24 quotes about fear and freedom

24 quotes about fear

That the birds of worry and care fly over your head, this you cannot change, but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent. — Chinese proverb

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

The brave man is not he who feels no fear, For that were stupid and irrational; But he, whose noble soul its fears subdues, And bravely dares the danger nature shrinks from. — Joanna Baillie Continue reading →

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Take this book. It’s free. And here’s why

Refuse to be Afraid - printLet me get to the point right away and then circle back: If you want a free, unabridged copy of the best book I’ve written so far, click here.

Eight years ago I was plugging away on my blog, much like today, and noticed I was writing several recurring themes that seemed to resonate with my small but enthusiastic audience of readers: It’s a scary world out there, and a lot of people, from politicians to advertisers and even my chosen field of news media, seemed to be in the business of trying to scare people to death and offering a bogus remedy – maybe a magic pill or some other product, or voting somebody out of office or passing another law – and it usually involved spending money or further reducing the amount of liberty that common folks are allowed. Continue reading →

‘an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary’

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Remember when the government flew off a fiscal cliff and collapsed because Congress didn’t pass an extension of the national debt? Remember when millions of kids starved because of cuts to the federal school lunch program? Remember in the early 1980s when the world supply of oil ran out? Remember when all those computers crashed on Jan. 1, 2000, because they weren’t programmed to register years that began with “20”? And oh, yes, and remember when the world ended after the ancient Aztec calendar expired in 2012?

For Throwback Thursday, I’m going all the way back to yesterday and all the other times I reminded you of the venerable H.L. Mencken quote: Continue reading →

Ditko: Struggling for words

Spider-Man 33 cover

The news of the death of Steve Ditko hit me hard – your greatest childhood heroes are supposed to live forever, right? – and I’m struggling to put the feelings into words.

For the moment, here are some thoughts I had a couple of years ago about Ditko’s most renowned Spider-Man moment, when comic-book story and art were as brilliantly executed as they ever have been. I re-read the three-part story again this morning, and the sequence is as powerful as ever.

Spider-Man’s finest hour shows us a way

TBT: The girl in my dream

Found in an archive – something I wrote 10 years agogirl in my dream

She writes songs. In fact, she had the No. 1 song in the world. The words and melody struck so many people so deeply they had to own it and play it again anytime they wanted.

She lives alone on the second floor of a two-story building. Maybe it was above a storefront, I couldn’t see the details outside. All I saw was a long hallway, windows along the one side and the sun coming in. But she didn’t look out the windows. She lives alone and never comes out. Continue reading →

The Cliff (Throwback post)

I’ve rerun this story several times through the years, because this childhood incident is at the root of my personal philosophy. I share it as a reminder for these seemingly scary times.

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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 →

Daylight is promised every day

daylight is promised

For just a few weeks of the year in this corner of the world, you can get up as early as 5 (or even 4:15) a.m. to the promise of daylight whispering in the distance. Most of the day is just a dream this time of morning, a matter of faith rather than a clear reality. But know this, young buck: Daylight is promised. Daylight is promised every day.

Couldn’t you say just the opposite, as well? That no matter how long and how wonderful the day may be, darkness will overtake you in the end?

There’s the cycle defined, and the balance, and the first source of conflict among us, isn’t it? The pull between those who seek the daylight and those who seek the dark. You know what I notice? Most people choose to sleep through the dark and live their lives in the light.

But some also are comforted by the night. It’s quiet, and you can hear yourself think. Isn’t that why you wake before dawn breaks – to be wrapped in the waning moments of the dark?

The waning moments of the dark are the beginning of daylight. This is the time when all creatures – well, most of them, anyway – begin to stir and sing and look about and say, “Look and see! Taste and see! Life resumes! We are rested and recharged and ready to sing another day!” Life grows in daylight – sustenance is dependent on the light. Those who dwell in darkness are conquered by the light.

No. We need both darkness and light. You can’t dwell forever in light, either. You need the owl and the racoon and the other night dwellers to complete the circle of life.

It may seem that way. But we all instinctively seek the warmth of daylight. When evil is exposed, we speak of bringing it forward into the light where it can no longer hide in darkness. We are creatures of the light no matter how much we may be fascinated and curious and even attracted by the dark.

Too much light and heat, I grant you, can be harmful, even deadly. But darkness and cold bring a quicker death to the soul as well as the body. The promise of daylight sustains us through the night, which is the time when we pause to recharge and renew so we can thrive in the daylight – our natural home.

No matter how dark the path you walk, daylight will overtake you if you just hang on.