Relax and be at peace

Nothing important ever comes to you because you feel desperate to get it.
Go to peace first.
Everything you long for will meet you there.
Martha Beck*

When I read this message a few days ago, I realized that I had been doing a lot of either-or thinking and neither option was pleasing to me. One solution would make me too tired. The other wouldn’t provide enough money. Other options didn’t seem to fit my needs and wants. What to do?

I worried. I stressed. My blood pressure went up. Headaches prevailed. You know the routine. We’ve all been there.

Reading this quote caused my brain to shift gears. “I know that. Why haven’t I gone to peace before this? Blaming myself for what I had not done was useless. In fact, it added more stress to the situation. I must try a calmer way to reach a decision.

I  took a few deep breaths and sat quietly for a while until my racing heart became still. Then I whispered, “I choose to be at peace with this situation. The answer will come at the proper time. The situation will resolve itself for my highest good. Thank you.” Then I went about my business.

So far, I don’t have a decision, but a few ideas are edging into my awareness and suggesting I do some basic research. Best of all, I’m not stressing. I know that a solution will present itself at the appropriate time.

Spirit, I thank you for bringing this message when I needed it most. I’m grateful that your quiet assurance is available to each of us. All we have to do is ask. And, so it is.

  • Martha Beck’s Compass Points, April 5, 2018

Sharon Dillon, April 17, 2018

Continue reading “Relax and be at peace”


We can use fear for good

Thoughts to Ponder

January 31, 2017

“Fear is faith that it won’t work out.”

Sister Mary Tricky*

 “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself….”

Franklin D. Roosevelt**


Recently I wrote about life being stressful and the need to find relief by finding ways to relax and laugh. Since then I have become aware that stress is often a disguise for fear.

Fear tends to be sneaky and finds many ways to insert itself into our lives. One way it manifests in my life is that I say that I don’t like roller coasters because they upset my stomach.  What I really mean is that I am afraid I’ll vomit and humiliate myself. Gosh, so that’s why thrill rides are often called vomit comets. I also say I’m afraid that I’ll drop my cell phone, knowing that it would shatter into many pieces. What I really fear is that I will fall out and my body will shatter into pieces. That’s an unlikely scenario, but it is real to me.

Many people face their fear by riding the coaster and enjoying the adrenaline rush. Their anticipation of the rush is stronger than their fear. Think I’ll ever get there? Nah! Besides, my cardiologist would get mad at me.

I recall hearing that anger is the face of fear and know that is true. I’ve seen this happen in my life and I see it happening in the world around me. Some people face their fear by protesting. Others yell at the television. Still others have health failures because their bodies can’t handle the stress.

This became all too real to me recently. A couple weeks ago I had a scary dream that caused my body to tremor for several hours until I spoke with a trusted advisor. That person led me in a meditation that showed me I was fighting Fear with a capitol F that is a part of me. I have to accept that, but I don’t have to live by Fear’s rules. That exercise lowered Fear’s impact to a lower case f on an important portion of my life and gave me freedom to try certain things that I’d been delaying for fear of failure.

However, over the past several days I’d noticed that my body was rebelling, a pain here, an ache there, and so on. I tried relaxation and physical exercise to no avail. Finally, I felt prompted to calm myself and just let my thoughts guide me. Those thoughts reminded me that this fear had a different cause and that sometimes it gives us pain to keep us stuck in a dark personal space, that place where fear controls us.

Then my thoughts (guides) gave me the realization that I have a platform for sharing this information and that I should use it because many others besides me are living in the same fear. They think it their bodies are failing, but they aren’t. Their bodies are simply holding the fear that is preventing us from moving forward. They think they are angry, but they are afraid their world is crumbling around them. We can’t stop those people whose actions distress us from doing what they are determined to do, but we can lessen their impact by not concentrating on the “what if” aspect of what we see.

I’m not going to be ingenuous and say that I no longer have fear. I don’t want to be fear-free. After all, fear is what keeps me from stepping in front of a fast moving vehicle. Instead, I asked fear to take its proper place in my life, keeping me safe when necessary while allowing me to move forward in other areas, such as writing this short essay.

For those who aren’t sure that angels/guides can teach us:

“The answers will always be discovered when we connect to Mother Earth.”

