Fear

Steven Barnes and The Hero’s Journey

Below is a video of my presentation on “The Hero’s Journey,” exploring Joseph Campbell’s model and how it applies to myth and life. This was filed in November 2014 in Kern County.

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TAGR #7: Procrastination

MONDAY, JANUARY 16, 2012
TAGR #7: Mastery of Procrastination

“Perfectionism is Procrastination masquerading as quality control.”–Steven Barnes

“Analysis of several hundred people who had accumulated fortunes well
beyond the million dollar mark, disclosed the fact that every one of
them had the habit of REACHING DECISIONS PROMPTLY, and of
changing these decisions SLOWLY, if, and when they were changed.
People who fail to accumulate money, without exception, have the
habit of reaching decisions, IF AT ALL, very slowly, and of changing
these decisions quickly and often.”–Napoleon Hill

Adjust the previous numbers for serious inflation, and the implications are stunning. You know whether or not you procrastinate. Consider this to be ANYTHING that stops you from completing projects, being rewarded for them, and creating the next project.

In writing: what is “writer’s block” is anything that stops you from writing, insufficient or excessive re-writing, submitting, and continuing on to your next project. Insufficient or excessive research, willingness to accept valuable input, In other words, ANYTHING that stops you from fulfilling your potential for quality and success.

In fitness: this is anything that stops you from moving your body daily, keeping track of your eating daily. Recording and evaluating your results, building support teams, and anything else that moves you in the desired direction.

In mental development, this means studying your occupation to see where you can improve, getting better role models. building rapport with your co-workers, developing a better mental attitude. Taking personal responsibility. Dividing the work into bite-sized chunks that can be completed by the end of the day.

In finances, this means balancing your checkbook, writing your goals daily, and saving 10% of your income for long term investment. I mean this money is NEVER to be spent–you will pass this to the next generation.

You must define the long and short term steps to your goals, break them into chunks, and track whether or not you are doing it. Procrastination is fear, and the first step to mastering fear is to acknowledge it exists.

Remember: you cannot live a life so small and inconsequential that death won’t notice you.

Rage as a Mask over Fear

(From MONDAY, JANUARY 31, 2011)
Healing Rage

I love the 101. This feels like my gift to the world.

Why? Read the following, posted today by one of my students. This is good, solid, meaningful work.

############

This is turning into a very different round. Last round I kept myself off of any supplementary self-help books in order to really focus on the program (I have a history of self-sabotage by exposing myself to more wisdom than I can absorb.)

This round, it’s like my slate’s been cleared for some serious supplemental work.

So, late in last round, I started getting a real clear look at my own worst side. It was like I’d at last discovered my inner child, and she was “a fat, sulky, spoiled fat year old who felt totally entitled to take from the world to make up for her pain.” You should have seen my therapist dress me down for saying that– I recall her words ending that conversation as “the age was the only part you got right in that description.”

So in the meantime, the first of the self-help books I picked up, put back down, and put on hold until 2011 came in. Ruth King’s _Healing Rage_. (For all you writers out there, _Healing Rage_ started as a self-published book that was supposed to come and go like a shooting star… until a copy fell into Alice Walker’s hands and she declared it one of the most important books she’d ever read.)

So I ate up the first chapter and the second and totally delighted in the whole book right up until the little quiz where Ruth King gets the reader to identify the particular major disguise that the reader uses to cover her Rage: Dominance (active Fight), Defiance (reactive Fight), Devotion (active Flight), Distraction (reactive Flight), Dependence (active Freeze) and Depression (reactive Freeze).

I tested Dependence. I don’t want to write that here, I don’t want to share that with y’all, I don’t want to listen to it myself, and if I had read the book two weeks– just two weeks before I did… I absolutely would not have believed it.

But I could not ignore the results in the book exactly matching the journal notes I’d been making on what I see as I become able to see myself at my worst.

So, meanwhile, my therapist sends me home with a new sheet she’d entitled “Core Beliefs”. I’m calling them “Fear Languages”. You heard of the idea that we have primary “Love Languages”– that if a Touch person isn’t getting Touch all the good Words in the world won’t get through, etc.? Well, this was a sheet of primal-level personal Fears– that particular Fear that if it gets twanged, you’re not hearing anything else, you’re not thinking any longer, you are in the maelstrom.

Took us about ten seconds to figure out my Core Fear is Helplessness.

So– the persona with which I face the world, the way I structure social situations around my Rage… is Dependence.

And the trigger condition which will totally unhinge me, is Helplessness.

Let’s think about how those two constructs work in tandem.

I think I’m due an honorary engineering degree for this one.

So, that was the background. This week’s breakthrough, I took a long hard look at what went well and what didn’t on my first chaplaincy shifts, and nailed the tail of what didn’t go well as it tried to shrink away. I didn’t introduce myself to the chief nurse of my unit because the nurses were too busy to disturb. Uh-uh. That’s not an observation, that there is an excuse: nurses are always busy. If I stay “nice” and “quiet” and “out of the way”, my unit’s chief nurse is never going to know me the way he or she needs to; I have to come out behind the mask to do this job right.

