When we live despite the urge to fear

Live without the urge to fear (Willow)

Fear is an ugly thing. It contorts the face, boils the gut, and manifests in every unhealthy emotion – anger, worry, hatred. Fear can spread across the land, a virus more deadly than any microbe.

“Fear is the mind-killer,” Frank Herbert wrote: It robs us of our reason, strips love and compassion from our hearts, and brings out the monster in us.

The children of fear are slavery, tyranny and war.

When we overcome fear, we rise. Continue reading “When we live despite the urge to fear”

Risk it

risk it

Darren Hardy, the motivational guy who once edited Success magazine, has a daily mentoring video called, well, Darren Daily, and the other day he talked about the old “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, where the story proceeds based on your choices at key moments. Life is a Choose Your Own Adventure, he said: Your choices determine your story, every day, all the time. Continue reading “Risk it”

It starts when you’re always afraid

beware of hobgoblins

REMINDER: The 99-cents introductory price on Refuse to Be Afraid: Tenth Anniversary Edition ends after today. (The print-on-demand price is the print-on-demand price.)

’Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country.

Thomas Paine

No doubt you’re afraid of something, or you wouldn’t be reading this book.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of. I’m scared, too. We all live with fear, ranging from little anxieties to sheer, stark-raving-mad, paralyzing terror, and everything in between. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of getting started, fear of being stopped before we’re finished, fear of what to do next after we’re finished. Fear of hate, fear of love, fear of hating, fear of being loved. Fear of sickness, fear of health, fear of other people’s habits, fear of our own.

Fear of death.

A portion of this book is necessarily about politics. So many people have found a sure way to get elected is to make voters afraid of something — or someone. Continue reading “It starts when you’re always afraid”

What it all means

The Muse taunts (Dejah)

(From Refuse to be Afraid Tenth Anniversary Editionridiculous introductory price through Monday)

He who is not every day conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

There was a time when I was a political junkie and a bit of a hard-line party creature. I even ran for the Wisconsin Legislature a couple of decades ago, and in my early career as a newspaper columnist I spent a great deal of space arguing a political line. Liberty, freedom and fiscal conservatism were my favorite themes. For that matter, they still are.

In more recent years my writing has veered from the external trappings of liberty to fighting for freedom in our hearts – confronting the fear in your heart and living in the here and now – understanding “we become what we think about” and “whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

So what’s the point? Why am I writing about stuff like this? Continue reading “What it all means”

Again, the story of that cliff

dreamstime_web_1430739 top of the cliff ID © Brion Curran

(From Refuse to be Afraid Tenth Anniversary Editionridiculous introductory price through Monday)

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.

H. P. Lovecraft

I learned everything I need to know about fear on a steep hill overlooking Lake Champlain in Vermont. I keep coming back to this story whenever anxiety threatens to stop me in my tracks. Childhood lessons sink in deep.

To my younger-than-10-years-old eyes, it looked more like a cliff than a hill; my impression was informed by the shale-like formations that reached down to the beach and disappeared into the pine forest above. Seen from the cabin our parents rented for a week every summer, the forest appeared to grow to the edge of a steep, rocky incline that I wouldn’t be able to scale if I had to.

And one day, I had to. Continue reading “Again, the story of that cliff”

We’re all gonna die

(From Refuse to be Afraid Tenth Anniversary Edition, now on sale at a ridiculous introductory price)

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear — not absence of fear.

Mark Twain

My eye was caught at the antique store by a thick, well-worn book titled “Modern Medical Counselor.” By its condition it was clear the book was anything but modern, and the price ($2) was right, so, figuring it would be an interesting excursion into the past, I brought it home.

What actually caught my attention was the section that I casually opened to, even before I brought the book home: “Survival in Atomic Bombing.” The copyright date of the book is 1951, so browsing through this book will be a traipse through an era where communism and nuclear death were our greatest fears.

With the knowledge of what was to happen in the next 60 years, we know the fears were largely unfounded. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are still the only cities ever destroyed by atomic bombs. Although the great communist bogeyman reared his ugly head many times over the years, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics fell apart under the weight of its totalitarian follies and China has decided to try burying us the good old American way, by establishing government-subsidized monopolies. Continue reading “We’re all gonna die”

Book release: This frightening world being built around us

Refuse to be Afraid 2020 BREFUSE TO BE AFRAID Tenth Anniversary Edition on sale now in print and at a special introductory price from Kobo and Kindle.

I’ve wondered about the kids who were born around 2001, the ones who have now graduated from high school and whose impression of Sept. 11, 2001, is like mine of the Korean War, which entered a permanent truce around the time I was born: A relic of history of which they have no direct memory.

They have never lived in a world where you could enter an airport or a large public building without being screened and searched, their personal property and selves treated as if they may be planning a crime, guilty until proved innocent. They have never lived in a world not cluttered with cameras and other surveillance devices. They don’t know what it’s like to walk free wherever you go. Continue reading “Book release: This frightening world being built around us”

Would you rather be safe or free?

safe or free (Willow)

You’ll break the worry habit the day you decide you can meet and master the worst that can happen to you.

Arnold Glasgow

Would you rather be safe or free?

It’s been the central question in the United States of America for two decades now.

In April 1999 a couple of kids at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., committed an atrocity, shooting 35 students and teachers, killing 13 of them, before turning the guns on themselves. In the days immediately after, there was much talk about clamping down on the possession of guns and adding great layers of security to the classroom experience.

I wrote this in my newspaper column in the aftermath:

Continue reading “Would you rather be safe or free?”