I spent February and most of March battling panic attacks. For much of the time, I was completely paralyzed. I knew that I needed to develop new coping strategies and figure out how I could get back to a level of functionality.
The first thing I tried was the Litany against Fear.
In my last post, I shared the original Litany Against Fear from Frank Herbert’s Dune novels. I explained that I started trying to use the litany myself but didn’t find it helpful until I railroaded for my own purposes. Today I’m sharing a rewrite of the litany that fits my own philosophy about fear and channeling it into something productive.
Rose’s Litany to Embrace Fear
I must embrace my fear.
Fear is not my enemy.
Fear sharpens my senses and keeps me alert.
Fear is a spotlight on what I need to change.
Fear is the passage that leads to transformation.
I will stand in my fear. My fear will not consume me.
I will feel my fear fully and face it with courage.
I will stride through my fear and face down the darkness.
I have passed through. My fear and I have become one.
I’m still tweaking this (the poet in me isn’t happy with the cadence.) but I find it a much more proactive and helpful device for controlling fear than the original.
THe most memorable and often quoted line in the orignal litany is “Fear is the mind-killer.”
I never knew what that meant, because I’ve lived with fear for years and still been able to think rationally. When that changed for me this winter, I realized that the litany gets it wrong.
Fear does trigger a lot of instinctive reactions. A fight or flight response kicks in, it’s uncomfortable, and many times we pull back or give up because we’re too afraid.
But what good does that do?
With a little effort and a shift in perspective, it’s possible to see fear as an ally. The real problem–the mind-killer–is panic