by Lee Anne McClymont

“A Point of Departure.” Aptly named? I hope so!  Last week though the article was new, the title remained the same.  I hope that did not stop any you from reading the column and trying your hand at the exercise.  In writing today’s column, I re-read the first installment of Sweet Potatoes and smiled. In the last few paragraphs of the first column, I spoke to you about the value of your work building a personal narrative about your relationship with fear. Your “final product” will be very helpful as you approach new situations that require your decision-making skills since you have given your self an opportunity to reflect upon your past experiences through writing. In doing so, some of the highly charged, negative energy gets diffused thus bringing clarity and insight into the picture.   But the overall value of this project has been proven by many readers to extend deeply beyond the margins of your notebooks.

Let me explain how. 

Through writing about fear, I took aim at the geography of mind. This column has led you through a demanding progression of writing and sketching exercises.  You have been asked to assess your past experiences with fear and also to reconsider the language you use to describe fear filled events to name but two of these exercises presented in the series. At this point, you have learned to exploit your own experiences to build stronger decision-making skills that help navigate with fear rather than suppressing fear when change enters your life. And change enters all of our lives often visiting without an invitation. Though our lives may follow different courses, all of us know something about fear.

In fact, one of fear’s great enigmas is that it has the power to connect us with each other while at the same time to turn us inward.

Music has that power.  We can sing together while privately reflecting upon the words and melody of a song. We experience this without any sneeze of contradiction.  Both fear and music exists comfortably between community and solitude.

So often in this digital age, our world can reduced can be reduced to simple binary code. For example we either love something or hate something. Our perceptions have been built around these two swtiches:on and off. As children, we quickly learn to assess if something is good or bad. Implied in this reasoning is “all-good” and “all bad” This way of thinking carried us into our adult lives and brings with it an implicit promise—as well as danger.

The promise rests with the ease at which we can respond to the vast stimuli in our lives. Without much thinking we can accept new information without feeling overwhelmed. It is almost pre-digested!

The danger inherent in approaching our world with a binary mindset is that it overlooks the possibility for situations to carry both “on and off” messages.

And that limits both understanding and growth.

After learning more about Friendly Fear, you have a totally new appreciation of how fear brings both positive and negative energy with it. You now know how to leverage both qualities so that you can strengthen your decision-making skills.

My intention has been to encourage this inclusive holistic type of thinking to take root within your mind.

The Asian Metaphor for life is represented in the yin and yang symbol where creative and destructive forces not only co-exists but actually give birth to one another. There is no “on” or “off” switch within this perception, thus, contradictions dissolve.  This circular thinking can restore the balance between fear and growth.

As you work on your own personal narrative project you have gently morphed from reader to writer learning to wrap your own words around your heart so that if feels safe and supported. From this place of safety, you’ve found the strength to gaze inward and see your Truth.  But the journey need not end here. Like the ideas you have been practicing, this journey is a circular one: It works best if you come back to it again and again continuing to bring yourself around to a new level of understanding.

Each time you pick up your notebook and consider the exercises you will be covering new territory, continuing to move deliberately and gracefully between comfort and risk, crisis and recovery. I sincerely hope you enjoy the journey. Thank you.

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Lee Anne McClymont is radio talk show host and producer of Courage Cocktail which broadcasts live on Wednesdays at Noon EST on WCOM-FM 103.5.  In June 2010, Lee Anne published her first book, “Friendly Fear Notebook”.  She is a guest columnist for Hillsborough, NC-based newspaper, “The News of Orange County”.  She launched Radiocentrix.com as an extension of her interest in using radio broadcasting as an Open Source Media outlet. Her work at Radiocentrix anchors radio podcasting within the digital landscape– effortlessly streaming radio interviews between live radio broadcasts and podcasts. Lee Anne is the principal owner of Vast Republic Inc., a media company committed to promoting the voices of authors, artists and businesses within the digital platform.

Photo courtesy of Tahseen Khan.

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Lee Anne McClymont

About Lee Anne McClymont

Host and producer of a new radio show hit "Courage Cocktail" broadcasting out of WCOM FM, Carrboro/Chapel Hill NC. The Friendly Fear Notebook forms the basis of this show but with a twist-we talk to an expert and then interview a "Guest with Guts" Come out to our Facebook page called Courage Cocktail poke around, download a pod cast and you are on your way ! Sip slowly....Le