Don't give into fear


My dog Mack licks the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. He's a clever dog, and the kids never really rinse their plates properly, so I can hardly blame him.

Still, I discourage the behavior because I have nightmares about him shredding his tongue on the grater or, worse yet, having someone innocently grab a spoon from the utensil basket for a quick stir of their coffee.


Still he persists. Until now.

Yesterday the problem may have solved itself because Mack caught his collar on the lower rack of dishes and dragged the entire basket off its wheels and across the kitchen floor.

Dishes flew. Silverware tumbled. Bits of food sprayed on the floor.

The noise was tremendous, and the poor dog won't soon recover.

In fact, Mack won't come into the kitchen if the dishwasher is open. After almost three years of life, one injection of fear is completely altering his behavior.

Fear is a mighty, mighty force.

For Mack, a dose of scariness is helpful, particularly because words don't do the trick!  However, for the rest of us fear is usually a weight dragging us away from growth.

Many of you sent me notes about Marianne Williamson's amazing poem (here) and so I thought you'd also enjoy this sage advice from Yann Martel in Life of Pi.

“I must say a word about fear. It is life's only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always ... so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don't, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.”

Fear is most dangerous when it's unnamed and sitting in the dark. The implied question for us all is, "which fears needs exposure to light?"