Day 650: Today’s fears (and safety and dreams)

I fear I’m going to start this post by checking how many times I’ve used “fear” in previous blog titles.

Anybody brave enough to guess that number?

The number is  …..









Sixteen.  (And those posts are here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, herehere, and here).

Does anybody here fear numbers?

My 16-year-old son (who does not read this blog, these days) does NOT fear numbers, as illustrated by this story when he was three (almost four) years old (from NoteBookLand):

Aaron’s pre-school teacher, Alyssa, said that when the kids at school were asked what they were thankful for, some said, “my parents,” or “my toys,” or “my house,” or “my kitty.” Aaron said, “I’m thankful for numbers, because I can count with them.”

When I was looking for that early Aaron story, I found this much earlier one, which I do not fear to share with you, here:

Aaron and Dada were telling stories at bedtime. Aaron told a story where Aaron was having a dream about a dinosaur and his Dada told him that dinosaurs really weren’t there. Then Aaron told another story about a dinosaur who was having a dream about Aaron and who woke up scared from his dream, and the Daddy Dinosaur told the dinosaur to not be afraid, because no Aarons were really there.


As a psychotherapist, I often encourage people (especially those who have encountered frightening things in their lives) to think about how safe they are, in the moment. People — when they take a breath and observe all the realities of their senses —  often find that the present moment is actually safer than they are thinking and feeling.

I fear it is sometimes difficult to take one’s own advice.  That is, I have been fearing some not-really-dangerous things lately, including:

  • running out of storage space,
  • machines breaking,
  • losing things,
  • interpersonal miscommunication, and
  • making mistakes.

Also, I fear, I have NOT been scared of some news-worthy dangers, including:

  • Ebola (and other diseases),
  • financial scams, and
  • murderous people.

I fear that sort of thing happens, when I stop listening to the news. (When I stop listening to the news, I definitely feel safer.)


If you fear generalizations about human beings, beware of the next sentence.

Being vigilant about danger can help us survive, so it makes sense for our minds to be fear-focused (although we might get confused about what we should be fearing, which can be scary).


This time of the year, there’s plenty to fear, all around:

IMG_0640 IMG_0641 IMG_0660 IMG_0661 IMG_0663 IMG_0664 IMG_0672 IMG_0675 IMG_0677 IMG_0671 IMG_0680 IMG_0684 IMG_0685

Do any of those things scare you?  Do any of them help you feel safer?

If any of them did scare you, what else might help you feel safer, in the moment?

For me, music always helps.

(“Not While I’m Around” from Stephen Sondheim‘s Sweeney Todd, sung by Barbra Streisand, found here on YouTube.)

Here’s a live version of that song, by Jamie Cullum:


Last night, I had a dream. Do you fear dreams? I do not fear other people’s dreams; indeed, I welcome them into individual and group therapy. However, I may fear my own dreams (which may be why I sometimes fear going to sleep).

My dream last night was not scary, although there was a moment in the dream where I was afraid of something.

I fear I am not being clear or detailed enough, right now, about my dream. Here it is:

I was outside, talking to people who were standing and walking around in some sort of public gathering place. At times, I was having conversations with individuals — some of whom seemed to be in charge of things. At other times, I would address many people at the same time, as though I was imparting some wisdom.  At one point, I had a revelation. I thought, “in order to help bring about helpful growth in people and in society, I just need to make very small changes, like these:  (1) changing one letter in certain words and (2) increasing numbers I use, just by making them one larger. That’s all I need to do and … I can do that!” As I had this epiphany, I could see things very clearly and I heard a person standing near me describe their own sense of deja vu. I thought, “This is all telling me that I am having a true and helpful thought.”  I felt happy, safe, and joyful.

Then, I had my moment of doubt and fear, as I thought: “If I tell people this, will they think I am too self-important? Will they think I am delusional?”

When I woke up after that dream, I felt good. I wasn’t sure I was going share that dream with anyone but, I suppose, I am now telling it — in a way — to the world.

