Fear is the Path to the Dark Side

Lately, most of my blogging seems to be inspired by the power of the mind. I comment on how much is dependent on perspective, and am awed by the forces of memory. I regularly find myself engaging in lengthy internal discussions–many of which have spilled over into references in this blog–about the strength of thoughts in my every day life. Years of my life have been lost because I let certain things come across my mind and once they crossed once, the synapses just kept firing, and before I knew it, I had spent fifteen years of my life in a misery of self-consciousness so thorough I forgot the thoughts that caused it.

Since I have been committed to the idea that it really is as simple as choosing not to engage in the type of thinking that makes me an entirely unpleasant human being, I regularly see the other ways in which thoughts are powerful. My new job challenges me daily: I seem to be doing the job well, and when people point that out, the well-worn mental roads of self-doubt and insecurity beckon my cognitive signals to lighten those paths with electrochemical high-beams. I regularly force my mind from these paths, because I know where they lead. They take another opportunity and fast-forward ten years to wistful thinking. I’m old enough now to know that doubting oneself now and regretting one’s past later can often be partners. Simply because the paths of thoughts are that powerful and well-worn in my mind.

Today, my job put me in a place where I was forced to reflect on the simple power of engaging or failing to engage in a thought. I need hardly point out that my job is totally awesome, and thus I can’t actually share all of the details of my work. What I can share is that today I had a meeting that I was truly terrified about. Terrified in that can’t-fall-asleep, waking-up-every-few-hours-to-lay-awake, shaking-in-my-boots-all-morning kind of way (and yes, I actually was wearing boots). Terrified about something that turned out to be one of the coolest things I’ve ever done, which went smoothly, and which I hope I performed above satisfactorily at.

The terror, in its entirety, was a product of my mind. I made it up, I fed the beast, I walked with it to a room that felt like the gallows, and when the time came, I put it aside and did my job. When I got done, I was so tired, it crossed the mind that I had made myself tired just by thinking. Even more notable is that I made myself tired thinking about something that wasn’t even real, or likely to be real.

The best part is that there came a point before the meeting where I knew it, and still I was powerless to fight my fear other than putting on a brave face. Maybe that was enough to help me perform well, but it would have been nice to have a good night’s sleep. It would have been nice to been able to take back some of the power from my anxiety, sleep peacefully, and wake up with the assurance that my anxiety is reasonable, but so is my capability. This is just another step on that path toward happiness, I guess.

Yes, that is Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber in the above picture.
I guess I could talk about my trip to San Francisco soon, eh?


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