Wednesday, February 23, 2005

This must be the week of trivial facts. In that spirit, did you know that on average, people fear spiders more than they do dying? Again, there has actually been research studies to examine human fear and this is one of the results.

Are you following me so far?

Well then, did you know that statistically you are more likely to be killed by a champagne cork than by the bite of a poisonous spider? I believe this data is gathered by two different studies, with the percentages being compared to one another.

We are - quite a bit of the time - irrational beings driven by irrational fears. It is estimated that 90% of what we actually fear and worry about, never occurs. While at the same time, 80% of that which occurs in our daily life, we never anticipated or saw coming. Interesting.

Not that long ago, I engaged in a conversation with an old colleague who seemed ravaged by one worry/fear after another. When I asked about those non-ending and overlapping worries and fears, my colleague amusingly stated, "I don't mind - it keeps me focused." And the question remains for all of us: Focused on what?

There are so many synonyms for our fear; take your pick:

abhorrence, agitation, angst, anxiety, apprehensiveness, aversion, awe, bugbear, chickenheartedness, cold feet, cold sweat, concern, consternation, cowardice, creeps, despair, discomposure, dismay, disquietude, distress, doubt, dread, faintheartedness, foreboding, fright, funk, horror, jitters, misgiving, nightmare, panic, phobia, presentiment, qualm, recreancy, reverence, revulsion, scare, suspicion, terror, timidity, trembling, tremor, trepidation, unease, uneasiness, worry...

Any way you define it, it is debilitating. It leaves us weak and sometimes incapacitated to do anything to change our present situation. We enter into and stay in relationships out of fear of being all alone. We fear raising our voice because we fear we may be the only dissenting party. We remain cemented where we stand because we fear where the next step may take us. And all the while, 90% of all we worry and fear about, never occurs.

My friend, I am not trying to diminish your concerns and worries. To each of us, they are very real and very threatening and potentially painful. And they need to be addressed. At the same time, know that you have or will have the skills and wisdom to address these present worries and fears just as you did when you encountered the worries of five and ten years ago.

Be also mindful of this advice:

"If we continue in our present path, one of our greatest fears will eventually come true: realizing in our old age that the majority of our days were consumed in fear and worry; gnawing away at our youth and prematurely 'greying' our heart."

Pace yourself. Tomorrow will be full of its own worries, so spend at least some of your day celebrating. Celebrate the poisonous spiders that didn't bite and the corks that didn't fly. Celebrate that today you are still standing above the grave, rather than lying in it. Consume your worries and fears with the gift that you are - don't let them consume you.


One post note: Be mindful of the next celebration you attend. If there are champagne corks flying, you may want keep your head down... just to be on the safe side.

hoedl's haven
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