#Reverb15 – Day 12: The Alchemy of Fear

One way we can be alchemists is when comes to fear. I don’t believe in fearlessness. I truly cannot imagine what that would feel like. But when we experience fear we can transmute that energy into something else, something more helpful.For example, we may choose to change that fear into motivation, or focus, or hyper-awareness. Can you think of an instance in the past year where you have been successful at making fear useful?  What fears do you hold about the year ahead? And how could you use the energy of those fears in a different way?

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

          ~Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear
Frank Herbert – “Dune”

There are different facets to fear – varying degrees of fear. Fear manifests itself in each of us quite differently. For some, it can be quite debilitating while for others, it can be a tremendous motivator.

I don’t know I would want to live a life without fear. To me, complacency made possible by a life devoid of fear is far more scary than fear itself. Fear can drive us to do incredible things. It is true it can also drive us to do horrible things. I guess it is a two-edged sword.

I think the key is to recognize fear for what it is and face it head on as suggested in the Litany Against Fear as quoted above. And to not allow the fear to become a negative motivator but rather a positive one.


Reverb is a yearly writing challenge that takes place in December. Being the end of the year, it is the perfect time to reflect and think about all that we hold dear to us and to let go of those things that are weighing us down or holding us back. I hope you’ll join us as we share in this wonderful yearly ritual that has become so dear to so many – especially me.

2 thoughts on “#Reverb15 – Day 12: The Alchemy of Fear

  1. Oh I do love that Dune quote – it’s a very beautiful and powerful guide isn’t it? I think the message about allowing fear to move through us is key – not to get attached to it and certainly not to live in.

    I’m still examining my thoughts about fear as a motivator. While I agree it’s excellent to us the energy of fear if it’s there to move you into action; I’m not entirely sure I want to encourage fear as my motivator. I totally hold that I’m a person who responds favorably to carrots and not to sticks. 🙂

  2. I think it really depends on the degree of fear. And of course perhaps I’m using fear as too general a word. For me, fear of failure can be both motivating and also debilitating. It depends. When it comes to my writing, I do fear that it has blocked me from actually writing and putting myself out there as I would like. In other instances, it has pushed me to conquer my fear – for example when I was hired as a fire tower lookout and had to climb a 100 foot tower (straight up this metal ladder). I was scared stiff as I climbed up above the tree line. I stopped for a moment and contemplated quitting but I knew I could not. It was not an option no matter how scared I was, so I pushed on and conquered it. Still, I had to be careful each time I climbed up there and keep my wits about me. I loved the job. I still don’t care of heights but I did what I had to do. I hope that makes sense. I agree though that it is not necessarily something (fear) that I would want to be constantly motivating me. But I do believe it has its place.

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