June 16, 2017

...FEAR ITSELF:

In Search of Fear : Notes from a high-wire artist. (Philippe Petit, Lapham's Quarterly)

How to disrupt the body language of fear

Before my high-wire walk across the Seine to the second story of the Eiffel Tower, the seven-hundred-yard-long inclined cable looked so steep, the shadow of fear so real, I worried. Had there been an error in rigging calculations? No. I had just forgotten how high were my expectations, how mad I was to have conceived such a project. On the spot I vanquished my anxiety by imagining the best outcome: my victorious last step above a cheering crowd of 250,000.

If imagination does not work, turn to the physical side of things. Give yourself a time-limit ultimatum: start counting! Yes, choose a number--not too high--and when you hear footsteps on your porch at three am, unfreeze your trepidation by whispering to yourself, "At ten, I open the door! One, two, three, four..."

A clever tool in the arsenal to destroy fear: if a nightmare taps you on the shoulder, do not turn around immediately expecting to be scared. Pause and expect more, exaggerate. Be ready to be very afraid, to scream in terror. The more delirious your expectation, the safer you will be when you see that reality is much less horrifying than what you had envisioned. Now turn around. See? It was not that bad--and you're already smiling.

Posted by at June 16, 2017 3:31 PM

  

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