A Window of Wisdom***

We do this by sitting on the ground and feeling the Earth’s energy. If we’re not as agile as we used to be, we can sit outside in a lawn chair with our bare feet touching the ground. As we relax, we can feel our stress drain into the soil. If we leave our feet there a bit longer, we can feel regenerating energy flowing back up our feet and legs.


Thank you for giving us the gift of fear and showing us how we can use it for our protection without allowing it to dominate our lives and prevent us from doing the job we are on Earth to do. Thank you for making us aware that we can use fear for reasonable protection rather than a barrier to prevent us from being who we are meant to be.

 And, so it is.

* Andrews, Robert, The New Penguin Dictionary of Modern Quotations, page 480. Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933 (also used in other FDR addresses and by other world leaders)

**Warner, Carolyn, Treasury of Women’s Quotations, page 114, Prentiss Hall

***Window 1397-Step Outside,

Sharon D. Dillon,,

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of Echoes of Your Choices, a motivational book, and one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by Available in print and e-format at

We will survive

Thoughts to Ponder

 “Years ago fairy tales all began with ‘Once upon a time…’

–now we know they all begin with, ‘If I am elected.’”

Carolyn Warner*

We’ve recently ended another presidential election season, the most contentious in my memory. That’s not to say it has been the worst in U.S. history. There was a lot of name calling leading to states seceding from the Union in 1860 when Abraham Lincoln was the candidate of the newly formed Republican party. Recently I was listening to “The Thomas Jefferson Hour” on NPR and heard an interesting story.

The election of 1800 was a three-way race among Jefferson, John Adams seeking re-election and Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton started a rumor that Jefferson had died. Communications being what they were at that time, Jefferson first heard of this several weeks later when he received a letter from a friend. He immediately sat down and wrote letters to several people telling them that he was, indeed, still alive and still a candidate. Those letters also took several weeks to find their recipients. But they had the desired effect. As a result Jefferson was elected to be our country’s third president.

So, should we be surprised at the recent political shenanigans we just witnessed? I’d guess not. The difference is that we now live in a 24-hour news cycle with information coming from many sources. As the election drew near I found myself becoming irritable with my great-grandsons who were just being their age. I was cranky at work. Each newspaper article I read or news program I watched made the situation worse. The vitriolic words spewed by both candidates and their supporters kept my insides in a twist. Yet, I felt compelled to stay informed, though I limited my exposure.

To do otherwise would be detrimental to my health, so I made a decision to take steps to improve my mental outlook. About a week before the election I began to pray to accept the outcome whatever it might be. On election day I went to the polls early and immediately felt a slight easing in my distress knowing that I had done my part in making this momentous choice. That evening I periodically checked election news to learn what was happening, then went to bed at my usual time. The next morning I clicked on the television long enough to learn who had been elected. I asked God to guide Mr. Trump as he assumed his new duties. These small steps eased my distress significantly.

Healing came Thursday evening when I attended a 4th grade Veteran’s Day program at my oldest great-grandson’s school. The children were decked out in patriotic vests and presented a program of U.S. history and patriotic songs. Each child had made a list of relatives who had served in the military. Those names covered an entire wall of the gym. At one point in the program each service’s song was played and audience members who had served in that particular branch stood to roaring applause. Then we were treated to a slide show of photos of many of those relatives in their uniforms. The program concluded with the audience standing as one child’s grandfather sang “God Bless the USA.” I was not the only person wiping tears of joy from my eyes.

As I write this, I’m crying, but my tears are healing months of distress and worry. I’m still nervous, but for my own sanity I must trust that we can survive this election and continue to grow as a nation. I trust that this will continue to be our legacy.

Spirit: Most of us have lived the past several months in pain and distress. You have shown us that the human race has survived worse and continues to thrive. Each of us, no matter who we are or where we live, has the ability to change the world just a little bit for the better. Please keep reminding us of that responsibility and privilege. And, so it is.

*Warner, Carolyn, Treasury of Women’s Quotations, 1992, Prentice Hall, page 239

© by Sharon D. Dillon, November 12, 2016

Sharon D. Dillon,, “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy” Author of Echoes of your Choices, 2016, available as a paperback or e-book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online sites.

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Voices of Williamsburg Toastmasters Club.

Fear or safety, it’s up to you

Thoughts to Ponder

 “Protection comes from never choosing to believe you need any.”

