Shadoe Stevens: Fear, Panic and Anal Leakage

There are a lot of reasons to be afraid - and really good reasons for being alarmed. Everywhere we turn thereís another reminder - for every ache, pain, itch and twitch, relief is a snap - but disclaimers replace comfort with caution: could cause depression, suicide, projectile diarrhea, and anal leakage. Now thereís meat-glue, and erections lasting longer than four hours. Thereís an alien invasion coming, but the Reptilians are already here, thereís a global conspiracy controlling economics, and all around us are the Syrup People, massive, lumbering creatures bred on the corn syrup in every kind of food.

Every newscast is filled with horrors, the commercials are filled with reminders of the help we need, reality programming shows us how crazy we are, we break away to see a car chase in progress, and disaster movies paint vivid pictures of how grotesque life might become at any minute. Talk radio fills our minds with helplessness and polarized frustration and anger. And all this negative emotion helps our lives how?

Initially, fear is instilled in us for fight or flight, to save our lives when the wholly mammoth starts charging and all weíve got is a club and a magic bone to ward off evil spirits. For me, 99.9% of the fear Iíve experienced has done nothing but paint vivid scary stories, all of which were much more colorful and agonizing than anything that really ended up happening. Most of the time, the worst thing happened and I dealt with it and the problem went away and I was still here to listen to my mind manufacturing new stories.

My ego empowers itself by complaining and my mind is always going ďyeah but,Ē and ďwhat if?Ē Itís looking for whatís wrong. ďThings are going well right now. Yeah but, how long is that going to last?Ē And the moment I pay attention to any little negative impulse, it grabs on to it and starts making lists: ďThis isnít going to work anyway. Why try? Whatís the point? How many things have you failed at? You suck. Youíre not really that smart. How old are you? Look at the list? What about the last ten things that seemed like good ideas that went down in flames, big shot? There was...this and this and this...and what about 1997?Ē

And then I get diminished and little. I start believing the story and then it projects forward, painting a new vision of horrors yet to come. ďYour best days are over and itís only going to get worse.Ē I get crippled by doubt, lose confidence, and find Iím tired and donít have the energy I remember once having. And itís all in the mind. None of itís real.

We are being reminded a thousand times a day of things to be afraid of and itís cumulative. It gives our minds endless bait, limitless dramatic hooks for us to fixate on and build into emotional theater. It can take anything it hears and spin it into a scary story, but at the same time, itís got its own resources, a lifetime of disappointments, frustrations, and resentments, and each one is a delicious morsel to bite into and chew vigorously until we experience the rich, spicy burst of flavor. Something about this drama is addictive. So, left unchecked, my brain is trying to kill me.

I realized some time ago a very simple principle. I donít want to suffer. Fear means suffering. Everything I most cherish in life, enthusiasm, inspiration, and laughter all come from some mysterious and inexplicable spiritual connection. These things canít be manufactured, theyíre not body generated states, they come from some place not of the physical universe.

I realized my job is to look for whatís right. All around me. All the time. Moment to moment. All the things I take for granted. All the things my mind dismisses on its quest to look for something better by identifying the things that are wrong and making lists. In this moment Iím not in pain. This is a really big deal. At this moment Iím not in pain. And Iím immersed in a staggeringly beautiful world, surrounded by an astonishing number of breath-takingly perfect details.

But I have to pay attention. At the first moment of that first glimpse of a negative thought, I have to pivot. I have to redirect my mind to what I CAN do. And get busy. I immerse myself in what I can do. My spirit has to control my mind. Look for beauty and you will find it.

Thatís what MENTALRADIO is all about. Controlling the mind. Shifting focus. Giving people information and new ways of looking at things. In the weeks and months to come we will bring you entertaining guests and conversations that will hopefully expand awareness through humor and theater, and awaken more positive ways of looking at life. What if things were really getting better. What if?