I am readying myself psychically for a second cataract operation. Due to a variety of circumstances, I have waited a year between surgeries. The doctor who did the first procedure examined me a few days ago and said that the cataract in my left eye had increased in size and that surgery is now decidedly warranted.

When I was five years old, I had a double strabismus operation in order to repair my crossed eyes. Mind you, I had no idea I was cross-eyed. I was completely unprepared to wake up after the ordeal with two bandaged eyes, virtually sightless. I still remember the smell of the ether and the scream from back in my throat when I came to. In those days, there was no rule against operating on two eyes at once. Today, I highly doubt any reputable surgeon would try to pull that off. Back then, maybe it was like the Wild West.

All I know is that both my eyes were covered for long enough to scare the hell out of me and scar my soul indelibly.

Knowing this about me, you can trust that I don’t take the idea of undergoing eye surgery lightly. Nevertheless, I have to trust that I’m in good hands – surgically and in life in general. Being a Twelve-Stepper, I have already turned my will over to the care of G-d as I understand Him. It wasn’t in my control to give myself the cataract and it isn’t in my control to personally remove it. I must rely on the surgeon’s hands, head and heart. At the same time, I must make a leap of faith and trust that what is supposed to happen will happen and that it will ultimately serve my greater good.

Looking at my fear, right in the eye!

While fear is an entirely reasonable reaction to danger, excessive fear can stifle you to such an extent that it renders you incapable of living comfortably in the world. If you constantly perceive threats in your environment, you will be in a perpetual state of alert. This is very hard to maintain, very detrimental to the nervous system and is in fact a less than effective approach to your personal safety. Morbid anticipation does nothing but keep you from enjoying life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – your birthright.

It’s disheartening, really, to see the role fear plays in people’s lives. Just this morning, I heard about a young lady who was hysterically afraid of bugs. When she saw an ant on the floor of her bedroom, she refused to lie down, sure that it would crawl onto her whilst she lay sleeping. She argued the point until two in the morning. As her mother told it, this impossible situation had no solution save to allow her to sleep in another room.

I am vigilant about monitoring my emotions, especially the ones that could take me to unhealthy places.

This is what I teach my clients, students and people with whom I have dealings: Make responsible decisions and hope that the outcomes will not be too much for you to handle.

They may in fact be just what you need. As stated in Step Eleven: “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with G-d, asking only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”

Here I go, walking the talk, trusting in the Higher Power and letting go. I will not open the door to paralyzing fear. That would operate in total contradistinction to the message I always deliver. In the words of my dearly departed Cousin Millie: “Trust G-d, love G-d, thank G-d.”