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To Live with Fear

January 4, 2019

In high school I had a habit of collecting quotes and rolling them over and over in my head trying to make sense of them. I have a notebook with a bunch that I wrote down. Some of them I still agree with, some of them I no longer find relevant. 

 

I haven't looked at this notebook in a while, but recently while I was walking the dogs a quote I hadn't thought of in a really long time jumped into my head and it has sat there replaying over and over for the last few days. 

 

The quote is: "To live with fear and not be afraid is the final test of maturity" by Edward Weeks. 

I do not know who Edward Weeks is, or where I got the quote from but after a few days of listening to it play itself in my head I went back through my notebook and found it. I don't agree that living with fear and not being afraid is the final test of maturity, but there is something about the concept of living with fear and not being afraid that seems important. I think that's why I wrote it down in the first place. I was always afraid back then, I couldn't understand how it would be possible to be in the constant presence of fear without being afraid, but I wanted to try. 

 

A day or two ago I started reading a new book. It's called The Anatomy of Loneliness by Teal Swan. I'll link it here so you can find it if you want to. 

 

I've only gotten through the introduction and first chapter so far, but I find the book really helpful. One of the sections talked about over-identifying with parts of ourselves in a way that makes it seem like that part is all of us. It talked about how we sometimes do this with thoughts, emotions, or our bodies. When I read that, the quote came back again into my head. 

"To live with fear and not be afraid." 

 

Maybe the quote is about not over-identifying with the emotion of fear. To live with fear is to acknowledge that fear exists and to feel it, but to not be afraid means that you don't have to identify with "afraidness."  You can experience the feeling of fear without it meaning anything else. It's just a feeling, you experience it, you let go. 

 

Another thing has been happening lately which has nothing to do with the rest of the post, except that it scares me and so I guess is related to the idea of living with fear. I've been seeing things again, not just seeing them but being encompassed by them. I find myself temporarily in a different place: there are trees and houses and metallic sounds in the wind. I've been here before. I remember these places from when the hallucinations started, but I don't think I've been to them for a very long time. I don't know what they are or mean. Maybe they don't mean anything, maybe like fear they just need to be recognized, experienced and let go of. I'm not sure. I guess we will see what happens next. 

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