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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fear and Love are the Only Two Things

Thanks A. B.

I very much appreciate you sharing that experience with me, it is encouraging. It is very reassuring to hear someone who knows say that we don't have to suffer.

I find the fearful part of me says "yeah, see...she still suffers though, it still comes around."

Fear also wonders: Perhaps some of us (me) are just not strong enough to make the great effort it takes to turn this around? Some salmon maybe aren't able to make the upstream swim, survival of the fittest?

Fear is what operates on me the most. In fact, if I had to guess, I'd say I am still in this depression because part of me is so afraid that when I come out it will just happen again and be even worse next time. I don't know what to do with all of this fear. Fear of panicking at work, fear of hospitalization, fear of never knowing fearlessness and happiness. And now I am just dumping on you....so I will stop here.

Do you know any therapists that you would recommend in the Portland area?

Once again, I do thank you!


Dear R,

There are only two things--fear and love. We are made of love. It is our ground. That is why fear is so terrible because we don't know that we can get to the safety of ourselves. There is nothing we can do about love except be it. Fear we can do something about. We can acknowledge it as our alarm system going off, and we can turn away from it. We can remember that fear only happens in our subcortex. We can always get to our neocortex which does not have the capacity for fear. Then from the neocortex we can connect to present reality and realize ourselves once again. What helps calm the fear is knowing you can always, always, always escape to the neocortex where fear cannot go. We can always do this. As we confront more and more of our repressed fear (chap 10 in the book Depression is a Choice) we find we begin to live less fearful lives. As Marcus Aurelious said, "I shall cling to nothing else but reason alone."

It is true that all salmon do not make it upstream. But if you are a salmon you should dwell on the fact that it is salmonly possible for you to do so. And to think otherwise is counterproductive, and should not be an option. It is the weakness of our Western civilization that such extreme importance is placed upon expectation of reward, upon winning rather than upon engaging oneself in good action, as the only reasonable option, regardless of any final outcome.

I remember an interview with a professor once who said to me "you are an extremely fearful person."
"Yes, I realize that," I said.

And he looked up very kindly and said "That can change."

And it did change. I am no longer a fearful person.

A. B. Curtiss

Dear A. B.

I can't thank you enough. You have a gift for writing, especially the inspirational kind. Perhaps your gift is cutting through the fat to the meat. Whatever it is, I find myself wishing you were my counselor. I have been through so many now that have not been helpful, and one that was actually a hindrance to healing, if anything. I feel I could benefit from someone regularly speaking sense to me as you have done today.

In gratitude,


Dear R.

You can email me with questions anytime. A. B. Curtiss

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