I have just reached the point where what I have consciously chosen to do with my life has locked horns with what I have unconsciously chosen to do with my life.

Plus, there’s been a metric ton of schoolwork that I can barely keep up with.

###

Steve here again. Whoa. If this student takes action, she will experience genuine growth. Information that does not affect behavior has little value. I suspect there’s gold in them thar words.

“Put your fear behind you, your love in front of you, and run like hell.”

meanwhile…

FRIDAY, AUGUST 06, 2010
Seven Faces of F.E.A.R…part four
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
1 John 4:18

Stage Four: Love is the Gas, Fear is the Brakes

We’re using the yogic chakras to examine the seven basic levels of human existence, especially where it relates to love and fear. And this makes the fourth chakra–Anahata (the heart center) Ground Zero in the fight for our souls.

And this makes today’s note a goldmine. All you have to do is look at the synonyms (and masks) for love: affection, admiration, attraction, fondness, lust, etc…

And then those for fear: hatred, anger, antipathy, grief, guilt, shame, aversion, repulsion, etc…

And then ask yourself: which is dominant? There are only two basic ways to create the life you want: either increase your love or decrease your fear. Either “step on the gas” by clarifying your goals and the benefits you will obtain by pursuing them, or “take off your brakes” by neutralizing or reducing the amount of fear you experience.

101 Day students: what is today’s goal? What emotions have interfered in your capacity to reach it?

Lifewriting students: What is your character’s major goal? How can you increase her motivation or help her deal with her negative emotions? What stops YOU from finishing your current project, marketing it, or getting on to the next?

Diamond Hour students: In a single hour, you can clarify your goals, clarify the steps to their accomplishments, or identify the true roots of your resistance. Fear loves the darkness–turn on the lights!

Take off your Brakes!
Steve

(Note: since I wrote this, I identified a way to move forward in life even if fear is a large factor: you have to attach the fear to a terror of NOT FULFILLING YOUR DREAMS. “Put your love in front of you, your fear behind you, and run like hell.” Now, that’s not ideal, but at least you’re in motion.)

The Seven Faces of F.E.A.R.

Originally published: MONDAY, AUGUST 02, 2010
Seven Faces of F.E.A.R.
The Seven Faces of F.E.A.R.

I’m going to be taking a little time to lay out a pattern for you, and over the next seven posts you’ll get a preview of some very important thinking.
1) Interested in increasing time efficiency?
2) Breaking Writer’s Block?
3) Finding love and success?
4) Dealing with fear?

Look…there is a limit to what can be expressed in language, but what we can do is approach the mountain from multiple directions, describe the journey from multiple routes. You will recognize some of them…some of them will appeal to you…you may have experienced some yourself.

We’re going to take a look at the ways Fear crops up in our lives. The ways it hides, and what it costs us. Seven pieces that you need if you are going to master your life.

1) Level One. Core Survival Fear. This, at least, is honest and direct: we don’t want to die. Not much lack of clarity on this one. The trouble is that in the modern world, few of our existential crisis actually have to do with life and death. The Fight or Flight response is designed to keep us alive in a world of lions, poisonous insects, and constant threat of starvation.

As a result of the human capacity for memory, projection, abstraction, extrapolation and fear of our own future death, this core drive, so simple in most animals, disguises itself in a variety of guises, and attacks us in multiple ways. If there is no sabre-tooth tiger then we cannot run, and we cannot fight. We put our brakes on emotionally, and the stench of psychic smoke chokes our lives. F.E.A.R.–a Fountain of Energy for Active Response–is about dismantling the illogical fears so that we can function at a higher level. To free ourselves from fear is the beginning of what might be called “advanced adulthood.”

What are Fear’s masks? How does it hide? Grief. Guilt. Anger. Anxiety. Blame. Shame. The core fear of death hides on every level of our existence: sex, health, weight, relationships, self-expression, intellectual creativity, and even spiritual awareness. We’re going to strip away some of these masks. This is why you need this, why you should print out the next six days of notes and bind them into a book:

Understanding the Faces of F.E.A.R.

1) creates energy in you own life.
2) lets you help those you love create energy and health
3) allows you to understand the actual emotions driving negative behaviors (great for disarming the anger of adversaries, spouses, even muggers!)
4) allows writers to create multi-level characters, and design stories to strip away their false identities and illusions
5) Is the path to finding and embracing lasting love and success.

This is the first step. Survival fear, mutating into other negative emotions, and stealing our lives. In the next days you’re going to get the perfect tool to fight back: truth.

“In large part, it is our psychological interpretation of arousal feelings that determines whether we will feel fear, anger, or a combination of both.In large part, it is our psychological interpretation of arousal feelings that determines whether we will feel fear, anger, or a combination of both.”–Harry Mills, Phd