Banish your Bears

I recently dreamed of a bear. I was inside the trailer with Dave, and his stepmom, and we were playing cards or something on a sunny, summer day. I looked out the window and spotted three deer… no, TWO deer and one bear. He was kind of goofy looking, like he was a cartoon, but he looked mean, and he also looked directly back at me. 
I turned around and told my companions there was a bear, and he was going to be coming for us. But nobody else seemed concerned. “What should we do?” I asked, the panic setting in. For you see, I have a funny fear of bears. I’ve only seen them in the zoo, and yet, I’ve always had this little, gnawing fear of them, as if somehow, one day I’d be face to face with a bear and need to know what to do (even though I lived in the Bay Area for 28 years, and the odds of that are astronomically low). Nobody else was worried. They just looked at me calmly and shook their heads, as if to say, “I don’t know, but it doesn’t much matter.” 
I started screaming at Dave to pull the little hatch on the door closed, because if he didn’t the only thing standing between us, and what was obviously a deadly bear, was a piece of screen. Dave just stood there. I saw the bear running towards the trailer. Dave just stood there. I begged, I cried, I screamed. Finally, seeing how important it was to me, he started to slide the plastic hatch closed. 
But it was too late. The bear was at the door. And quickly working his way through that plastic hatch. I contemplated climbing out of the window as the bear was climbing in… I begged for answers, but nobody had any suggestions, and everyone else was calm. I knew that climbing out the window was futile, he’d just follow me. By now I knew, he was after me, specifically. I realized I couldn’t outrun him if he followed me. In came the bear, and I just stood there… Stunned and scared. 
Suddenly, a feeling welled up inside of me. That confident, fear-be-damned feeling. I threw myself between the bear and the door, swung it open, and quite literally just ushered him outside. He was a pretty obedient bear it turned out, and he just ran away to go do other bear things. 
When I woke up I was pretty exhausted. I felt drained. But then I realized the really special part of this dream. The meaning of it all. Why was everyone else so calm? Why could nobody else banish the bear but me? Because the bear was *my* fear. Dave tried to help by closing the hatch… but the bear still found a way in, because it was my bear to banish. Nobody else can get rid of your fears for you. Sometimes you just have to face them, and usher them out yourself. 
I’m facing a lot of fears lately. I know it seems funny that almost an entire year after my mom’s death, I’m just getting around to the fear part of living without her. There’s fear of this new disease, and living a life dependent on medication. There’s fear of real bears, now that I live in the mountains. There’s fear everywhere, and sometimes it presents itself as a panic attack, or anxiety, or bad dreams. But one thing I know for certain, is they are my fears, and I am the one who must let them go.

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