A banana shows the way
To put a big smile on your day
Its sense of fun is really quite appealing
So don’t you hide your teeth
Show the grin that lies beneath
Your smile is really something quite revealing
Playing the “Afraid” Card.
I wanted to do a series that embraced all 20 cards from mood-measuring Moodscope (see http://www.moodscope.com). Today, it’s the turn of the “Afraid” card, which Moodscope defines as, “feeling frightened about something.”
I remember a turning point in my relationship to ‘fear’. Whilst Science Fiction isn’t everyone’s cup-of-tea, like all imaginative art, it can provoke insight. I was watching the film “Dune” for the first time. In the film, the hero is put to the test – a test of fear. I was fascinated to hear him recite what is called the “Litany against fear” in the book and film.
“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.”
[Quoted from http://dune.wikia.com/wiki/Litany_Against_Fear ]
There are many aspects of this ritual that I like, but I’ll highlight just two: “I will face my fear” and the fact that fear passes. Fear should not be ignored – it should be faced. It may carry a message of genuine danger and so should be confronted, face on, to test its validity. I really like the idea of putting fear to the test rather than fear testing me! If the fear reveals a genuine danger, the danger can then be faced. If the fear is exaggerated, I have confidence that it will pass – but only after it has been dragged into the light of full inspection.
As soon as fear is faced it is inevitably perceived in a different way and can be acted upon. It is only while it remains in the shadows (or under the bed?) that it can continue to cast its strange power over us. I will face my fear.
Playing the “Hostile” Card.
I wanted to do a series that embraced all 20 cards from mood-measuring Moodscope (see http://www.moodscope.com). Today, it’s the turn of the “Hostile” card, which Moodscope defines as, “feeling unfriendly towards others.”
The root of the word is strongly associated with Latin and Middle French for “belonging to an enemy”… however it is also related to “guest” in its original meaning of “guest; enemy; stranger”. Perhaps this root can help us. There is a natural, even sensible fear of ‘strangers’ and that which is ‘strange’. This fear puts us on our guard, and thus we appear and often are ‘unfriendly’.
When life is tough, we can sometimes begrudge others their apparent happiness. They are ‘outside’ our circle of experience. When others are joyful and we are sad, it seems so unfair. All too easily, this can begin the slide down into the unfriendly territory of hostility. We can snap at them, and treat them as a ‘hostile’! Clearly, most people in peace-time are not hostiles. Perhaps then we can turn our own hostility on hostility itself. If “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” we could see fear or jealousy or bitterness or disappointment as the real (root) enemy, and transform our opinion of others and their good fortune. It can even come down to something as simple as assuming the best intention behind the behaviour of others – the so called, “benefit of the doubt”.
With a little bit of emotional alchemy, we can usually find something fascinating or charming about others. It is then a matter of fighting hostility on two fronts – appreciating our new ‘friends’ so that we become outwardly more friendly, and turning the strength of our own hostility on hostility itself.
In my experience, emotions often follow behaviours. If we behave in a friendly manner towards ‘strangers’, any sense of hostility towards them diminishes, and the victory over hostility is assured. By welcoming others to join us ‘inside’ our circle, we can often be delighted by the gifts they may well bring with them: laughter, joy, insight, kindness, and friendship.
I wanted to do a series that embraced all 20 cards from the Moodscope set (please see http://www.moodscope.com – you can measure your mood for free). Today, it’s the turn of the “Inspired” card, which Moodscope defines as, “feeling the desire to do something.”
Inspiration is often the spark that ignites the engine of motivation, which is fuelled by encouragement. What wonderful words: “inspiration”, “motivation”, “encouragement”. The feeling of inspiration starts with a thought, an idea, an insight. Just as I can choose to turn the ignition key to fire the spark plugs in my engine, so also I can deliberately choose to put myself in a position where inspiration is likely to spark. What sparks your inspiration? Who is your inspiration? When do you feel most inspired?
For me, I am at my most inspired early in the morning – often at Dawn. A stroll around the small garden is often enough to notice a pattern in Nature that inspires me or new growth that brings me hope. People’s use of phrases will often inspire a line in a poem. Art galleries and museums inspire me. Architecture inspires me. Good writing inspires me. In fact, wherever I place my attention, inspiration often follows. This means that I can play my part in choosing where to put my attention. There is an important aspect to my mindset, however; I am deliberately looking for inspiration – and that makes a world of difference.
Adventure movies sometimes talk of putting ourselves in harm’s way. I’d rather have the happier adventure of putting myself in inspiration’s way. How could you deliberately set yourself up for inspiration today?
Queen Victoria listens
But is clearly not amused,
She’s checked you out from head to toe
And doesn’t like your shoes!
Queen Victoria listens
She frowns for all she’s able;
She doesn’t like your manners
With your elbows on the table!
Queen Victoria listens:
Better watch your Ps and Qs;
Don’t speak unless you’re spoken to;
And do what you’re told to do!
Queen Victoria Listens;
Better stiffen your upper lip;
Don’t you show your feelings
Or let your standards slip!
Queen Victoria Listens,
Old Blighty’s Great again,
A land of hope and glory
As it was throughout her reign.