Posted by Pattie on 8/23/2004 03:38:00 PM


I have a great many fears that I don't name often. I don't like talking about my fears because one of them is that talking about fears make the fears stronger.

There is a story I read once about how Rabbit became so skittish.

Rabbit had a good friend that was a witch who was capable of great magic. Rabbit spent a lot of time with this friend, traveling about the country side. One time Rabbit was very hungry and the witch touched a stone, turning it into a turnip so Rabbit could eat. Rabbit didn't say anything, but ate the turnip. Another time Rabbit was thirsty and the witch cupped a leaf and water appeared in the leaf. Rabbit drank the water, but didn't say anything. Shortly after the generous acts of magic, rabbit stopped hanging out with the witch. She missed Rabbit greatly and began looking for him. When she found him, he tried to hide from her.

"What is wrong?" she asked. "Why do you no longer want to be my friend?"

"Because you are a witch, capable of great magic and it scares me."

Because the witch had only used her magic to help the Rabbit and because she still had a soft spot in her heart for Rabbit, she held back from putting a curse on him for his ingratitude.

Instead, she put a spell on him. The spell made Rabbit a "fear-caller." Every time Rabbit became afraid, he would call out the name of the thing that scared him. So if an eagle came by, he'd yell "No Eagle, don't eat me." Of course, his yelling got the eagle's attention and eagle would then eat him, thus confirming his fear. To break the spell, all Rabbit had to do was deal with his fear instead of whining out loud about it.

I know that the prevailing wisdom about emotions is that people should talk about them. I know all about "owning my feelings." But I sometimes wonder if we are aren't all rabbits, crying out about the things that scare us and turning those things into self-fulfilling prophecies.

I mean, aren't we doing far more damage in our efforts to feel secure than we would if we would just be afraid and work out what needs to be worked out.

I saw Pay It Forward last night on television. Today, I'm wondering if there is anything that could make the world a better place. But I suspect that naming the fear may make the world worse.

I wish I was wiser.