Journal Entry – 08/23/19
Hope. Despair. I vacillate somewhere in between… but I’m oriented toward hope. I distrust despair, but sometimes I just can’t help but get caught up in it..
Despair is based on incomplete information. Despair assumes things will not only “not get better”, but that things will “definitely get worse at some point.” It’s a path devoid of love and gratitude, fueled by the fire of fear..
Other than when your life is in immediate jeopardy, fear has little use. It is strictly in the imagination. It’s not real. And most of the time what one fears does not come to pass. Ever.
However, I’ve seen people (including myself) gripped by fear who draw all kinds of negative things into their lives by the sheer force of the negative energy they exude. I’ve seen the fear multiply like a feedback loop, oscillating faster and faster, getting louder and louder, until nothing else is discernible other than the fear.
It’s hard to think of anything else when you’re in the grip of fear. That’s when whatever you normally hope for tends to fade and the things you fear lead noisily to the path of despair.
I’ve noticed a similar pattern when I experience something that overwhelms me with anger. It takes a while for the super-strong emotions to dissipate (often 30-90 minutes). The challenge is to realize what is happening and to allow yourself the time to cool the emotions so you can think clearly again. Sometimes it even takes a good night’s sleep (even though sleep itself may be difficult). Sometimes it takes two nights of sleep.
Sooner or later, in my experience, the fear will dissipate enough that hope can sneak in the back door. Sooner or later you can find a more balanced view of reality – it’s neither all black nor all white. And in the rear view mirror of memory, sometimes you can even see a point to the fear…
Sometimes the fear is revealing something deep within you that needs to be acknowledged, addressed, adjusted, corrected, or even completely rejected. But you have to work through the fear and despair to get back to the state of a clear mind that can allow for gratitude alongside these corrective notions.
The right foot is where you invoke your will against the fear and despair – you simply acknowledge what is happening, how your emotions are overwhelming you, and that they always dissipate given time. The left foot is the awkward part of enduring the waiting while the emotions fade.
Once the fading starts, the right hand can be ready to step back and see the situation with fresh eyes of understanding and a touch of gratitude. The left hand is where the honest analysis occurs, where responsibility is taken, where needed changes are identified.
The head enters as these factors are analyzed with deeper focus – calmly, rationally, without harsh judgment – and a plan is created to help turn yourself around. Then it’s just that “tiny” matter of putting your whole self in so that, hopefully, next time around you don’t have to sink as deeply into despair caused by fear and you can get out of fear’s grip more quickly. And at some blessed point down the road you can reject the fear in the first place and stay on the path of hope, dancing with your whole self involved as you fling off useless fears and embrace hope.