Day 11 of the Overcoming Fear Challenge

exit interview

The best way to get rid of fear is to let hm know that he is no longer needed.

 An Exit Interview with Fear

Yesterday we talked about how fear is like a protective coating that protects us from things that can harm us, but in order for us to grow, we must tell the fear that it is no longer needed.  Its not as though we need to get angry or upset with fear. The truth is, it is best when we address our fear that we are calm and don’t get excited because excitement makes fear raise up its defenses. We do much better if we can address fear with a coolly, rationally and lovingly.

The best way to get rid of fear is to let hm know that he is no longer needed.

Imagine that you are an employer and that fear’s job has been terminated. Treat this conversation like an exit interview and fear is getting the ax. Here is how such a conversation could go:

In an interview room, two chairs are facing one another. I am sitting in one. Fear enters the room. He is standing very militarily. His eyes are ever watchful. He is proud of the work that he has been doing.  I motion fear to take the seat facing the one in which I am sitting.

Me: Hello fear, I see that you have been very busy taking care of business. I see that you are trying to protect me from failure, and I appreciate your efforts.

Fear: Well, thank you. It is nice that I am appreciated.

Me: You’ve come to work every day, did your time, did your job well. Too well in fact. However, I have bad news for you. The job that you have been do no longer is needed so I have to let you go. It is time for me to grow, and the job that you have been doing is hindering that grown. I’m sorry, but I have to let you go.

Fear: But I like it here. Please keep me on.

Me: The truth is,Your job was supposed to have been a temporary one. I have kept you on far longer than I should have.

Fear: But if I leave, you’ll be more vulnerable. I won’t be here to protect you.

Me: But if you stay, I can’t grow and grow I must.

Fear: I see. I understand. I wish it were different. I really liked working for you.

Me: And you did your job well. It is just that I no longer need the services you provide. Good-bye fear.

Fear: Good-bye.

(Fear gets up. He is stooped over, his head low. He walks out of the room. I sort of feel sorry for him, but I know that it is for the best. It is time for me to grow.)

About the Author

2014-04-07 07.07.08Cygnet Brown has recently finished her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga Cygnet Brown resides in Springfield, Missouri.

Get a free copy of her newsletter and a free pdf copy of her e-booket: Vegetable Gardening in the Shade.

Day 11 Overcoming Fear Challenge ©2014 Donna (Cygnet) Brown

Challenge Day 3: Fear Disguised as Procrastination

I observe myself procrastinating things that I love doing all the time. I do it because I don’t want to have to face the new thing that I have to face that will bring changes in my life. For instance, I have three books that I am currently editing for publication.

procrastination flowchartOne of them is the still unnamed book of poems that my Dad R Leonard Swanson when he was alive that I am adding memories that relate to those poems. Another is my book Simply Vegetable Gardening.

Dad’s book I have been procrastinating because I really don’t want to call his life’s work finished. Yesterday I was thinking about something that my Dad had told me about. I had some questions about it, but then I realized that I had no way of asking him because he is no longer with us. I have no doubt in my mind that this procrastination is my fear of letting go of him. Coupled with that is the fact that six weeks later, my eldest brother died. He was my first playmate. Finishing Dad’s book means saying good-bye. It also represents the idea that by having finished that chapter in my life brings me that much closer to “putting nails into my own coffin”. The fear of death keeps me stuck so that I am not finishing this project.

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Here’s the cover of my new book Simply Vegetable Gardening. What do you think?

My book Simply Vegetable Garden is my first nonfiction book and it is already a month later in publication than I had first intended for it to be. Part of the fear in that book is that I am afraid that no one will buy it. This is one fear that I am plunging through this week. By this weekend, I will have the Kindle version available online and will have the print version ready for review. The sales campaign to my friends and family will begin next week.

Another area that I have been procrastinating in is in finishing my class assignments for school. I am not saying that I am not getting them done on time, because I am. What I am saying is that I have been putting things off until the last minute and then rushing to finish on time. The fear behind this procrastination isn’t really about the school work at all. My fear is related to the fact that I am into my last four classes before I finish my degree. July 30th marks the completion of my last class. Once I finish my degree, I will be facing the challenge of transitioning from student to someone who needs to find meaningful work. I am afraid of this change, but if I intend to reach the goals that I am striving to reach, I must move forward. I must press on.

To combat the temptation to procrastinate because of the fears that I am facing, I must meet this temptation head on. To do this, beginning today, I am going to plow through these projects. Before looking at my e-mails or social media, before working on any other projects, I intend to work on each of these projects at least for fifteen minutes each.

Have you been procrastinating? Have you been putting things off because of some sort of fear? If you have, determine that you will stop procrastinating in those areas today. Do the projects that you have been procrastinating first rather than last. Break through the fear and see what victories lie beyond the veil of procrastination.

 

Why I think I Know Enough About Gardening to Write a Book About It

broccoliSince before the beginning of the year as you know, I have been working on a number of articles on Hubpages on the subject of gardening. In the process, I have been rewriting the information and adding additional topics in creating my book Simply Vegetable Gardening different from and more informative than anything that I have online.

You may wonder why I think that I know enough about gardening to write a book about it. Well, I started gardening, specifically organic gardening over 40 years ago when I was twelve years old in my parent’s backyard. I didn’t have much money to work with, so I learned to use what I had. I learned to use what many people would consider garbage, but that the earthworms and other subterranean flora and fauna considered food. I learned that a fancy compost bin wasn’t necessary. Bury household garbage in the ground and in less than a week, where there had been garbage now contained a large earthworm population. I graduated high school, joined the military, and after getting married and having my first son, I had another backyard garden, this time instead of the sandy loam of my mother’s backyard in Northwestern Pennsylvania, I was practically starting my garden on a beach on the Virginia coast. The soil was sand, no loam. I began adding household garbage to that garden as well. Because it was a warmer climate and the soil wasn’t that good, I made the garden smaller and by the time my tour of duty was completed, my garden soil looked fantastic. Next I moved to the Missouri Ozarks where I lived on a commune for several years. There I learned even more about organic gardening. I learned that it was possible to eat what I grew in the garden. While I lived there, I learned that what many people thought was true really wasn’t. Sawdust could be used as mulch in the garden without poisoning the soil. Sawdust just needs to be aged a couple of years before using. After leaving the commune, I lived on rental properties and at every different home, I built another small, organic garden on soil that I often joked would only grow rocks. Every time I left, I had to leave the soil I had created. I learned one thing from all this, mixing my household garbage in the form of compost into my soil worked magic on any soil. It didn’t matter if the garden was already loam, sand, clay or rocks. It didn’t matter. organic soil was the answer to improving any soil type.  In a sense, I had become a Johnny (or should I say Joannie?) Appleseed of organic gardens.

A few years ago, I was in nursing school and one day I was reading an old book by J. I. Rodale from the 1950s which he had written about organic gardening. At the same time, I was studying my anatomy and physiology book and studying about the human cell. Talk about an epiphany! Reading the information in tandem as I was, I discovered that many significant similarities existed between the human cell and the actions of a compost pile. What I realized was that just because we add nutrients to the soil, does not mean that those nutrients will be accessible by the plants in the area. Thinking of the processes of the earth as chemistry, was not accurate at all. As I compared the various organisms of the compost pile and the earth in general with the human body, I realized the synergy that occurs between the various organisms. One cell in the human body had a synergistic and interdependent connection with every other cell. In addition, in the earth, as in the human body a buffering system exists which creates homeostasis. A compost pile will start out acidic, but if allowed to mellow, will neutralize if given the proper elements with which to work. The processes of the earth are biological, not chemical. It is as though, just as the human body is made up of billions of individual cells, because of countless organisms on our planet all working together, earth is truly a living breathing organism.

Though I came upon that realization on my own, I am not alone in this perception nor was I the first to think this way. In 1978, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren came up with the word permaculture which stands for “permanent culture,” as it was seen that social aspects were integral to a truly sustainable system that included humans dealing with nature on its own terms. It is certainly how I see this relationship between the earth and her inhabitants. This idea was inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka’s natural farming philosophy. During the past few years I have also been studying the principles of this philosophy.

On This Date in History as It Relates to the American Revolution

On this Date in 1765, the Britain enacted Quartering Act, required colonists to provide temporary housing to British soldiers. This was a very significant event not only in history, but also in my book Soldiers Don’t Cry, The Locket Saga Continues. When Phillip returns to Boston as a British officer in 1774, he is quartered at the home of Peter Mayford, a Boston merchant. Phillip specifically positioned himself into that home because he wanted to rekindle a friendship with a young friend that he had met when he was a young orphan boy in the American backwoods. When he is reintroduced after many years to his friend, Elizabeth Thorton, also an orphan living with her sister’s family, he is smitten by her beauty. Little does he know, Elizabeth was spying for the organizers of the uprising that the British government had assigned him to subdue.

If you haven’t yet received your copy of Vegetable Gardening in the Shade, do so now by clicking on this link and receive a subscription to my newsletter Cygnet’s News as well. In this newsletter, you will be able to keep up with events that I will be attending, updates on my books, and articles that bring the conflict of the American Revolution to life as well as timely gardening tips from what to plant, how to plant it using organic methods, how to keep it growing and how to use it after harvest.

Spring Has Arrived!

Yesterday was the official first day of Spring here in the Northern Hemisphere at precisely 12:57 pm EDT . Did you know that for a few minutes around that moment, you can stand an egg on end? A few years ago a friend of mine and I tried it and sure enough it worked!

stand-eggs-on-endOf course, I can’t prove it to you today, yesterday was the vernal equinox, but check it out next year!

Most of the United States has experienced the hardest winter in decades and all of us are happy to see that date on the calendar. Many of us have looked at the prices of food in our local grocery store and the shock has made us look to our own backyards for relief in the form of a home vegetable garden. I am certain that the number of gardens will increase this year as food prices are expected to continue to rise. This is certainly a great time to pick up a hoe and start gardening.

This is one of the reasons that I have recently finished a pdf booklet Vegetable Gardening in the Shade and am currently working on a longer Kindle e-book and paperback called Simply Vegetable Gardening. The Kindle copy of Simply Vegetable Gardening will be out around April first and the paperback version will be out soon afterwards.

If you haven’t yet received your FREE copy of Vegetable Gardening in the Shade, do so now by clicking on this link and receive a FREE subscription to my newsletter Cygnet’s News as well. In this newsletter, you will be able to keep up with events that I will be attending, updates on my books, and articles that bring the conflict of the American Revolution to life as well as timely gardening tips from what to plant, how to plant it using organic methods, how to keep it growing and how to use it after harvest.

March 7: The Soldiers Cried, “Fie Fie!”

Here is a  scene from chapter 14 of my novel Soldier’s Don’t Cry of the oration on the 5th anniversary of the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1775. The heroine and patriot spy Elizabeth Thorton is in the balcony when this event unfolds. Elizabeth’s love interest British Army officer, Captain Phillip Randolph, is sitting in the front row with the other British Army officers.

Paul Revere's rendition of the Boston Massacre of March 5, 1770. Five years later at the oration described in this story, Paul Revere was in the audience. A little over a month later, shots would be fired on Lexington Green.

Paul Revere’s rendition of the Boston Massacre of March 5, 1770. Five years later at the oration described in this story, Paul Revere was in the audience. A little over a month later, shots would be fired on Lexington Green.

     As the time for the ceremony to start grew closer, the balcony filled until every seat in the place was full and people stood in the aisles. The main floor below continued to fill with spectators, and people began to sit on the floor in the aisles between the pews.

     Elizabeth did not see Dr. Warren, who was the keynote speaker for the event, anywhere on the main floor, and she wondered how he would manage to get through the crowd up to the pulpit.

     Elizabeth heard a thud outside the church at the front of the building. Then she saw the shape of a person outside the window behind the pulpit. It was Dr. Warren. She watched as Dr. Warren lifted the window and slid through it onto the stage. Apparently, the noise she had heard outside the church was a ladder that Dr. Warren had climbed so that he could come in through the window.

     Dr. Warren stood tall. He straightened his clothing and went to stand behind the pulpit. A hush came over the boisterous crowd as its gaze fell upon the doctor. Before he even uttered a word, his appearance spoke volumes to a crowd of Americans steeped in the virtues of ancient Rome. Dr. Warren wore a toga, the principal garment of a freeborn Roman male citizen. It consisted of a single piece of material of irregular form—long, broad and flowing. It had no sleeves or armholes and covered his entire body except for his right arm. He wore the toga without any fastening device, so he had to keep his left arm crooked to support the massive drapery.

     Elizabeth contrasted the toga to the stiff, tightly tailored coat, waistcoat and breeches of the British soldiers. The toga had no artifice, no false front, no deviant concealment; the only thing that separated the wearer’s body from his audience was his bent left arm. By wearing the garment, Dr. Warren thumbed a subtle nose of contempt at all that superficial finery with which corrupt Britain disguised its designs on American liberty and dignity. Warren was letting them know that he knew why they were at the ceremony, and he chose the garment specifically to antagonize them.

     A few of the officers who sat on the steps, Gerald among them, hissed as Dr. Warren straightened his toga and confidently looked at his notes, which someone had placed on the pulpit. He cleared his throat. He began by acknowledging the officers who sat stiffly in front of him in their heavy red wool coats. Dr. Warren then acknowledged his fellow patriots. Elizabeth was pleased to see that he would not be intimidated.

     As Warren spoke, Elizabeth saw that an officer sitting in the front row, who she knew to be Captain Chapman, was holding several pistol bullets in his open palm so that Dr. Warren could see them. True to the role of a great Roman hero, Dr. Warren calmly dropped a white handkerchief upon the officer’s hand and continued his oration. Cato had not done a better job when he took on the great and powerful Caesar. Virtue, in his lexicon, would always prevail over base power. Like the celebrated Roman politician, Dr. Warren was immune to the violent threats. Elizabeth was relieved when she did not hear him in any instance refer to the massacre as bloody.

     Warren began his speech with a historical account of America’s early settlement, in order to “determine with what degree of justice the late Parliament of Great Britain has assumed the power of giving away that property which the Americans have earned by their labor.” He gave the Whig interpretation of colonial history, portraying a Manichean worldview in which “the tools of power in every age” confronted the benign power of liberty, embodied in his case by the Puritan ancestors. Those Puritans, “determined to find a place in which they might enjoy their freedom,” exercised liberty in America through a charter obtained significantly from the British monarch rather than Parliament. They “cultivated and defended” the continent “at an infinite expense of toil and blood” and thus contributed vastly to the British Empire’s greatness. Their serene prosperity, however, awakened “the madness of an avaricious minister” and brought about “the attempt of the British Parliament to raise revenue from America.” These misfortunes “brought upon the stage discord, envy, hatred and revenge, with civil war close in their rear.”

     The speech, however, did not consist merely of a historical account of New England’s settlement. Warren provided a philosophical and ideological argument in defense of the colonists’ position. “Personal freedom is the natural right of every man,” he said, as was the right to hold “what he has honestly acquired by his own labor” and to “pursue that course which is the most conducive” to happiness. Hence, “no man, or body of men, can without being guilty of flagrant injustice, claim a right to dispose of the persons or acquisitions of any other man.” Warren continued with a celebration of the ancient Romans, who through self-effacing attitudes, “eminently conduced to the greatness of that state.”

     Dr. Warren stepped back from the pulpit. A thunderous applause followed. As the applause began to die down, Dr. Warren took his a seat and Samuel Adams rose from his deacon’s seat and took his place at the pulpit.

     “That was wonderful, Dr. Warren, simply wonderful,” he began. “I know that following an oration like the one Dr. Warren just gave would be difficult for anyone; however, I would like to know who would like to volunteer to speak at next year’s commemorative oration.”

