Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Older Dog Wisdom #7 - Overcoming Fear

Tux, my intrepid stalker of bunnies and ducks, dachshunds and fallen tree boughs, squirrels and blowing bits of paper has finally met his match. He has been cowed by - wait for it - a smoke detector with dying batteries.

When the smoke detector first chirped, we all sat straight up in bed (it’s was after 1:00 a.m.). Since then, the detector has only chirped, for the most part, between 10:30 p.m. and 3:00 a.m. We can’t get it to stop because we can’t get the cover off the *&)%$ thing because we’re too short to see where the cover release button is despite being on a step stool. That was three days ago.

Now, when the detector screams at us, Tux runs to my side and begins to quiver. At first, I thought it was because of the freezing cold outside. It quickly became clear, however, that the chirping smoke alarm had him in its thrall. So the great black and white and brown hunter has been bested by the screaming smoke detector.

Lesson to be learned here? No matter how brave you are, there will always be something that will scare you enough to reduce you to a quivering mass of Momma’s boy (or girl).

It is what you do with your fear that determines whether you’ll be defeated or be triumphant. If your fear forces you to do things you swore you’d never do or keeps you from doing the things you want to do, it wins. If the fear forces you to do something you never thought about doing or that you thought you couldn’t do, you win. If you let it dominate your life and turn you into a quivering mass of inertia, it wins. If you overcome the fear, you win.

Let the person, thing, or event that scares you become a character in the book you’re writing. By writing about it, you’ll hopefully find that it becomes less frightening and more of a challenge to be overcome. The latter may take a while - a few days, weeks, months, or even years - before it is conquered, but you’ll wake up one morning and know that you no longer need to write about it because its no longer scary evil. In some cases, if it’s a person who has had you scared to act, that person has become pathetic in her/his need to dominate and control. That person becomes the perfect villain in your books. You win.

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