Fear keeps us immobilized, but action is what we need now.

Bunster (2) (1024x768)
I was blessed to have Bunster! I hope there are Cheerios in Bunny Heaven.

I remember only one line from David Cronenberg’s 1986 movie, The Fly:

“Be afraid. Be very afraid.”

Fear is a protective mechanism. It can keep us from pursing dangerous pursuits. It can keep us safe.

It can also keep us locked in anxiety and block us off from the very opportunities that help us, and others, grow and thrive.

Just before we left on our California aimless road trip, a studio visitor brought me a book to read: Unsaid, by Neil Abramson. I didn’t actually get a chance to read much on the trip. But today I read the author’s note, to see if I should read it right away, or start with my pile of borrowed-time library books.

And then I read his words:

…I was surprised at the depth of the loss I felt. The only way I can explain it is to tell that something deep within me shifted. I realized I was so grateful for every minute with Skippy and I wouldn’t have traded the time with him for anything in the world, even thought that time ended too soon. Then I realized that this was Skippy’s last gift to me…(H)e taught me how important the act of living really is and how limited by fear I had become….   (Italics are mine.)

How limited by fear I had become…

Everyone I’ve talked to the last few days has shared how they’ve felt the last few weeks–stunned, anxious, ill, sad, depressed, fearful.

We thought the social changes in our world were going to continue for years to come. We thought we’d overcome our fear of ‘the other’–people who are different than us, people who talk differently, who have different skin color, who pray with different prayers, who love a different way. “Different” had gone from “dangerous and scary” to “yet another color on the spectrum of humanity”.

All that seems swept away. The fear of “different” feels like it’s not only reversed, but reached monstrous proportions. And we feel helpless.

We are not helpless.

It’s time for us to get brave, and step outside our comfort zone. It’s time for all of us to become activists, however we can. It’s time for us to put our money, our time, our words, our presence, where our mouth–er, heart–is.

All of us have skills and strengths, interests and connections. It’s time to put them to good use.

I’ve talked to people recently, who have gently moved from “being afraid” to realizing they can put their expertise to good use. They can contribute to stopping the spread of fake “news”. They can teach people how to research the crazy articles that foment hate and fear. They can put their hobbies to good use raising funds for social justice. They can share the joy and courage in their hearts, that has spurred them to make their creativity visible in the world, and create joy and courage in others. They can use the simplest acts to help others.

Food kitchens have hordes of volunteers on the holidays. Why not commit to helping on the ordinary days instead?

I love reading. It’s time to share that love with elementary kids again.

I see friends who have people they cares deeply about, people who, historically, have been easily marginized. They are standing up for them.

I’m going to join the Million Women March in January. I’m scared–I’ve never been the protest-march type. But what is my fear, compared to the very real fear of so many other people? Not much.

Don’t let fear immobilize you.  Don’t let it speak for you.

Let your heart speak for you instead.

Something will cross your path in the days ahead–a volunteer opportunity, a fundraising effort, a conversation, a chance to participate. For me, the afterword of a book I haven’t even read yet.

When it does, your heart will let you know. You will feel “the call”–a tiny, unexplained lifting of your spirit.

Follow it. See where it goes. Share it here. I’d love to know!

Remember those other, just as powerful words, that will take you to a place of light, and connection, and justice:

Be not afraid.

Be like my rabbit Bunster, may she rest in peace (with lots of stuff to chew on, and someone’s lap to leap into.) She was full of fear. Rabbits are full of fear.

But she also had a place in the world, and my life is richer because of her.



Author: Luann Udell

I find it just as important to write about my art as to make it. I am fascinated by stories. You can tell when people are speaking their truth--their eyes light up, their voices become strong, their entire body posture becomes powerful and upright. I love it when people get to this place in their work, their relationships, their art. As I work from this powerful place in MY heart, I share this process with others--so they have a strong place to stand, too. Because the world needs our beautiful art. All of it we can make, as fast as we can! Whether it's a bowl, a painting, a song, a garden, a story, if it makes our world a better place, we need to do everything in our power to get it out there.

9 thoughts on “BE THE BUNNY”

  1. Hi Luann,

    I hope my comment on your blog this morning was not overly fired up. I get that way, lately. I do like your blog, and your blog today was good, just hit me at a moment of being overwhelmed by hysterical people who are acting like first graders who did not get their way.

    It’s my opinion, and I’m not apologizing for it, but I think, apologizing for using your blog to voice it…I usually keep it to myself. Your opinion today was expressed far more graciously.

    It’s a shame what is happening in our country now, and I hope it passes soon.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

    Nancy Wilder



    1. I decided not to publish your original post. I felt it did not contribute to the conversation, and polarized what I was saying.

      I agree with some of what you say, in one sense–white people don’t have to worry too much, because of our white privilege. (By this I don’t mean we were born into wealth or power, just that our chances of being shot on sight for carrying an air soft pistol are much lower. And that is because of our skin color, and that is a privilege, something we are born with, not something we can earn, nor change.) What you wrote about this would make an excellent post on YOUR blog.

      I do understand you have your opinion, your right to your opinion, and your apology is gracious. I value you as a reader, and I’ve always enjoyed your emails.

      As a side note, I have lived in California for two years. I lived in the midwest and on the East coast for 62 years. So I’m not lost in a fuzzy-thought bubble in California. :^)

      I do agree with your original comment that people will create the social change that became more powerful under Obama, and hopefully that momentum will continue. That’s why I wrote a call-for-action I hope will run deeper than the anger and anxiety many of us feel right now. As a person who counts Native Americans, Muslims, people of color, Latinos, LGBTQ people, journalists, and women as friends and family members, we do need to ensure that progress continues.

      And as for how people are reacting, I think what’s going on now is mild compared to the response when Obama was first elected president in 2008:

      Thank you for reaching out again.

      As someone else here commented, our feelings are raw right now. It will pass.
      Best wishes,

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Luanne – have enjoyed your blog for several months – why are you dragging politics into it?

    Sent from my iPhone



  3. As Artists, I think it is vitally important that we challenge people and I’m glad to learn I’m not the only Artist out there trying to figure out exactly how to do that. And I appreciate your insight and definition of privilege. I am thinking about participating in the march on Washington in January, I used to attend protests in DC back in Vietnam Era (I was in Middle School at the time). As a grown woman, however, for some reason, I’m afraid. Why, I don’t know. I’ve been tear gassed and survived and my kids are grown and my husband is perfectly capable to taking care of himself should I manage to get arrested somehow. I’m retired from a State government law enforcement job and have recently begun my journey again as a full time artist. My internal sense of privilege is trying to tell me I should not have to be the one who puts her neck out there… and yet, if not me; who? And if we, as women (especially as professional women) do not push back against the Privilege of men who cannot (or refuse) to see their Privileged way of thinking and doing; I doubt they will ever see or understand it in themselves.


    1. Cate, hats off to you! Your courage and your thoughts are amazing. “…and yet, if not me; then who?” Exactly.
      Of course we’re afraid. We may feel like “we’re asking for trouble”. And yet, trouble will find us, if we don’t stand for something.
      A friend invited me to march with her in Oakland CA. I told her I was afraid–I’ve NEVER done anything like that! She said, “Me, too.” That was enough for me. (Although now I’ll be marching in Santa Rosa.)

      Liked by 1 person

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