Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Genetics of Fear

Thunderstorms came and came
last night.
Duke, my Standard Poodle friend
lay on my bed in fear
chest pumping,
eyes wide open.
I cradle him gently
ear softly on his furry chest.
Smelling
that warm dog smell.
Listening to air
surging in and out.
Urgent.
I hear the racing heart.
I listen to the fear.
It mirrors mine,
Although thunderstorms are not
among my fears.

After a time
breathing and heartbeat slow.
Fear dissipates.
We are both calm.

Flashback.
New born Holstein calf
alone in a bed of fresh straw
Fresh from the uterine ocean...
Trembling.

My 5 year old son
with no words spoken
lies down in the straw by the calf
arms stretched around the neck of the frightened bovine child.
The trembling stops.
My son has no fear of fear.
That comes later.

I hope not.

I was taught to fear the fear.
How do I unlearn that?

4 comments:

Gartenfische said...

Wow. This is great.

How DO we unlearn that? I suspect God's grace has something to do with it, along with our own work on letting go and trusting. I have felt some of my fear lifting, healing over the past year. Thank God.

Suzy said...

Lovely poem, Chuck. No answer to the big question. I live with a lot of fear. I try not to let it hold me down.

jbixleri said...

Thanks for sharing this poem. Reading it and the comments makes me think about the power of noticing.

What if the challenge were not to unlearn the fear of fear, but simply to notice it?

A friend has noticed -- and pointed out ot me -- that when I'm upset, I then do a double layer of being upset that I'm upset. Now that this has come to may attention it helps me. I say to myself (or my friend points out to me), "Oh, right, my heart is beating faster now because I'm upset that I'm upset." And simply noticing it is helpful.

I wonder if fear of fear is similar and if in the same way one could say, "Oh, now my heart is beating faster because I have fear of fear." Would simply noticing it .... as you do in the poem... be a helpful thing?

A yoga teacher repeatedly tells me (over and over on a CD I have) that yoga is about noticing, without judging or trying to change, just noticing.

I'm not sure a poodle can notice what is going on in his interior ...but a human can.

poodledoc said...

I think noticing would be useful for fear of fear, potentially stopping it before it gets out of control. But the notcing has to come early enough to keep fear from getting out of control.

As for poodles, they do "notice" what's going on inside, but don't usually have the means to stop it. So they go to their owners to be close, get petted and hughed, and listen to a re-assurinng voice. So----maybe they do have a strategy after all. But they aren't particularly articulate.