As I was writing the dream down for this post, here were my associations to that dream:

  • I work with people individually and in groups. That was happening in the dream.
  • When I act like an expert, I fear that I will be seen as wrong and/or as seeing myself as too important. That was happening in the dream.
  • I do believe that creating small changes can lead to bigger and important change. That was happening in the dream.
  • In my work, I invite people to tell their stories differently, as a way of creating more self-esteem and moving towards life goals. That is my association to changing one letter in a word, in the dream.
  • In my blog, I increase the number in the title by one, every day.

Those are my associations with that dream. When I work in therapy with other people’s dreams, I ask this question:

If that were your dream, what might it mean?

I hope you feel safe enough here to respond to that question, or to share any dreams of your own.

Here is ONE MORE three-year-old Aaron story, about change:

Aaron, Mama, and Dada were driving by a restaurant which was all boarded up with wood. When they were talking about how the restaurant was being changed, Aaron said, “Yes, that restaurant is changing. It’s changing into a …. tree!”

Is there any fear about how I might end this post? The endings, here, are almost always gratitude.

Thanks to everybody who helped make this post possible and to you — of course! — for any fears, safety, or anything in-between, that you bring here today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

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30 thoughts on “Day 650: Today’s fears (and safety and dreams)

  1. Fears that I share are news-based, too, as you listed, Ann, and life-based, too, such as the health and security of family members … friends … job.

    Halloween-type fears, though, not so much for me, although I don’t like Zombie films so much, I have discovered the hard way.

    Please keep giving us Aaron tales from Storybookland, so I guess you need to address that storage space fear in some manner, my friend.

    • Thanks for sharing your fears and not-so-much fears here today, Mark. Regarding that one I can address directly:


      I just took that low-resolution photo (which takes up a lot less space here) of the low-cost storage device I bought last night (at the same place where I took the low-resolution photo of the “Goats in Trees” and “Cow Yoga” 2105 calendars). I hope that puts that fear to rest, my friend, at least for the short term.

  2. I’m quite keen on the 2015 Goats in a Trees calendar. Looks a real winner. What sort of mind thought that up, I wonder. Our holiday was TV-less for 3 weeks. We don’t watch much but I do watch the news. We got a little through the internet but not much. I also read the sports page on the back of someone else’s newspaper. Upside down. In Italian. My ignorance of the world’s ills was rather reassuring. The only thing that truly scares me here is Barbara Streisand but that’s just me.

    • I’m glad you shared all your keen thoughts here, Andrew. I’m assuming Barbra wouldn’t mind your reaction, although she might get scary about how you misspelled her first name. Although, that might just be me.

  3. Love drives out fear Ann! ❤
    Diana xo

  4. Very well written. I really liked the ‘Aaron and Dinosaur’ story .


    I dream a lot . Most of them are like a movie/story . One of the recent one that I remember is a funny mystery . I was going somewhere with my family and friends and suddenly they all disappeared . I started to look for them in an old building and also was also hiding from someone . Then I saw a lady standing in a room with her back to me, I called her so that I can ask if she had seen my family.When she turned I recognized her she was one of my old school class fellow ( we weren’t close friends and haven’t being in touch for a long time I don’t know why I saw her in my dream) she turned and looked at me and then turned again as if she hadn’t seen me. Her expression was very scary and funny at the same time . Then I found a small store room it was very dark and filled with old stuff . I was going through the things and I turned something in the darkness and suddenly that storeroom transformed into a very well built and well lighted office / a big room with bookshelves , a big screen , table and all other fancy stuff , I went though the stuff on the shelves and found a box full of some important documents ( It was like a movie scene in which we saw a person finding some important document but the viewer don’t know whats in the document i.e. the “me” dreaming did not know what was in the document but the me in that dream knew) then I put those documents there again . I opened a drawer and suddenly that office / room converted into that dark storeroom again . I was very anxious , I wanted those documents ,it would help me find my family and friends but I didn’t know how that storeroom was converted into that huge office , I started to turn everything with the hope that I would turn the right thing but I didn’t . I was feeling very hungry so I went looking for food and afterwards I again entered that storeroom and started turning everything. Finally I succeeded in finding the box that converted that place into that mystical office . I started to move towards the shelve with the documents but suddenly I heard a noise and turned .There were two door at the end of the room . The noise came from there . I started to move towards that door afraid what or who I might find. I opened the door and saw there were stairs and heard someone coming down . I hid behind the open door and then to my surprise the person who come down was one of my family member and she was holding boxes as if she was cleaning some room . I came out and she said where were you for the past 6 hours we have been waiting for you , everyone is upstairs go help them . The end . I woke at that point . I don’t know what to make of this dream but the end was surely a funny one .

