Pull a Light Saber on Fear

A furry little centuries old green alien with pointy ears and some bad ass light saber skills once told his apprentice, “Fear is the path to the Dark Side.” And never in film history has a more poignant phrase left the mouth of a puppet.
Fear is and always will be fundamental to the human experience. Fear prevents us from taking actions that might kill or disfigure us. It encourages caution and ideally some degree of thoughtfulness before we act, speak, or otherwise insult the older brother who outweighs you by sixty or seventy pounds. Fear is functional. However, it’s also a terrifying and disabling power that can overwhelm us and dictate the course of our lives.
The list of things people fear is as long and vast as the human imagination, including your mother in law, clowns and crowds of mother in laws. People fear change, the unknown, aging, and in extreme cases of mental illness, prepare themselves daily for the zombie apocalypse. Fear brings us to the Dark Side through gradual steps, inspiring the least noble qualities in us all, like greed, cruelty, and selfishness. It motivates us away from our highest potential until we are consumed by its all encompassing nature. The what in the fear equation is however not that important. Likely, some past event drew someone’s focus to a particular facet of life and their attention is now stuck there, a kind of nagging preoccupation.
What’s more important than the source of our fear is how we choose to deal with it. Many people retreat into themselves or some singular obsession that seems to shelter them from reality. Others charge head long into their fear guns blazing. I would advocate a gentler approach, something like getting to know your fear, sitting and having a cup of tea with it. Talk to it, understand it, discover what is rational about your fear and what has been a construct of your own imagination. Often people suggest that the goal is to conquer our fear, but I disagree. Fear is powerful, and with us every day. The battle to conquer all our fears each and every day can become a sickness unto itself. A better course for many of us might be to simply tread a path that runs parallel to the Dark Side. See it for what it is and don’t cross that line, but slaying it may never be an option. A more realistic expectation might be a good old fashioned stare down, space cowboy style.
Be good to yourself and be good to one another.