Mutant Message from Forever*

Fear is one of our most powerful emotions. It protects us, but can also prevent us from exploring the world. We want to protect our children so teach them to be afraid of many life experiences.  Our lessons are valuable and well intentioned. Perhaps we’re a bit too protective at times.

Other times we overreact to scary situations. One adult acquaintance is terrified of dogs because a large, black dog bit her when she was four. No amount of calm discussion and comparisons that “This isn’t the dog that bit you; He’s brown not black; He’s small not big;” could convince her that it was safe to be near any canine.

Currently many of us fear the results of our upcoming presidential election. If this candidate wins, our country will go to hell in a hand-basket. If that candidate wins, our country will go to hell in a hand-basket. Our protection is to be informed, vote our choice and know that our country has solutions built into our founding documents. The Constitution gives us the power to remove incompetent or overreaching officials. It is a complicated, lengthy procedure designed to ensure that we, the voters, act thoughtfully and deliberately rather than in the anger or fear of the moment.

How do we know if we are acting purposefully? In the same book Morgan says,

“Observe yourself. It is perfectly all right to feel uncomfortable, just don’t deny or hide how you feel. From this we learn people can have differences and each is right for his or her own path. If you can’t honor your own feelings, it would be impossible to honor those of another.”

The biggest fear we all have to overcome is our fear of other human beings. A reasonable fear to be sure. Daily we hear of terrible crimes being committed. The perpetrator has what seems to be a valid reason for the action. Possibly that is to obtain a desired object or revenge, possibly to satisfy a religious tenet or political belief. The reasons are endless, and make perfect sense to the person whose behavior we observe.

There are a lot of ways to acknowledge and overcome concerns and fears. One way is to set our intention each day to be safe and protected. We can be alert to our surroundings. We can watch fewer scary movies. We can filter what we hear on the news to retain only the facts we need to know, rather than the fearful voice of the announcer. We can take reasonable precautions.

Years ago I worked in an office building situated in a run-down neighborhood. That location choice was made to encourage businesses to move to the area and to stimulate a community atmosphere. Some of my co-workers would not leave the building except to walk to and from their cars. A few of us would go for walks, alone or together, during our lunch breaks, shop in nearby stores, and generally act as if we worked in a more prosperous neighborhood. When questioned about my supposedly risky behavior I responded that I took reasonable precautions. I wore walking shoes, not high heels, so I could run if necessary. I wore pants or loose skirts, rather than tight skirts that would inhibit my stride. I carried a few dollars in my pocket instead of a purse that might tempt a thief. And I walked with a purpose, observing my surroundings rather than acting timid.

Those are simple solutions to one potentially frightening situation. We can face anything that comes our way if we choose to observe and face it with confidence.

Spirit: Thank you for giving us the ability to reason and made good decisions for ourselves and our loved ones. We know that by using that ability we can go through life with much less fear than we might otherwise do. We are also grateful for angelic protection. And, so it is.

* Morgan, Marlo, 1999, Mutant Message from Forever, page 249

** ibid, page 246

© by Sharon D. Dillon, October 20, 2016

Sharon D. Dillon,, “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy” Author of Echoes of your Choices, 2016, available as a paperback or e-book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online sites.

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Voices of Williamsburg Toastmasters Club.

Missing – beautiful vixen

As Joe sat reading the newspaper he opened it to the classified section. There in large print was a concisely written notice.

“Missing – beautiful vixen with long, silky red hair.
Likes to disguise her sly personality with a come-hither smile.
Call 555-1212 if you see her.”

Joe was in shock. The ad must be talking about Susan, his new girlfriend. She had appeared out of nowhere. She had beautiful, long red, wavy tresses that flowed nearly to her waist. Her dazzling smile made men fall instantly in love with her. She was tall with an athletic build and ran five miles every morning, returning to their apartment glistening with perspiration, but breathing evenly and easily. She loved to eat steak, but sadly did not know how to cook. That left Joe picking up the tab for frequent meals at high-cost steak houses. He didn’t mind that, but sadly, Joe was learning the hard way that beneath her lovely exterior lurked a prickly personality that quickly shifted to explosive anger. Joe had been thinking, trying to find a way to break-up with Susan that wouldn’t make her anger flare in a frightening way.