    I fear a lot . In-fact, today I have an idea to do something daring not very daring but it’s sort of a new thing for me and for the people I want to share it with but my fears are winning this battle so far . These fears are telling me that what if it doesn’t go the way you plan , people won’t be interested in it . It would me too much for me to do it and things like that .

    – Sorry for the poor use of punctuation and sentence structure in this comment .

    • First of all, mk, no need to apologize. There is no “poor” about this comment; you communicated very clearly. Thanks, so much, for sharing all you did. I think it’s AMAZING how much detail you remember from your dream. I got a good feeling as I was reading it. Do you have any guesses about what it might be about? And I also appreciate your sharing your thoughts and feelings about the daring thing you were considering doing today.

      As always, it’s great to see you here.

      • thanks a lot Ann , your comments and replies are always very considerate .

        I am not sure but my interpretation of this dream would be that as I over-analyze situations and spend a great amount of time thinking in real life that was happening in the dream too . My family and friends are very dear to me the thought of being alone scares me . I thought I have lost them whereas in the end I was the one missing . The person (me) who was looking for others was the person in need of saving from my own fanciful (transformation of that storeroom into a very spacious and well equipped office) and extreme thinking ( something bad has happened to the people I care about). I want to do something meaningful in life but I am not sure what , may be the the act of saving others in my dream was a depiction of that meaningful task .

        I am quite reserved and don’t mingle with people ; I don’t know why I saw that particular class fellow in my dream but her expression and reaction to my call represents how invisible I am to people who don’t know me .

      • Such a thoughtful interpretation, mk! Many thanks. I’m so glad you make yourself visible here.

      • You are most welcome 🙂

  5. Ann … I fear several things that I know I have no control over, and I try to not let those fears consume me. Easier said than done.

    I used to wear a “No Fear” shirt … “Fear is the thief of dreams.” (I believe that’s how it went.)

    Aaron’s dinosaur stories and others are priceless. They do chase my fears away. Thank you for your thoughtful post. 😉

  6. Thanks for the Streisand, I haven’t heard her in years. I mostly fear failing to keep all the balls I have thrown into the air from coming down somewhere out of reach. I am troubled about people in distress all round the world, which I live in comfort and safety. I am sure you are right, just keep tweaking away where you can contribute.

    • I often fear all those things too, Hilary. It helps to know I’m not alone. Thanks for this comment, which helped me feel safer.

  7. I’m pretty much a Realist, so I don’t fear things. I’m just realistic about them. Back in the late 1970s, I had the opportunity to go to Rome at company expense. I declined because terrorists there were “knee-capping” people, especially Americans. I know where the “bad” areas of town are so I don’t go there. I know that I should change the oil in the car and check the air pressure in the tires………….

    • This reminds me I haven’t checked the air pressure in my tires lately (but the oil is in good shape). Many thanks for your Realism, Russel Ray.

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  9. “People — when they take a breath and observe all the realities of their senses — often find that the present moment is actually safer than they are thinking and feeling”. I love this advice! As for the news, I avoid it as much as possible – bad news sells, so bad news is what we get. It’s better for my mental health if I don’t think about Ebola – if I did, I might drive myself mad!

  10. Gene Phillips

    What a remarkable child/young man Aaron was/is!

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  12. I LOVE your Aaron stories.

    As far as dreams go — I rarely dream, and even more rarely are my dreams scary. But the past week I’ve had a couple of extremely frightening ones. Bizarre, too. I wish that I had Aaron’s capacity for explaining things.

    • I’m very sorry you’ve been having frightening dreams. I love that you took the time to visit here today. You’ve been missed.

      I also wish I had Aaron’s capacity for explaining things.

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