Saturday, July 1, 2023

2023 Word of the Year: FEAR: Frustration, Ego, Anxiety, Resentment


Burbling brains at Mirzaani in Kutaisi, Caucasus Georgia. February 2012. Credit: Mzuriana.
Burbling brains at Mirzaani in Kutaisi, Caucasus Georgia. February 2012. Credit: Mzuriana.


Fear's been burbling like molten pig iron down deep beneath the Earth's surface, since 2016, really.  A heavy-metal fear that tastes like blood: ferric, ferrous, fear-us.

The viscous sputum that flew out from the Trumpian mouth of pent-up racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, classism. The continued cowering of ethical conservatives who can only be called, at this point, collaborators in the prevailing assaults against human and civil rights.

The pandemic. 

The wars.

Personal loss. 

The uncertainty of how my individual aging process will play out. Because sumthin'-sumthin' is going to play out; no uncertainty there. 

Frustration, ego, anxiety, resentment - none of these are helpful. 

I aspire to serenity. 

Like Voltaire's Candide said, it is a good to "cultivate my own garden." I might tie that to this cliche about enlightenment: "Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water." 

Which brings me to my spirit animal that is not an animal at all: It is a sturdy little boat in a vast sea. From Thich Nhat Hanh

Without doing anything, things can sometimes go more smoothly just because of our peaceful presence. In a small boat when a storm comes, if one person remains solid and calm, others will not panic and the boat is more likely to stay afloat.

I do not have a daily practice of meditation, although I do have two books that - when I read them - create a meditative experience for me: Wherever You Go, There You Are (Jon Kabatt-Zinn) and Fear: Essential Wisdom For Getting Through the Storm (Thich Nhat Hanh). 

It seems that it is time for me to develop a daily practice of meditation.

That is, if I want to release the Frustration, Ego, Anxiety, and Resentment. 

The 2023 word of the year thus far

  1. January: FEAR: Looking Into the Abyss Without Falling In
  2. February: FEAR: Fuck Everything And Run
  3. March: FEAR: Forgetting Everything's All Right
  4. April: FEAR: Take More Risks
  5. May: FEAR: Feelings Expressed Allow Relief
  6. June: FEAR: Face Everything And ... Rise


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