Here was the answer! She was missing. Perhaps she had a form of amnesia. That would explain her reluctance to talk about her family. It would also account for her underlying anger. Fear and loss can do that to a person. Joe could return Susan to her family, knowing she would be safe. This kind act would also give him some breathing room from her mercurial personality. If she recovered they could resume their relationship in a calmer manner. Those thoughts filled Joe with hope.

Confidently, Joe walked to the counter, picked up his phone and dialed 555-1212. Imagine his surprise when the voice at the other end said, “County Zoo. May I help you?”

© by Sharon D. Dillon, October 30, 2015

Sharon D. Dillon,, “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy”

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of “Twins! Oh no!,” one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by Available in print and e-format at

Nine minutes a day

Thoughts to Ponder – October 2, 2015

“Procrastination always delivers stress and disappointment…

so what are you waiting for…

do it now.”

Window of Wisdom*


Life goes in cycles. Sometimes I’m focused on writing, then on housework and other times on yard work. Right now my focus is on the many inches of rain saturating this area, creating flood zones and leaving our trees and homes vulnerable to the forces of Hurricane Joaquin that will be arriving in the next couple days. My question is how do we keep up with all our activities at once?

Some people seem to be able to juggle many balls at once. I struggle to keep one in the air at any given time. I have a million excuses for procrastinating. I’m —

tired after working all day,

choosing to spend time with the great-grandsons,

wanting to write or finish a project,

and so on.

The list is endless. As a result I tend to feel like I’m not accomplishing anything important, like blogging on a regular basis.

Last year I had some health issues, nothing terrible, mostly annoying, but I just didn’t feel up to home tasks. Work took all my energy. Now my health is good again, yet I was feeling overwhelmed by all that needed done. Recently I traveled to Niagara Falls and surrounding area with Road Scholar. The trip was fantastic. When I arrived home with a huge pile of paperwork, souvenirs and dirty laundry to add to the rest of the piles, my mind switched gears. I must organize. Now.

I spent part of one day just getting the vacation mess in order. The next day I spent several hours sorting my writing cabinet by “Things I’ve written,” “Quotes and ideas,” and “How to.” I had been tossing everything into any drawer just to get it off my work table. After that I was able to slow down a bit. Now I’m focusing on one small task at a time.

A few years ago a wise woman told me to tackle tasks in nine minute increments. She said nine minutes is enough to sort one drawer. Nine minutes each day would get my house organized in no time. That works for most things, but not my writing cabinet. But, once I managed that task, I’ve been able to tackle one small task at a time. Yesterday, I picked up a small pile that had been hiding in a corner and found it to be last year’s Christmas cards. Less than nine minutes took care of sorting them into cards to toss and cards from loved ones to keep.

Much of my time yesterday was spent moving plants and other items into my house and shed to protect them from the weather, shopping for nylon cord, water and batteries and tying down large items. Even with that huge task and working a short shift, I was able to sort the Christmas cards. My friend was right. Nine minutes was enough to take another step toward my end goal of having an organized home and to feel good that I accomplished something useful.

I still have a lot of small piles. Most of what’s in them can probably be filed in the recycling bin. Now I know they are manageable. Nine minutes a day really does save the stress level.


Thank you for showing me that I can accomplish more than I thought in just a few minutes a day. I still have much to sort and other tasks to tackle, yet it now seems manageable. Also, I ask that you protect all areas potentially affected by this storm. I know that fear draws disaster, so I ask that you ease the fears of all who are located in the storm’s path. Please show everyone what steps to take to prepare or evacuate as needed.

And, so it is.

* “A Window of Wisdom, #907, September 27, 2015

© by Sharon D. Dillon, October 2, 2015

Sharon D. Dillon,, “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy”

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of “Twins! Oh no!,” one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by Available in print and e-format at

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

Thoughts to Ponder – August 16, 2015

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature.”

Helen Keller*

I’ve heard this quote many times over the years and thought I was living by its truth. However, I’ve come to realize that even though I’ve done many things that were unthinkable to others, I undertook many of those adventures because I was afraid of the alternative. This came to my attention recently and was reinforced the next morning in an email exchange with one of my role models.

A few days ago some friends and I were talking about why our fondest wishes don’t come true. We talked about trust, hope, determination and more. Our conclusion was that we block our wishes with fear:

– fear it won’t happen,

– fear of what will happen if the wish does not come true,

– and fear of what will happen if the wish does come true.

