The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Adaptation of "Fear Removal"

Here's a note from a student who used a unique variation of the "Fear Removal" technique to interesting and valuable effect...


Dear Steve:

A few weeks ago the kids were out with my mother-in-law so I put on The
Color Purple to watch while I folded laundry, put away toys et cetera. 
I hadn't seen it (or read it) in ages but I did know it was a
tear-jerker.  On account of being alone for the day I decided to go
ahead and let myself cry.  Shortly into my sobbing I noticed that I was
sitting on the couch, right next to my stationary bike.  If I stopped
with the laundry (which I was holding more than folding anyway) I could
get on the bike.  I could push for that second wind thing you'd told me
about.  I pedaled my ass off.  I let myself feel all the fear and anger
I felt for the characters and for myself in all the things I'd
experienced that made their woes so easy to relate to.  I pedaled like
I was running for my life, I pedaled like an act of violence too.  I
remember the pins and needles sensation spreading from the bridge of my
nose across my red, puffy, tear-streaked face and I remember feeling my
lungs fill with cold sharp air.  I don't know if I'd been breathing at
all before that sudden inhalation, but my lungs felt huge and powerful
suddenly.  I pedaled joyously for a little while, just liking feeling
strong, and then sort of lazily for a while after that, 'cause I was
right in front of my movie anyway.  It wasn't exactly the fear removal
technique, just sort of an impromptu utilization of what I'd remembered
about what you'd told me before.  If I'd been doing it right I would've
just posted this on your blog.  It was still really cool though, so I
thought I'd take a moment to thank you privately.  I think I'll watch
all my tear jerkers on the bike now, it gives me that sense of
challenge as something that strengthens me (as opposed to breaks me)
that I had when I was younger and still immortal.

Wow!  Fascinating.  To my knowledge, this technique works with fear, anger, and grief.  Anyone else who has experimented with it, please let me know!

No comments: