

        I’m sort of hoping that 1) by teaching my children sometimes if we hurt, we tend to be less patient and take everything personally, they will be more understanding when others/I lose their/my temper and not take it personally
        2) I will listen to my own advice (😉) and that I should probably listen to my own advice and take pain meds when I need them without letting the pain simmer…

  2. Lovely reflections. I agree, spitting won’t help.
    I’m not sure trying to be nice and loving to manipulative narcissists will help, unless you are strong enough in yourself to notice when they are taking advantage of you, or being able to stand strong and tell them no in a loving way.

    But for most people who are simply following these people who incite to hate and divisiveness, giving them a space where they can be themselves and feel heard and loved may be the way.

    I am trying always (almost always) to approach the debate from a personal point of view, to relate with what they feel, express my views without making them feel like they are bad for being on the other side of the argument.
    It’s not always easy. Some people feel that it’s confrontation if you express views that don’t match with theirs. It’s not always easy, but less tiring than wasting energy getting angry…

    Sigh. I wish I was able to take my own advice most of the time 😉

    Hugs Elaine. Keep being your loving self!

    1. “Sigh. I wish I was able to take my own advice most of the time 😉”
      Truer words were never spoken, Dawn! I think that happens to most of us!
      But we keep trying…
      Thanks as always for reading, and for your thoughtful reflections, which help me go deeper.
      Hugs to you, and you do the same: be your wonderful self!

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