We may not call it fear but use words like anxious, nervous, concerned, yet the feeling is still fear to a greater or lesser degree. If we live in fear, our fears will come true. For example, if we’re afraid we’ll get a horrible disease, we will. If we fear that our boss won’t give us the raise we deserve, she won’t. If we fear our love will be unfaithful, he will. The same is true of the world at large. If we fear something bad will happen, ie., famine, war, disease, it will.

The next morning I was having an e-mail conversation with my friend and bemoaning my lack of progress. She said, “Often I observe what others are doing, and think I’m just standing still. . . . But I plod along with purpose as you do, too.”

Suddenly, I realized that I have not been plodding along with purpose, but progressing in fits and starts. In between I’ve been living in fear, much less recently than in the past, but still with a certain amount of anxiety.

A few days ago co-worker asked me to swap a shift with him. I said “NO! NO! NO!” and meant it with every fiber of my being. The next morning I realized why I was so adamant about refusing to trade shifts with my co-worker. I had just been to his work station and witnessed a scary (to me) event that is unlikely to ever happen again. I did not have a valid reason to be afraid. Conclusion, I told him that I’ll trade with him.

The other side of fear is courage to take life one step at a time. Each day is a daring adventure if we face it without fear. We don’t have to envision what life will be like when . . . .  We just need to take life as it comes and be willing to try things we’ve never tried before. Wonderful experiences will grace our lives, perhaps even more than we had hoped.


Thank you for this reminder that we do not need to live in fear, or even concern. We know that all will work out for our highest good if we trust that it will be so.

And, so it is.

* Treasury of Women’s Quotations, page 185, Carolyn Warner, Prentice Hall

© by Sharon D. Dillon, August 16, 2015

Sharon D. Dillon,, “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy”

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of “Twins! Oh no!,” one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by Available in print and e-format at

Decide or not

Thoughts to Ponder – June 4, 2015

“If we have to seek approval from others to accept

our own choices, then we already made the wrong choice.”
Window of Wisdom*

A few days ago I wrote about accepting, or not, another’s behavior and fretting about what they are doing. Today I’m going to approach the same topic from a different angle – our own.

We know instinctively what is best for us, so why do we seek another’s advice before taking action? Perhaps it is the way we were raised or our decisions were devalued as adults. Possibly we were told so many times that we couldn’t make a decision if our lives depended upon it, that we came to believe it. How we arrived at this dependent behavior doesn’t matter. What matters is what we choose to do about it.

Do we continue relying on our friends and relatives to advise our decisions, or do we just jump in, make a decision and live with the results? If we jump in it is most likely that our decision will be confirmed in any number of ways.

I must admit that after many years of learning to make my own choices I started to slip back into indecision. A situation arose that had me stuck. I knew what to do, but I feared the feedback. This lack of confidence made me question my ability to decide. My indecision lead me to write a rambling email to a friend asking for advice. Just as I prepared to send the email my computer froze and the email was lost.  Losing that email made me realize that:

– the decision was mine and only mine, and that

– I had no business asking my friend to become involved in my problem.

I wrote my friend another email saying that I had a difficult decision to make and would tell him what I planned when I made it. After sleeping on the problem, I still feared the responses I might receive, but took the necessary action and began to breathe easier. Imagine my surprise when I received emails from several people saying that they approved my choice.

I am grateful for this gentle reminder that I need to make my own decisions.  Practicing small decisions gives me the confidence to make the right choice when the stakes are much larger, as they can be as we age. I find that there are times to rely on my daughters. Other situations don’t require their advice. If I lean on them too much, they may begin to worry that I am losing my capacity to make good decisions.

And, so it is.

© by Sharon D. Dillon, June 4, 2015

* Window 787, by

Sharon D. Dillon,, “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy”

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of “Twins! Oh no!,” one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by Available in print and e-format at

Fearful or Peaceful

“Don’t fight fearful thoughts.

Just match each one with an alternative thought

that brings you more peace.”

Martha Beck

We all have fearful thoughts. What if I lose my job? Is that spot on my arm cancerous? If I die, what will happen to my family? What will I do if my loved one leaves? Those questions and so many more fill our waking hours and nag us in our dreams.

