A couple of weeks ago, while browsing the shelves of TJ Maxx for many, many things I didn’t need, I found this little book called Everyday Happy: 365 Ways to a Better You by Jenny Hare. For $4, I figured it probably needed to come home with me.
The meditation, if that’s what you want to call it, for today is
Don’t worry about things that probably won’t ever happen to you. Pay attention to the thing you are particularly fearful of and take constructive steps to avoid any real dangers. Then concentrate on enjoying the day, confident that you’ll deal capably with whatever happens when it happens.
Living your life as though you are constantly being threatened is self-defeating. Instead see fear as an ally to warn you. Dealing with it sensibly stops you becoming obsessive about it. Once the warning’s dealt with the fear will subside, leaving you free to be cheerful and relaxed.
I don’t think that the last line is true, but then again, my life is generally a huge ball of fear. Oh I know you’d never guess it to look at it. But it’s true. Sometimes I surprise myself when I actually get out of bed and manage to be more than a mass of seizuring snot.
I think that most of the time I do just what this meditation suggests. I think through the logical conclusions; the scenarios play through in my head. Usually as bad as it could end is manageable, and that allows me to at least breathe. It doesn’t leave me free to be cheerful and relaxed, though, because the fear is always with me, as much a part of me as muscle and skin, that pervasive.
And I suppose that’s OK. I don’t allow the fear to control the choices I make in my life. I’ve never once decided not to do something because of fear. I may have made a choice because I was determined not to let fear rule my life, and perhaps those decisions were not the smartest. As the meditation posits, though, in those cases, fear was my ally, making me take reasonable risks because even though the decisions weren’t the smartest, the danger inherent in those choices were mitigated by the caution exercised after those decisions were made.
My fear doesn’t make me unhappy; it makes me measured. I’ll take that; I can live with it.