Pinch of Fear

At more than a century old, my Grandma passed away.

She was a big fan of the spice, nutmeg.

She would put nutmeg in pumpkin pie. She would put nutmeg with apples. She would make some type of nutmeg and milk pie. She would put nutmeg in her favourite Belgian meatballs. Sweet or savoury, nutmeg had a role to play in her kitchen.

She had ground nutmeg always near the front of the spice cupboard. She even had nutmeg nuts and a grinder for freshly ground nutmeg.

I find that nutmeg is a tricky spice because it is so distinctive. A bit of nutmeg can make a recipe fantastic. A bit too much nutmeg can destroy a recipe.

And I’m talking tiny amounts. I mean, 1/8th of a teaspoon can turn an apple or pumpkin recipe into a masterpiece. And 1/4 of a teaspoon can ruin it.

Fear is like nutmeg.

Fear is tricky. It’s an unpleasant emotion and it is a draining one.

But it’s not bad.

A bit of fear - a 1/8th of a teaspoon - can make life richer.

A bit too much fear - a 1/4 teaspoon - can ruin it.

Here’s what I mean. Life is constantly shadowed by the fear of loss. Big loss, small loss, life is always poised, ready to seemingly “take something away from you”.

You might have a big tree in front of your house that the wind could blow down any day. You might fear that your car or lawnmower will crap out again. You might dread that summer turns into winter. You might be afraid that gas prices keep you from travelling or visiting family. You might fear losing your job. You might fear losing your loved ones - your spouse, kids, parents, etc. You might fear losing your health or fitness. You might fear aging. You might fear losing your own life.

These fears are reasonable. Don’t let yourself or anyone else tell you that they’re not. Loss is 100% guaranteed in life. Fear isn’t something to be banished; however it is something that must be regulated.

A bit of fear of loss - just a bit - makes life richer. If I fear losing my old horse, I’ll cherish those moments where she looks at me with her big brown eyes. If I fear summer slipping away in a flash, I’ll soak up the sunshine and pause to smell the rain on freshly mowed grass. If I fear losing my loved ones, I’m going to take time to be with them, listen to them, love them, hug them, and laugh with them.

A pinch of fear isn’t a bad thing.

But too much fear - even just a bit too much - steals the richness from life.

Fear can suck the energy right out of you. Fear can paralyze you and make you paranoid, doubtful, questioning, and anxious. Fear can occupy all the places where joy could live, and it can drown out all gratitude. If I fear too much the passing of my old horse, I might miss those moments, trying to fix her. If I have too much fear about the quick passing of summer, I’ll be anxious and overwhelmed the whole time and ruin all the fun experiences I could have. If I fear too much the passing of my loved ones, it’ll steal and darken all the beautiful moments I could share with them.

I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes it’s hard to be grateful, because I can be so scared of losing what matters most to me, with the feeling of “waiting for the other shoe to drop”.

An avoidance of gratitude doesn’t keep you from losing the things that matter to you. It just steals your time to cherish them. Like I said, loss is guaranteed. But in order to LOSE you must first HAVE. And the small pinch of fear tells you exactly what you must be most grateful for.

What are you afraid of losing?

Is it just a bit of fear; or is it just a bit too much fear? Does your fear of loss make you more grateful, or less?

Here’s to Conquering Stress,

The Stress Experts

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