Fear is frightened of the present

Image: Genta Mochizawa

I’m not an arachnophobe, but as far as I’m concerned, black widow spiders may as well be spawns of Satan himself.

I grew up with them in every dark, deserted corner of our house. I remember my dad dousing them with Raid and being in awe of how long their thick, shiny, sinister legs continued to wriggle and squirm around after being flooded in the foamy poison. (My dad always ended up stomping on them, which made me question further why he went with the Raid in the first place, but, whatever…)

I have a recurring nightmare about a black widow spider. In my dream, there I am, lying in bed. A dim light is shining through the window. Then, all of a sudden, I see a web, and a huge-ass black widow spider drops down from the ceiling inches from my nose.

There’s been several times when I’ve jumped up out of bed and turned on the light — heart racing, slipper-as-weapon in-hand, and, of course, dawning nothing for armor other than boxers... Sexy.

There’s probably a deep-seated issue here. Maybe I secretly believe my wife is going to murder me. Maybe I should clean the basement. I’m not sure. In any case — black widow spiders give me the ultimate heebie jeebies.

The other night, I went out in the back yard to turn my bbq grill off. As I turned the knob, I looked to the left only to see the silhouette of a black widow spider slightly illumined by the flood light.

I jumped back. Holy HELL is that thing creepy.

But then, I remembered watching a video of Gangaji where she mentions talking to her granddaughter who’s scared of spiders. She tells her that, if you just look at the spider reeeeaaalllly closely, you’ll see that it’s not that scary. It’s here that you’ll learn that fear doesn’t live in the present moment. It lives in our stories about the present moment.

What we resist persists. What we look at disappears.
-Neale Donald Walsch

She’s totally right. I stepped forward, popped out the flashlight on my cell phone and looked at the little lady. I was creeped out at first, for sure. But after a moment, a strange thing happened… Like fog disappearing at sunrise, my fear evaporated into the immaculately beautiful design that is the black widow spider.

Another miracle had happened. I was no longer AS scared of my recent nemesis. I saw it removed from my story. And it just WAS.

And then I smashed it with my shoe.

And went to bed.


Jonas Ellison is a transformational coach and writer who helps people find their Mojo using spiritual, philosophical, and practical tools. To get his short vignettes in your inbox daily, click here.

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