Regrets – that lack of courage

I’ll hazard a guess that many of us have found a certain lack of courage from time to time. Our courage has failed us. I don’t necessarily mean about big things, like going into battle, rather a lack of courage in the relatively small things. We may have known what was the “right” thing to do when faced with a moral dilemma but failed to do it so as not to stand out from the crowd or put our neck out. Risk averse we let things slip, for fear of exposure. We might have loved someone and yet never told them or shown them. There may have been something which we would like to explore or do yet bottled it. We may have been hoping for that “right time” which never materialised. And so, whatever it was slowly fades into regret-world painted with a melancholy hue. Before long regret-world has a whole wardrobe full of regrets, each on a hanger taking up space. Maybe we chose to indulge in being an asshole, when we could have been kind. Perhaps we sought vengeance for an imagined slight and ruined a relationship. There can be all kinds of regrets. But I reckon that there is a good chance that a lack of courage had a hand in many of these, not big courage, little courage relating to relatively minor things.

This leads to the unresolved, the unrequited and the undone. Garments we might find in the wardrobe of regrets, in every house across the land.

That elusive “right time”, never comes along to the bus stop of life or maybe it does, and we simply do not seize it, for lack of courage. Another one will be along soon, only it won’t.

A lack of courage can cause more trouble than the risk which was avoided. It can be generative of mess and wreckage in life. The fear unfaced most often grows and can become debilitating. We know when our spine has been weak and before long we can no longer stand straight, proud even. Each time we surrender to our fears, we stoop a little more, we bend, and we sag. Maybe we fail a friend in their hour of need, maybe we are terrified of a social faux pas. Most of all there is that fear of losing face, of loss of control. Our heart remains locked in our chest and is never out on our sleeve. And so, we fail to experience what we might have done, there is a hole, a vacuum where it may have been.

We may have been shabby and off, where we might have been brave and upstanding. There are many regrets in life, which is a shame.

Having cued this up, take a look in your wardrobe of regrets:

Have there been times when my courage has failed me?

Was it this, that gave birth to regret?

 Are those fears which so inhibit me, actually real?

Lost on the Emotional Plane?

I’ll restrict this to two primary emotions, fear and anger. There is no need to take loads of mushrooms or peyote, to completely lose the plot. It can happen in day to day life. One can become utterly lost on the emotional plane. The perception gets ever more selective and turns in on itself. All clarity vanishes, and any sense of wider perspective is abandoned. It happens by indulging in fear or anger.

Once fear gets a toe-hold it can magnify and amplify alarmingly, a deep pervading paranoia sets in. Under these circumstances the merest thing can be seen as a deep personal attack aimed at maiming or destruction. The slightest contrary opinion becomes a death threat. One figuratively puts up the barricades, lays the minefields, heats the boiling oil and readies the crossbows. One is perennially on the look-out for slights, snubs, attacks and the like. They aren’t there, they are largely imagined. And so, lost in fear, life becomes nightmarish. On edge one lashes out and destroys. One sees plots and intrigues on all sides and thereby actually generates some of these, because one starts playing secret squirrels and other related games. Tense as a tense thing on a tense day, one is like a porcupine. There is no reality simply an out of proportion fear. Threat is on all sides.

Once the red-mist of anger sets in, all one can see is ire and hitting back. One must destroy, avenge, make them pay and otherwise teach them a lesson. It burns, and it seethes. The perception clouds over and all there is that red-mist. Skewed thereby, a being whom you might otherwise love and care for becomes enemy number one, who must face sudden, complete and humiliating destruction, preferably over a prolonged period and in public so that everyone can see that your just and deserved vengeance has been done. There is no clarity, no wider perspective just the immediacy and longevity of that anger.

Maybe after the destruction has been wrought some sense of wider perspective returns by which time it is too late. Perhaps finally you return to your senses and calm. Perhaps you can then acknowledge that your perception has been more than a tad selective.

Having cued this up:

Have I ever been lost on the emotional plane?

Did it damage or wreak havoc in my life?

The Pivot of the Three Rings

This is the place of action, the “battlefield”, where stuff happens. You may have noticed an action theme of late running through this blog. The first thing to say is that, if for whatever reason, you find yourself as the one acting in the north, the place of action, it is best to avoid vindaloo and Scotch Bonnet chilli peppers. If you don’t, the following morning you will know why I gave this advice and that knowledge will come to you in triplicate.

Three Rings for the Elven-kings wincing painfully.

I’m sure you get my drift. The only way one can learn is by direct personal experience on the physical plane and in order to do that you will have to face your fear, look it direct in the eye and get on with it. With each “battle” fought the vice-like grip of fear eases a little, it never goes away entirely but you can control it. No longer is it the tyrant which keeps you cowering and limited. Because as personal experience grows you can draw on it. It builds confidence and self-belief. Doing is empowering, debating is debating. The two are markedly different. But one must take a few risks. It is best to start with small fears and then work your way up, maybe do a Go Ape or something like that, later.

The sweatier the palm, the more dilated the pupils and the deeper the wrench in the gut, the more scared you are. The bigger the fear, the more power is harvested in its facing. In time you will learn that most of your fears are made-up by you and your peers. But in order to find this out you have to face them! You can’t vanquish a demon entirely by talking about it.

If you don’t take prompt action when a situation starts to go “bad” it invariably gets worse. Learning when to wait and when to act, is a process. The more you put off facing your fears, the bigger they become. They grow and mutate. Before long you are crippled by your fears.

In facing fear, I have found that Bene Gesserit litany against fear is great for getting you started. It is better to act than to shit your pants.

“I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

Losing Control

I awoke this morning with the word “pathetic” going around in my head. If the “what’s the sketch with this guy” motif is operational then it is more than a little pathetic. It isn’t very grown up and adult. It certainly isn’t a masculine way of approaching things.

Anyway, I digress slightly. One of the things that people fear most is losing control, either of themselves or over other people. Certain types simply must have some leverage, some bargaining chips or something they can use to manipulate others. When they no longer have these, they have somehow lost control of the situation. These levers can be money, fame, reputation, information, a child, or the supply of something, like sex or drugs, or food. They are afraid to stand devoid of levers and simply interact as a human being. Such people are obsessed with control. They can over egg the control to such a point that it goes pear shaped. Too much manipulation can have unpredictable results. The more one tries to control a situation the more out of control it can become. This leads to ever greater attempts at control, because of fear of losing control, which can make things even worse.

This obsession with control is a shortcoming and is a manifestation of the dark jewel fear. It is very common, but the degree varies. Some are more controlling than others.

Losing control or rather letting go of the desire to control or micro-manage every aspect of life, is liberating. It is so much more relaxing.

“The greatest act of the warrior is to shift from control to abandon.”

If you have abandoned, you can’t be controlled which is the flip side. In stopping trying to control others and life, you are no longer controlled either. This doesn’t mean you become a bomb wielding anarchist, it means that you go much more with the flow and stop meddling so much in the lives of others. It is free and easy. If someone wants to see you and you them, you just hang and chill. One does not try to cram them artificially in the diary or schedule them otherwise. When the time is right, it happens.

This over-meddling in the lives of others is unhealthy. If one wants to know what another being wants or seeks, one asks. But there is a fear of asking, because you may not like the answer. People prefer their suppositions, often. It is very strange.

Having cued this up:

Do I fear losing control?

If so, why?

Am I prone to meddling in the lives of others or in other words am I a tad manipulative?

Is this, in the long-term, a sensible approach to life?