One of the things which causes the most trouble in my life is fear. What exactly is fear? Fear is the thing which keeps us safe, we are scared of sabre toothed tigers for a very good reason; they will eat us. However these days there are very few sabre toothed tigers (or perhaps none) so we have to find other things to be scared of.
Today I went to Stony Littleton long barrow, inside it there is a long dark corridor with five chambers coming off it. At first I went inside and walked about a third of the way in with my baby and then I felt afraid, so I made some excuse about it being to hard to walk to the end all bent over, and I walked out into the sunshine.
Outside the skylarks were singing and the sun was shining, and I got to thinking about fear, and how I might feel when I am old if I allow it to limit my life. When I am old I can tell my grandchildren "yes I went to Stony Littleton long barrow but I didn't go all the way in because I was afraid."
So I got back up and went inside the barrow again and walked bent over to the end with my baby in my arms, it was cold and wet and still inside. I enjoyed the contrast with the sunshine out side. I did feel something unearthly in the darkness, but it didn't eat me, and I left when my baby became uncomfortable.
Most fear is irrational in my experience. I wonder, if happiness is a choice, does that mean that fear is also a choice? Obviously it would be fairly stupid to choose not to be afraid of Sabre toothed tigers, if there were any around, but what is there really to fear in our world? and how does being afraid of it actually benefit us?
Driving can be dangerous, walking on cliff edges, sailing at sea, flying in a plane, walking round a city late at night, bungee jumping, drinking too much alcohol, even eating can be dangerous!
So am I going to stay home for the rest of my life, eat only jelly and keep my feet firmly on the ground! Boring!
Being afraid doesn't stop anything from happening, not does it make anything bad more likely, it merely makes the afraid person uncomfortable while they feel afraid. That's it! That is all it does. Oh and sometimes it stops us from doing potentially interesting, fun or life changing things.
Sometimes fear is the thing which makes an experience the most exciting, in the case of things like bungee jumping and skydiving. I have always wanted to do a parachute jump, but have also always been prohibitively scared.
In the same way that feeling angry, upset , sad or annoyed achieves nothing, fear also achieves nothing. If I am afraid nothing much happens except the fear itself. If I am angry nothing happens but anger.
I need to choose some good feeling thoughts, and I need to choose them when I am afraid, I need to choose them so willfully that eventually they replace the fear with love and happiness. Being happy and brave takes will, it's a choice to be brave. Maybe I will die tomorrow, and maybe I will die when I am one hundred and two? Whenever it is I want it to be on a day when I have willfully smiled all day, laughed at everything I could laugh at and had my eyes fully open appreciating and enjoying the scenery.
So I had better make sure that everyday is a day of smiling and appreciation! Everyday is the right day to choose good feeling thoughts, everyday is the right day to choose to be happy.....
Again NOW is the time to be happy, NOW is the time to be brave, NOW is the time to live, because tomorrow never comes.
Today I am thankful for the lack of sabre toothed tigers in Somerset
I am thankful for the relative safety of my home
I am thankful that my children have plenty of good food to eat
I am thankful to have lived long enough to understand that happiness is a choice and that it is within my power to be happy right now
I am thankful for velvety spongy moss
I am thankful for shady glades
I am thankful for magical womblike ancient monuments
I am thankful for finding treasure
I am thankful for my magnificent body
I am thankful for people who do outrageously scary things for fun!