My dog Nikita is the best little watch dog, barking when people come to the door or a possum gets into the garden. If we get up at night to use the bathroom, she will follow us and do a patrol of the back garden just to check all is safe. Or chase the neighbour’s cat – I am never sure.
When I am home alone or up late, I find her watchful activity reassuring. It’s her job and she is very proud of herself.
However when a thunderstorm rolls by, it is a different story. She gets very frightened by the sounds and feel of thunder, shivering and panting, hiding under the bed. She shakes and pants, not knowing what is going on. Not really having a concept of the future, there is not much we can do to make it better.
We all get scared at something, sometime.
There is nothing wrong with that, we would be less than human if we did not. But we do have a concept of future, so we can imagine a time when the fear has passed and we can act again.
However, often our imagination keeps us stuck in situations that we don’t want and don’t serve us. We are afraid of what the future might bring: failure, rejection, punishment, hurt. We get stopped over and over again, afraid to act in case something “bad” happens.
We may even do a lot of preparation and practice to create a form of “pseudo-safety” that these bad things won’t happen. Some of this may be useful, but often it is just a distraction from the fear, using our resources. Rather than lessening the fear, it seems to imbed it in our lives.
Worrying about the future takes up so much of our energy, and stops us living a life of joy. Recognising that there are times when we all are afraid and accepting that part of you, will give you some freedom, to act or not as you choose.
Sometimes we just can’t stop the thunderstorms.