Courage in the face of Fear.

Fresh Air. The Black Glacier, on my Norway visit this year. (See below!)

Here in the UK we have been suffering an epidemic of fear. Fear is being promoted at every corner: stripes on the pavement, notices on shop windows, security staff on doors, cardboard cups, taped barriers, random warnings, cancelled appointments and half-seen faces. Here where I live we’ve even got roads closed and entire lanes dedicated to two or three cyclists an hour. The rationale for all these has been lost in the melee as the majority of the population bows to those who love having unlimited power to control us. Their tool for this is fear. Fear of a virus that is 1000 times smaller than the pores in the finest fabrics we are advised to use in an attempt to protect ourselves.

I’ve not seen ANY promotion of courage, have you?

Fear is not always a bad thing of course. I have a profound fear of being trapped – it’s called claustrophobia – and I’m glad I do. It is not an illness, it is a wisdom-based emotional condition. It means I take action to avoid being trapped, in my case not just by physical things like caves and other small physical spaces from which exit is difficult or impossible, but by non-physical things like the outworking of psychological concepts, some religious beliefs, and a variety of socio-cultural expectations and pressures – from which exit is also difficult or impossible. I have no intention of allowing myself to be trapped by these things, including fear, and I suggest you might like to take that precaution too!

So stay open. Stay curious. Keep asking questions of those who think they know. Even awkward ones. Read way beyond the controlled mainstream media, poke your way beyond the emotive lines dished out by politicians, ‘scientists’ and so called experts – lines designed to make and keep people compliant. Ask yourself about how those people are funded, who they owe allegiance to, what would they lose if they were to answer honestly the questions they are asked. Don’t believe someone who says they are trying to keep you safe. They have other personal agendas that are a far far higher priority to them than your health and safety.

So how about some of the things I’m learning? Here are some of my personal headlines:

  • God has given you an amazing immune system. Look after it!

You can do that by making sure you eat good wholesome fresh food, and get outside a lot. One of the worst things you can do is stay indoors all the time. Fresh air has lots of oxygen in it, and you need oxygen to build your body’s natural protections. Did you know that the current culprit we’re all so concerned about is completely destroyed by 2 or 3 minutes in bright sunlight?

Don’t be afraid to hug people either. Your immune system needs to be kept active by lots of different ‘small threats’ (from the environment and contact with other people) so that it is well programmed to recognise what is and what is not ‘you’, and it then labels and kills off. That’s what the famous T-cells do!

The chances of sufficient viral ‘load’ being transmitted to you in the contact time it takes to hug your friend (sufficient ‘load’ to overwhelm your immune system and make you seriously ill) is so infinitesimally small you are more likely to die from a heart attack while you wait for it to take effect! It takes quite a time for there to be sufficient ‘load’ to hurt you. It is also interesting that people who don’t have symptoms of illness aren’t ill enough to give you anything serious!

  • Avoid anything that restricts your natural breathing process.

ANY restriction to your airways reduces that essential oxygen you are designed to breath. It also means you will be re-breathing carbon dioxide – not a good idea. The effects of unnatural levels of carbon dioxide on the body may include headaches, dizziness, restlessness, a tingling or pins or needles feeling, difficulty breathing, sweating, tiredness, increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, coma, asphyxia, and even convulsions. Not good then! It’s the reason we breath it out, and need to do so in an unconstricted fashion.

  • If you’re ill, stay at home. You know what the signs are.

Whether you have a cold, flu or anything else, don’t share it around. Stay at home, take some paracetamol, and sit by a nice warm fire.

Trust your immune system to deal with it. See above! And don’t think for a moment that someone sticking a needle into your arm is going to prevent you getting any particular illness. Such action might actually give you an illness, as many contain live animal content – some contain live unstable human fetal material. Ask yourself: do I really want that in my bloodstream? Think about it.

  • Avoid high or long levels of stress.

This is a pretty good principle for most of our lives anyway. I love the 80% rule here. Each of us needs to leave an extra 20% of our energy, time and even money for those moments of crisis we inevitably face in normal living. Sustained stress profoundly undermines your Immune System, so being afraid, anxious, worrying, not sleeping well or being able to relax – and burying these things – lowers your resistance to disease. (Dis -Ease. Hmmm. Might be a connection!) Of course short bursts of moderate ‘stress’ can be healthy – – even relaxing! (I’ve a client who relaxes by extreme rock climbing! You ought to see his arm muscles…) High levels of stress, or even moderate levels sustained for long, is NOT good. Cancer, heart attack, and multiple other health problems are associated with stress. People who constantly try to give 100% or more end up burnt out or attempting to make up the deficit in other ways. Such emotional stress-debt can actually kill you.

Prepare for Action

Have you noticed that the classic reactions to fear – the ‘Four Fs’ are Fight, Flee, Faint, Freeze – are known panic reactions and INCREASE your sense of vulnerability? I like to think that PA (my shorthand for Panic Attack) has a better meaning: Prepare for Action. You and I are currently being bombarded with fear-inducing, unhealthy statements about the future from people who should know better. So prepare for action. Choose to live with courage yourself. Reject fear-based projections and ‘warnings’ (any comments about what ‘is going to happen in the future’ is pure speculation – haven’t we had enough of that nonsense?) and choose to live EN-couraging others to do the same.

