F.E.A.R. False Evidence Appearing Real. That’s a helpful tool at times, when our minds take us to scary places.
Stories can be great illuminators too. Here’s a lovely one to illustrate how our thoughts can affect our everyday lives. And I do mean every day. You may have heard it before. This version is from Philippa Perry. I like Philippa, not least because she’s married to Grayson. It’s from her book How to Stay Sane, a pocket-sized jewel.
The Jack Story
The deserts of America are lonely places; miles can go by without any other cars or a single house. In one of these wildernesses a driver heard his tyre blow. He was more annoyed than worried, knowing that he kept a spare tyre and a jack in his car boot. Then he remembered; he got the jack out last week and forgot to put it back. He had no jack. But things could be worse, because he passed a garage about three miles back. As he started walking, he talked to himself: ‘There aren’t any other garages around here. I’m at the garage man’s mercy. He could really rip me off just for lending me a jack. He could charge me what he wanted. He could charge $50. There is nothing I could do about it. Goddamn, he could even charge $150. People are terrible to take advantage of others like that. Hell, what bastards people are.’ He continued absentmindedly telling himself this story until he got to the garage. The attendant came out and said in a friendly way “How can I help you?” and the traveller said “You can take your damned jack and you can stuff it.’
We all carry personal versions of this story with us. The trick is to recognise them when they rear their heads. If we did, the world we experience could be a very different place.