Feel Your Fear… Then Wash Your Hands

Bran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’ ‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.

A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin

The Novel Coronavirus aka COVID-19 is in my area and I’m afraid. Maybe that makes me gullible to media sensationalism, maybe it means I’m wise to be cautious or maybe it means nothing more than that I am afraid.

What am I afraid of, exactly? It’s hard to say. I’ve read the statistics, looked into the science (at a basic level) so I get it… it’s a highly infectious disease but most cases are mild with relatively few cases leading to serious complications up to and including death. I understand all if that on an intellectual level, on the level of mind. I understand that my family is probably going to fine but I’d be lying to myself and you if I said that I felt zero fear. The animal mind still reacts with fear in times like this.

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Bravery is facing fear, feeling it and moving on anyway. Bravery isn’t about ignoring fear, it’s about acknowledging and feeling that fear but pressing forward in the face of it.

And so, as the first two US deaths were announced not too far from my home, I’ve done what I can to observe my fear, sit with it and press forward. One of the practices I like to do is to go ahead and let my fears run wild for a bit. I let myself imagine the worst case scenario in my mind… all the way up to the zombie apocalypse and total societal collapse. Rather than try and push away my fears, I let them see the light of awareness and that alone is usually enough to feel a bit better.

Alright, now that that’s out of my system, let’s focus on what we can do to prepare without a total freak out. We can do everything in our power to stay healthy: obviously, wash your hands and keep teaching your kids to do the same, make sure to get enough rest and make sure to take your meds and vitamins. This thing basically spreads like a cold or flu, we’ve avoided colds before.

And so, acknowledge the fear, observe it… and wash your hands.

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