the battle with fear

“Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle. The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. They both had their weapons. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?” Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.” Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?” Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.” In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear. ”
Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

This day 6 years ago I faced the scariest, most heart-breaking thing I have ever experienced in my life. I sat at the bedside of my step-father as he died. It was frightening to watch him leave us forever. It was frightening to be face to face with death in such a way. But on the other hand, it was also the most profound and life changing moment of my life, too. I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.

While the time between grief stretches out a bit longer these days, it still hurts when I think about it.

I don’t ever want it to ever stop hurting.

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8 thoughts on “the battle with fear

    1. I have! I just read it for the first time in March. This quote reminds me a lot of the “Fear is the mind killer” quote from Dune. Been thinking about that a lot.

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    1. Yeah, this week has been kind of rough. I’m getting through it though. The waves of grief are not quite as frequent as they once were , which is good. 🙂 But man, when they come crashing in it can be very painful.

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