Jane Arie Baldwin

Personal Tools for Living at the Highest Levels of You

Tag: self confidence

How to Make Fear Suck Less

Whether it’s a jolt of adrenaline that sends chills down your spine or a sudden freeze that stills the breath in your lungs, fear sucks. The anticipation that something awful is going to happen looms on the horizon like a ship about to drop into an unknown infinity. This old album illustrates one of the many terrors that humans used to imagine as real.

Fear’s not all bad. Simply put, it is the reaction that occurs when we feel threatened. In the Pleistocene, fear kept us out of the mouths of saber-toothed tigers. Fear senses danger for us so that our body can react, putting necessary protections in place for the survival of the whole human organism.

The problem is with chronic fear. The act of planning for and thinking about the future every single day puts our minds in a loop of overthinking. Thoughts focus everywhere but the here and now. They’re either remembering the past or creating hypotheticals about in the future, setting up scenarios to avoid risk and failure. Soon we can no longer remember what it feels like to be living without a sense of urgency.

Chronic fear is very good at hiding in plain sight. It exists in the frenetic pace of life hitting us at all levels — physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. The phrase “I’m crazy busy,” is an excellent red flag to indicate that we are not responding to fear but holding onto it.

NO MORE HESITATION

Those things that are crazy busy in your life are going to stay that way, just as the carousel keeps on spinning long after the children have gone. Shifting out of the overthinking loop will not happen on its own. The mind is moving so fast all the time in so many directions that you feel very active, even when you are lying down and feigning sleep. Overthinking is working its smoke and mirrors magic on you, making you believe that plotting and planning are protecting you when the truth is that you are stuck in hesitation mode.

“Hesitation sends a stress signal to your brain, it wakes your brain up. Your brain goes to work to protect you, to pull you away from something that it perceives to be a problem.” — Mel Robbins, The 5 Second Rule

You are seven years old on the high-dive again with a hundred water-treading friends egging you on from the pool below.

You are at the edge of a cliff in a hang glider, waiting for a gust of wind.

You are a deep sleeper hitting the snooze on the “Crazy Busy” alarm, one more time.

IT’S YOUR TIME.

At the snap of a finger, one decision can unfold an experience into a whole new set of awareness and observations. It’s difficult to imagine that the opposite of crazy busy, sitting in stillness, can elicit the butterfly effect, until you practice it. Slowing the mind can open and expand the parameters of the current thought bubbles that so aggressively fill the space.

Oil and Credit Cards – A Great Imbalance

Did you know that the first credit cards were created by oil companies so that people would become loyal to a particular brand of gas? Then the department stores picked up the idea. The banks followed and here we are today just as dependent on credit cards as oil. This explanation came from a new book Art & Energy by Barry Lord.

For the last couple of years I’ve wondered many times — What’s the big deal with credit cards? Why do I feel guilty when I slap it down on the counter?  It’s not the rectangular piece of plastic that is the problem.  Look at the bigger picture and it is easy to see the beast that we are feeding by using them.  Instead of going all into a diatribe about banks too big to fail and how a 21% interest charged to you and me allows them in turn to be consumers buying up crazy toxic bonds and spending more than they have thus perpetuating the feeding of the beast archetype – no.  I’m not going there.  It’s Little Shop of Horrors all over again.  As the cashier calls out the amount I owe I can hear my credit card screaming, “Feed me Seymour!”  And in turn its like the falling dominoes of every other credit card within a million mile radius also crying out, “Feed me Seymour!”.  It is the reality of our consumer economy and as all cycles go we will eventually cycle out of it.

There’s a particular energy in place in the consumer economy.  It is based on hopeful anticipation of expansion.  It is founded on the awe and wonder that something better is always going to be around the corner.  Not right here but over there somewhere.  I can feel it when I pay with my credit card, a simultaneous push and pull, tug-o-war between what I have and what I’m about to get, where I am and the possibilities available to me.  Consumerism by its very nature thrives on what might be in the future and usually is fueled by the past leaving us in debt in the present.

A thought came to me about a few years ago.  What if instead of using credit cards and then paying them off,  I saved up money and then spent what I had?  Then I realized I already had that option. It is called a debit card.  For the first time I saw my debit card in a different light.  When I have debt on a credit card there is a very ominous feeling when I get an email reminder of my balance or when it is time to pay my bill.  I noticed a certain reverence I had to the precious money in my bank account unlike the money I didn’t have in my credit account that I often spent with ease.

Like the snake oil salesman who sells a bottle of water as the elixir of life but can’t give a bottle of water away, credit cards offer high limits.  Their almost limitless benefits are much more desirable than those of the old debit card whose benefits, like a bottle of water, can only get you so far.  Ahh consumerism.  What a conundrum!

I had not realized until I heard Barry Lord speak how oil and consumerism are inextricably linked to our economy and to each other.  The reality is that our resources are finite and therefore more like a debit card than a limitless credit card.  This means that consumerism by its very nature creates a false sense of hope because it creates the vibe that things will be better in the future.  This is not meant to sound doom and gloom.  On the contrary, it conveys a sense of freedom that everything is now and that alien plant your carrying around isn’t hungry unless you make him that way.  Then choice comes into the mix and oompah! I want to get off this merry-go-round without sounding existential but I don’t know how.  Instead I could go shopping or one of the hundreds of other options available in this consumer economy.  But first let me check my resources.

 

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