“It is out of control, spreading fast and no one is safe!”
Tom introduced himself and said as he sat down, “Almost five thousand people have already died from it and no one seems to be doing much!”
Tom was a well dressed, well read, distinguished looking man in his mid forties. He worked in the pubic service and followed world events closely. He had me called about dealing with his anxiousness which was impacting his life much more lately.
“Do you mean the ebola virus outbreak?” I asked him.
“I do!” he said, “It is out of control, spreading fast and no one is safe!”
“Tom, do you remember a while back, how we said that about AIDS?”
“Yes I do, and that’s why I’m so scared!” he retorted, anxiousness all over his face.
“I don’t want to be afraid anymore.”
I said, “You probably know… because of where you live, the chances are very low of contracting the virus; …you probably also know, it is motivating us to work more co-operatively as a planet; …and I bet you know, it is motivating us to allocate the resources needed to find a cure as soon as possible, …and, I bet you also know, it is driving much needed world resources to a severely underdeveloped area of the world! So why are you still so worried about it Tom?”
“Yes, I realize that is all going on…but it still scares me…I’m still afraid and Ken, I don’t want to be afraid anymore.”
“So you have been thinking your fear is a bad thing, a negative force in your life? Is that what this is about, Tom?”
“Yes I have…it has plagued me for my entire life! I’m sick of it!”
“What was your most fearful event of your life so far?”
“Tom, natural law states we live in a dualistic universe with each event having two sides, a positive and negative. We witness it everywhere from the physical laws of our world, to the laws in chemistry, to the bull and bear markets in our economy, to our health, to the optimist and pessimist in every successful relationship, to polarized political parties, and so on. For example, I just mentioned a few of the advantages to our recent embola outbreak. This natural law applies to you and your life too, Tom!”
“If that’s the case I don’t see it, Ken.”
“”Then, let’s check…what was your most fearful event of your life so far?”
“I have had so many, it is hard to pick just one. But, perhaps the most recent big one was losing Madeline, my wife, to cancer last year.” he said sadly in a quiet, almost hushed voice.
“Tom, that must have been tough! What was the worst moment for you?” I asked matching his tone.
“What did you do at that very moment you felt so terrified?”
“Probably after the funeral…when everyone had left…and I was sitting alone in our living room…wondering how I was going to cope…alone…by myself…I was terrified!”
“Tom…and what did you do at that very moment you felt so terrified?”
“Actually, I got up and went to the kitchen and made myself a cup of tea, wondering, all the time, what I should do with the rest of my life…with Madeline gone.”
“So, it sounds like you comforted yourself with a cup of tea, started planning your future…took care of yourself…at that moment. Would that be accurate Tom?” I asked.
“Yes, I suppose it is…we used to have tea quite often…but she had been so sick with her chemo…we didn’t have tea during the last six months of her life!” he said, his eyes watering.
“She was always saying I should take better care of myself…”
“At that moment, you were, both taking care of you, and honouring Madeline’s memory…I bet that would please her Tom!”
“Yes, it probably would on both counts because, she was always saying I should take better care of myself…even as she…got sicker.”
“Can you see Tom, your fear motivated you to push forward in life…as it does all of us! When you were most fearful…it was then you acted to take care of yourself with some tea. That same principle applies to every fearful time in your past…you acted to protect yourself. The evidence of your success is you are here today talking to me…alive and well.”
“Fear motivates me to get on with my life…”
“So my fear motivates me to get on with my life…is that what you’re saying?”
“Tom…yes, you, me and everybody else!”
“Ken, that idea gives me a lot to think about. And, I also have some decisions I need to make. At least now I know it is OK to be afraid!”
“Tom, let’s leave it there and next week you can tell me what it means for your future. OK?”
“That’s fine with me!”
Until Next time…
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