Moving Past Fear – A Hero’s Journey

How will the year 2020 be remembered? None of us were expecting reality to make such an abrupt shift. The terrifying thought, for many, is not knowing what it is transforming into. Uncertainty has become a daily staple on our planet.

Pessimism has taken its toll, fueling anxieties, generating ever more uncertainties. The unpredictability we are faced with has left many with a sense of foreboding, leading to panic and in some instances aggression. It all boils down to fear. 

Not everyone experiences fear in the same manner. While some are being quietly consumed by anxiety, stress, sleepless nights and little hope for the future, others are acting out in an attempt to gain some control back. These are not happy times. Had the song “Don’t Worry Be Happy” been released in 2020, very doubtful it would have been a hit. 

Fear Of The Unknown

2020 has made it painfully obvious that we are spoilt for choice. While we were all feeling the impending doom, from the climate crisis, envisioned food and water shortages, nuclear war, the demise of capitalism, identity theft, political corruption, financial collapse, and losing basic human rights, along came Covid.

Our already exhausted sense of hope, for a bright future, collided and joined forces with an unannounced invisible enemy. A mysterious, insidious virus which has managed to catapult the entire planet in record time. Leaving us all feeling unprepared for what lies ahead, unleashing widespread panic and aggression in some instances.

We outdid ourselves, emptying shelves of food supplies, not to mention toilet paper and looking for undeserving scapegoats to blame. How will we fare in this chapter of our story on earth? What sort of legacy are we leaving behind for future generations to discover about us, and how we coped during these challenging times?

How we wish to be remembered or whether we wish to be remembered at all, is determined by our words and actions at times such as this.

The unique blend and brand of fear ushered in by the 2020 pandemic, is an entirely new beast. This relentless villain is digitally fueled and has rapidly gained notoriety around the world. It has gone viral in the virtual realm, where it thrives as easily as it does in the physical realm.

The New Face Of Fear Generated In The Matrix

We are witnessing an unprecedented worldwide split, with all sides convinced they are the sole bearers of the torch, on a variety of alarming topics, from the climate crisis to Covid-19.

It is wise to distinguish this pandemic from the tragedies of war or natural disasters, which regardless of the carnage and suffering they seminate, have the power to unite people on a large scale. When we are faced with global events which we have no control over, it’s a life changer. In the pain, suffering and loss, we find a common denominator that connects us all and keeps us human.

It is a discouraging sign when people are divided and fragmented. This pandemic did not unite people as much as it created a rift and invisible borders, to separate distinct realities that can not coexist.

The internet and social networks have created platforms where people can subscribe to different constructs of the truth and reality. There’s something for everyone, from the eclectic to the absurd, to explain the unexplainable or to disprove consolidated facts, such as the earth’s shape being disputed by flat earthers. This global community rooted in the matrix, that promotes a pseudoscientific belief and argues against hard proven facts, is insanely enough still gathering momentum.

We have witnessed the rise of virtual tribal wars, inciting increased levels of intolerance and uncertainty. What we fail to realize is that this invisible enemy we are facing, has no prejudices, no favorite race, religion or political associations. This invisible enemy has shown us that we are all one and made of the same stuff. Do not underestimate the collateral damages of mass induced reality, propagated in the matrix. It is ripe with fear.

It is during difficult times such as these, that we are revealed to ourselves and to others. Moments that lay bare the truth about who we are and the world we have built. Only once we are able to confront our fears and act from selflessness, can we truly distinguish ourselves.

Fear and Panic Are Not The Answer To Survival

Fear is an internal mechanism dating back to our ancestors. Fear, like a loyal friend, has helped us cope and find our way out of danger since the dawn of time.

In the presence of danger, fear takes a hold of us, constricts our breathing and speeds up our heart. As our body responds to a threat all our muscles tighten and every single follicle of hair on our heads stands to attention. These are powerful, primitive emotional and physiological responses to danger.

Panic can be a life saving reaction, when faced with immediate danger. Unfortunately fear induced panic is not the solution to long term threats, such as those we are faced with now. We’ve never witnessed this particular brand of fear, on such a large scale, prior to the 2020 pandemic. Most of us are familiar with fear induced by what we perceive to be a personal threat.

These internal mechanisms will work against us once we get caught in the loop. When our actions are driven by fear we become enslaved to a destructive force, ruling over our thoughts and actions, mercilessly contributing to the vicious cycle.

How To Remain Resilient In The Face Of Fear

Resilience is the art of bouncing back, no matter how hard you fall. Resilience is not avoidance. It is a skill like any other life skill. Learning how to thrive in the face of adversity is no easy task, but at times it is the key to our survival. Fear is paralyzing and swallows us slowly, like quicksand. How can you remain resilient when faced with gut wrenching anguish, hopelessness and desperateness?

Surround yourself with people that can assist you in lifting yourself out of the quicksand. Shift your focus. Whatever the source of your anguish, you need to build a new foundation. You must cultivate self awareness, self care, purpose and positive relationships. 

Self awareness gives you a clear perception of your personality, your strengths and weaknesses, beliefs and values, helping you understand what motivates you and what moves you emotionally. Self Awareness not only teaches you about yourself, it will also teach you to understand others and how they perceive you.

Self care refers to our ability, as human beings, to function effectively in the world, while facing the multiple challenges of life with a sense of energy, vitality, and confidence. Self care requires our active engagement.

Purpose is the recognition that we belong to and serve something greater than ourselves. Our purpose in life helps to shape our mindset and attitude towards others and the events we experience, in our lives. We can find purpose in faith, family, or being part of an organization with like minded individuals, working together to achieve something greater, whether it is a group involved in climate change or being of support to our community.

One of the most profound experiences, as humans, is the connection we make with other human beings. By building positive relationships with others, we strengthen the foundations that will provide us continued support. As a result we are happier, more fulfilled and connected. Positive and supportive relationships help us live healthier, happier, more fulfilling lives.

Moving Past Fear — A Hero’s Journey

Most of us grew up on stories where in order to get the prince/princess, the treasure or whatever the reward might be, the protagonist had to be willing to put their own life at risk. It’s a classic hero’s journey that has stood the test of time and is still being propagated to this day. You will find this archetype in just about any Netflix Series or Movie. The hero is able to defeat evil and survive death, only through brave selfless acts of valor and nobility. Perhaps the time is ripe to review the core principles and teachings these stories actually stand for.

On a more mundane note, being in a prolonged and persistent state of fear can be devastating, causing anxiety, depression, leading to bad choices.

Assessing risks in the face of uncertainty is no easy task, however, when our actions are dictated by fear, our wellbeing and quality of life take a plunge. We stand to lose loved ones, friends and everything that is dear to us, making our worst nightmares come true.

Ignorance is what most of us should fear. Ignorance and fake news, both of which are spreading like wildfires in the virtual world we inhabit. It is time for a reality check, lest we want to collectively lose our minds and dignity as a species.

“Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear.” Bertrand Russell.

Published by Maddalena Di Gregorio

“I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in” Robert L. Stevenson

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