Friday, June 27, 2008


Sun filtered through trees

Smoke: fear, anxiety and pessimism

I used to think that fire season was California's fifth season, it started somewhere between late August and mid-September and lasted until the first rains in October. This year it seems to be replacing summer entirely. This is a very interesting summer. "May you live in interesting times," is reputedly a Chinese curse, though I have been told no authentic Chinese saying to this effect has ever been found.

With the thousands of burning fires, oil prices setting constant new records, the stock market sliding into bull territory and the dollar becoming worth less and less, I have been sensing more and more fear, anxiety and pessimism in people. The smoke makes it seem worse. We are in a world where things change very rapidly.

That reminds me of another quote, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," that was Franklin D. Roosevelt in his early 1933 presidential inauguration. By 1933 the depression had reached its depth and our country was then also gripped by fear, anxiety and pessimism. The winds of history changed and, after the war, the bad times were slowly blown away.

Much of our fear, anxiety and pessimism is a choice. If we make that choice and dwell on our fear, anxiety and pessimism we may in fact perpetuate the bad times and help things get worse. If instead we choose to be optimistic we can help bring a wind of change and through our positive attitudes and helpful actions we can become part of that wind of change.

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