     Everyone sat looking at one another, and no hands went up.

     “Come, come now, people; surely someone would like to give the oration at next year’s anniversary of that bloody massacre.”

     As soon as the words were out of his mouth, Samuel Adams realized what he had said. His face turned pale.

     The soldiers who sat at the front of the sanctuary began to call out “Fie! Fie!”

     Elizabeth saw Gerald put his hand on the hilt of his glittering sword, lifting it from its sheath. She knew that someone had to do something quickly, or else the leaders of the Patriots would be arrested or worse.

     “Fire,” she said aloud but under her breath.

     “There’s a fire! There’s a fire!” Jonathan called out.

     Members of the audience on the balcony joined Jonathan. Not realizing where the outcry originated, they began to panic and yell “Fire!” The audience on the main floor followed suit, and there was a mad, panicked rush toward the doors and stairs. Because not everyone could fit through the opened doors at exactly the same moment, in their rush to exit the building the crowd clogged the doors. The audience in the galleries, knowing that people on the main floor would reach the exit first, crowded out the windows and swarmed down gutters like rats in the street.

     Peter and the rest of the Mayford family remained quietly in their seats and watched the chaos around them. Men were yelling, women were screaming, and babies were crying. The soldiers who had been yelling “Fie!”, but now were thinking that a fire had started on the balcony, abandoned their attempt to arrest the Patriot leaders and forced their way toward the doors to reach what they believed was safety. The selectmen eased themselves out the window and down the ladder that Dr. Warren had so conveniently provided.

     Outside, as if on cue, the comedic melodrama unfolded further when Colonel Nesbit marched his troops past the Old South Church with his drummers and fifers playing loudly. Women screaming, children crying, men yelling, drummers drumming, fifers fifing, total mayhem broke out. No one was arresting anyone. The Patriot leaders escaped without harm.

     Within a few minutes, the crowd inside the church thinned and the Mayford family rose and followed the last of the crowd out of the building through the main door. As Elizabeth followed Rachel down the balcony stairs, she thought that despite the chaotic ending, the affair went off with remarkable behavior on both sides.

     As they came through the doors out into the sunshine, Phillip met them at the door. He immediately approached Elizabeth, looking worried. Elizabeth felt a twinge of guilt because she knew she was the one who had started the panic.

     “Thank God, you’re safe,” Phillip said to Elizabeth as they walked away from the building. A crowd stood looking at the old church and looking at one another, vocalizing their wonder about where the fire was.

     “I have something to say to you, young man,” said a short, fat, elderly woman with a cane who was bustling across the road to where Gerald and several other officers were standing. She did not blink an eye as she started shaking her cane at Gerald. Elizabeth did not know why the woman selected Gerald out of all the soldiers standing around, but the woman impressed her with her tenacity.

     “I would like to put a ring in your nose! This is the army’s fault, you know. You had no business interrupting our solemn occasion!”

     A younger woman came across the street and linked arms with the older woman. “Come along, Mother, we don’t need to make trouble where trouble does not need to be.”

     “I am not trying to make trouble. If anyone has tried to make trouble, it was the king’s army,” the old woman countered. The young woman led the old woman away from the church.

For Website SDC

Not Totally Fiction

Even though it is fictionalized, this is an adaptation of the actual incident on that fifth anniversary of the Boston Massacre. If you enjoyed this peek into Soldiers Don’t Cry, The Locket Saga Continues. It is available in Paperback or Kindle formats at Amazon.com.How did Elizabeth and Phillip become involved? Even more importantly, how  do they (or do they?) resolve their differences? Are they simply star-crossed lovers doomed to life apart?

As mentioned in previous posts, I am currently working on the second draft of A Coward’s Solace the third book in The Locket Saga.

In addition to the fiction, I am also working on my first nonfiction book Simply Vegetable Gardening. For a sneak peek at the type of material in that book check out my hubs on hubpages. This week I added two gardening hubs. (Links below)

Turnips, Parsnips and Rutabagas in the Garden

Grow your own Chinese Cabbage for Stir-Frying