‘C’ stands for Control

The ‘C’ for Saturday is CONTROL

number five in thePowerchange ‘SEVEN’ course we are running at Bethany Cottage on Saturday’s once a month.  For most of us control is a BIG DEAL.screenshot_529

This is a MASSIVELY important thing to consider, as it impacts of so much of our lives and thinking.

Are we really in Control – do we want to be?

  • What about ‘luck’, chance, predestination, God, freewill, and mathematical randomness – where and how do they fit in?
  • What about the responsibilities I have?  If I have children or a job that involves 100s of other people’s lives – how do those responsibilities ‘dictate’ my life?
  • Or maybe it is  believing that I CAN be in control (or that I actually am in some way) that really matters?
  • Needless to say, what YOU think matters – or should that read: What you THINK matters?!  Of course it does.
  • When I feel such a small cog in such a big wheel, am I just deluding myself when I want to be in control – or it it wiser to give up – and how would that affect my life?
  • By the end of Saturday it will be nice to have some fresh perspectives (or whatever) that we can use to calm, reassure and inspire us.

There will, of course, be the gentle atmosphere of Bethany Cottage, the laughter, chatter, good food, and good company of the others in the group. If you’ve never been to one of these days and would like to join us on one in the future, let me know – or sign up on the front page of (right hand column!) and we’ll keep you in touch.

And while we are on the subject, what about people who want to control screenshot_528US? And how do we get back into control of things that have now taken us over – or are ‘beyond our control’?  How do we control other people?  Discipline? Punishment? Rules and Laws? Prison?  And then there is SELF-control. Do any of us have it?

And what about those of us who are born nonconformist?   😉

Maybe the need or desire to be in control is overrated, or control is a delusion and we can just give up and ‘go home’?  Then what?  

Well, I suspect that people WILL ‘go home’ at the end of the day (we’ve only so many beds!) but with some clearer thoughts, some peace of mind, and a more mature view of what Control might be about. Three ‘Top Truths’ about Control that can guide us, perhaps. Might be particularly useful in this pretty foundation-less and insecure world.

You could send me a quick comment on a time when you felt very out of control – and how you got BACK into control again.  Or didn’t.


Self-control and priorities

It is a big deal.  Here are three Top Tips from me  –  and read them ALL not just the first one.  They are all fresh and ready for human consumption.

1. Control is a Verb not a Noun.

Self control is something you DO.  It is not something you HAVE.  It is an action, or maybe a non-action. You can’t keep self control in a cupboard and look at it every now and then. You may HAVE driving skills (or talking or eating skills!) but that is not at all the same as driving (and talking or eating). Self control is something you can do whenever you like, outside the realms of torture, a straight jacket, or someone holding a gun to your temple, of course. All of us can control ourselves, give or take.  You can raise your hands or your voice. Both are actions. In the same way NOT  raising your hands or your voice, or food to your mouth is the ABSENCE of an action a deliberate non-action. And NOT acting, doing nothing as an active choice, has consequences too. You decide.

Self control involves the process of putting your desires and longings into some sort of priority and deciding what outcomes you want the most, and acting towards those, and NOT other things.  I recently had a payout for a motorcycle injury and had to decide what my priorities were. It was a big (for me) chunk of money and I had to decide what my priorities were. I acted towards my priorities and phoned Santander to pay off my mortgage instead of Michael Hold to buy that Airstream Bambi! I still want one, but I had another priority. By the way, priority choices usually mean boundary choices. That’s what self-control is all about – living within chosen boundaries.  I can’t spend my money on clearing the mortgage AND get the Bambi right now (it wasn’t that much) though I guess there probably would be a way to do so!

You may want a quiet evening reading a book more than you want a stimulating conversation, so you switch off the phone and sit down with the book and a drink. You may want a fit body more than you want a flabby (or even average) body, so you go to the gym instead the chip-shop. It isn’t rocket science, and doesn’t need a gastric band – or a Bambi parking space.

2. Actions bring consequences.

ALL actions bring consequences – something that won’t happen otherwise. It is not possible to act without your actions resulting in outcomes.  Actions are a deliberate operation into the environment and will change it. It is simple: Act towards your goals and they get nearer. Gallop towards them and they get nearer. Saunter casually towards them and they get nearer. Crawl towards them and they get nearer, though much slower.  The outcome of acting towards what you want is that you get closer to what you want until, all things being equal, you arrive at it!

3. You’re free to choose. 

So what are you not controlling right now? What little contorted conversations do you have with yourself to explain how it is not your fault, there is nothing you can do and another person is to blame? Yes there are all sorts of different pressures on us, seeking to persuade you and me to hand over the control of our minds and bodies to another person. (It usually results in money coming out of our bank account and going into someone else’s) but it is worth remembering that those people have no more power than you – and much less power over you than you have. You really are free to choose. No need to surrender or fight. Just fill your screen (or your thinking) with what is important to you. What you want to be like as a person. What you want in your life. How you want to be in old age.

Then act towards it.

In the interests of self control I’m going to resist the temptation to write another paragraph and STOP.

Except to say … (tempting, isn’t it?)

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