Martha Beck says to match each fearful thought with one that brings peace. That sounds too easy to be useful. Even so, let’s think about what she says and see how it works by going through our questions one at a time.

What if I lose my job?
I have a job today and my family is fed. Deep breath. Relax your face, jaw and neck muscles.

Is that spot on my arm cancerous?
I’ll call the dermatologist for an appointment. She’ll analyze it and offer a solution. Skin cancer is not fatal unless neglected and I’m taking action. Deep breath. Relax your shoulders, arms and hands.

The bank called and they want to talk to me. Yikes! What’s up? Checking account empty?
Perhaps they just want to sell me a Certificate of Deposit. Deep breath. Relax your torso.

What if my loved one leaves?
I’ll feel sad but I won’t die. Deep breath. Relax your lower extremities.

Now we are relaxed head to toe and can think clearly.

This seems like a rather simplistic look at life, but I it works. I’ve had, and still occasionally have, my brain and body in knots over both small and large events. However, once I decide to jump off the panic merry-go-round, take a few deep breaths and look at my situation with open eyes, I see small actions I can take. By making one decision then another I soon find myself in a new, better situation.

Mike Dooley said the same thing with different words:
“When a thing hurts your eyes, stop looking at it.
When it hurts your ears, stop listening to it.
And when it hurts your heart, stop justifying it.”

© by Sharon D. Dillon, February 15, 2015

If you know someone who would appreciate reading “Thoughts to Ponder,” or my humor posts, please suggest that he or she contact me at:

Sharon D. Dillon,, “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy”

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists, author of one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by Available in print and e-format at

Fear or courage

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face . . . You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”
Eleanor Roosevelt


We all have fears, even those of us who think we are fearless. Some of us are afraid of spiders, flying or loud noises. Or we fear the dark, being alone or making a mistake. Each day, no matter how we try to plan our lives so we don’t encounter our fears, we face them anyway.

Many times our fears protect us from danger. We know that if we go swimming during a hurricane we will drown. If we play golf in thunder storm we have a good chance of being struck by lightning. Those fears are based on fact and have been proven many times. So our reactions to these events aren’t fear, but acting on knowledge, or what our parents called common sense.

Our worst fears are those involving the people who are closest to us. How do we know if he/she is our own true love? How will I feed my family if I lose my job? Am I a good parent? Will I ever follow my dream, or is this all there is? How do I tell my loved one that he/she needs professional help? What will happen if I become so disabled my family takes away my car keys? The list goes on and on. We all know the litany because we go through it almost daily, or even many times a day.

Often we allow our fears to control our lives by avoiding confrontations, high places or anything else that intimidates us. Usually our fears are based on previous experiences, especially fears of speaking up or challenging another’s statements. By avoiding these situations we live limited lives. It is only by standing up for our beliefs that we become the people we were meant to be. We were not put on this Earth to cower but to live fully.

In the quote at the top of this page Mrs. Roosevelt stated so clearly why we must face our fears. Only by doing “the thing which you think you cannot do,” can we grow to be better people than we were yesterday. Sometimes we have to face a situation many times before we can resolve it confidently.

Facing fear is like taking our turn at bat in a baseball game. Initially we learn that we don’t need to duck when we see the ball coming toward us. Then we get brave enough to swing the bat and feel warm inside. Then we hit the ball but it doesn’t go far, and we think we might learn how to play the game after all. Slowly we learn how to take a stance, hold the bat and swing. Finally, one day we step up to the plate, take a mighty swing and hit a home run. We did it!

As we become more confident in our own abilities, whether at home plate, in our families or on the job, so do others. We find that we are earning respect. Our friends ask for and listen to our advice when previously we asked them what to do. Doing what needs to be done makes us better people, someone we are proud to be. Learning to be the best we can be is why we were put on this earth.


Creator spirit,
Thank you for teaching us that we learn by doing. Each attempt at a new skill gives us more confidence to do that thing and do it well. Facing fear is just another new skill we need to learn. Confidence doesn’t come easily. We have to learn and earn it. We thank you for presenting opportunities to help us grow into the people you want us to be. We thank you for the warm feeling you give us each time we learn a new skill, whether mechanical or psychological.
And so it is.

If you know someone who would appreciate reading “Thoughts to Ponder,” please suggest that he or she contact me at:

Sharon D. Dillon,,
Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists
Author of one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by Available in print and e-format at

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