Sunday, September 20, 2009

Listening to the news I was shocked to hear a protester at a town-hall meeting cry that she wanted “her America” back. Fortunately for all of us, “her America” never existed and will never exist.

Whenever we look back nostalgically at the “Good Old Days” we are engaging in a remarkable fantasy. The “Good Old Days” were not all that good when they were days. I may look back yearningly at the simpler, purer life that was the fifties, but they were so for me because I was, well, a child. I was not engaged in all of the troubles and issues that fill my life today. I knew nothing of diets, finances, the economy, global warming or any of the concerns that complicate my life. But I would guess that my parents and those who were adults then had just as many distresses as I do today. For them those days weren’t any easier or better.

There is nothing wrong with looking at the past and revisiting some of the more positive aspects that may have been sacrificed along our road to progress, such as more time for family and friends, homemade food and fedoras. We may even find a way to integrate the best ones back into our lives. But I hope that I will be wise enough to realize that many of the things that make my life so much easier didn’t exist in the “Good Old Days”. I may take them for granted but I wouldn’t want to give them up. I don’t mean only the “things”; I pods, I phones, reliable cars, microwave ovens, frostless freezers, computers, etc., etc., etc. I am referring to social and global progress that I could do without. We now have less tolerance for cruelty and abuses of people or things. We assume that everyone should have the right to education and opportunities to grow.

We have, now, a dialogue about how best to respect our planet. Most of us would not be willing to part with this progress for the “Good Old Days”.

When I was little I wore poodle skirts. I also had to wear skirts to school until my senior year in high school. Times have changed and it always will. Progress is the inevitable path we are taking. We can choose to happily jump on this remarkable train or be left behind with our laments. I, for one, am grateful that I am living in the good days that my grandchildren are going to someday look back on and yearn as “Good” and “Old”!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

After having the wonderful opportunity to work as a flight attendant for a combined seven years, I learned an interesting thing about fear…they are not always based on logic.

As a novice flight attendant, whenever I encountered a passenger that was experiencing this terror, I would try to allay the fears with statistical logic: more people die in car accidents yearly then in airplane accidents; the percentage of flights that take-off and land safely compared to the ones that don’t; that airplanes are constructed and the crew trained to overcome possible dangers, etc. But what I found was that logic did nothing to stem the terror. When you are afraid, you are afraid and no logic can touch that…monster under the bed, for instance.

Because I do not share this terror, I can afford to look with pity on those who do. But what of my own personal fears…of getting cancer, of being overweight, of making a mistake, of being rejected…and so on and so on. These fears can also be unmasked under the bright light of logic. They, too, will be shown to be based not on logic but, well, on fear.

· Yes, cancer does exist and some things may increase the chances but, how many people do the wrong thing and don’t get cancer; how many don’t do the wrong thing and do?

· I want to feel beautiful but, do thin people have an appreciably better life than those who are “overweight”?

· If we could never make mistakes would we be walking or talking?

· Would I really want to be with someone, or a company, or at a school who did not see the value in us?

According to Socrates courage is the knowledge of what not to fear.

So, what am I afraid of?

Maybe my first bold step will be to look the fears logically and see that the base or foundation is not logic…just fear.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

This is a blog to connect to other people who intend to live a fearless and engaged life or are already doing so.

Recently I have found myself fighting the overwhelming tide of fear that seams to be all around us. In the news we are surrounded by the many rumors of threats to our security, our economy and our health. Everywhere we look there are warnings about what we are eating or not eating, what we are doing with our money, what we are doing with our lives. You can’t open a magazine or turn on the TV or even talk to friends and colleagues without facing the many reasons why you should be afraid…very afraid…of something.

Well. I, for one, am tired of this everlasting shadow of fear. I want to live my life motivated by love, and joy and, even, fun! I want to believe what I believe and do what I do because of the sheer thrill and will of it.

Now, I realize it will not be the easiest way to live since we have, from infancy, been taught to live in fear; fear of pain, fear of danger, fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of our “enemies”, fear of diseases and so on and so on…. But now that I have overtaken the half century mark, I have decided that I haven’t enjoyed this habitual posture of fear. I have seen a few friends a family pass away and have come to the conclusion that I, probably, will too, even if I adhere to the warnings thrown at me from all directions.

I am not promoting anarchy, exactly, nor do I believe this is all a new idea. It is, however a new idea for me. There are many people in the past and many living now that have managed to live a life motivated by love and joy and fun. I want to learn from these people!

So if you are feeling this way too, or if you have conquered this fearful living perspective, I would love to hear from you. You may be just beginning this adventure, as I am, and need some encouragement. Or, maybe, you are a pro at living the fearless life.

Let’s share our tools and knowledge and even, our experiences….