Fear and Loathing in New York

“We must eradicate from the soul all fear and terror of what comes towards us out of the future. We must acquire serenity in all feelings and sensibilities concerning the future. We must look forward with absolute equanimity to all that may come, and we must think only that whatever comes is given to us by a world direction full of wisdom.
-Rudolf Steiner

Noble thoughts. But easy to achieve? Oh yeah, nothing Steiner talked about is easy to achieve, I forgot.

I have found that it is a constant struggle not to be fearful as a parent. Between the specters of illness, traumatic injury and lifetimes of therapy caused by inept parenting, I am this close to an asthma attack at any moment.

I wonder how much of that has to do with the media in our culture. I haven’t watched broadcast or cable television in about 5 years except for small doses in relatives’ houses. When I do watch, I am struck by the perpetual violence in much of the programming. It seems that what is most popular today is the cop show, but these are not like Hill Street Blues from my childhood. These are shows about serial killers, shows that depict detailed forensics including photos of crime victims (somehow more disturbing than the corpses on Six Feet Under), and shows that include violence involving children.

I still cannot understand why this is entertaining to so many people. I understand the concept of an adrenaline rush from something scary or suspenseful, but to willfully, constantly expose yourself to this kind of extreme violence? Not fun for me.

My family is lucky to live where it is relatively safe for the kids to play freely. We are in a suburban, almost rural location where many of our neighbors are parenting out of trust for their children. Meaning, it’s normal for a bunch of kids to be running around in our yard and even in the forest nearby often with little supervision (grade school kids I mean.) The parents seem to trust that their kids will be OK, and many of them consciously cultivate in their children a concern and awareness of the others so that they keep each other safe.

I am trying to learn that kids will get hurt and it’s OK. Kids get sick and it’s OK. They have angels watching over them and destinies to fulfill. I am trying to believe that my effort to parent appropriately will bear fruit even if I often don’t succeed. I am trying to foster equanimity in my soul by working with my own soul life and emotional history, so that I can work with my children with kindness and compassion.

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