Just Five Seconds

Old chronometer in man hand, vintage  style

I watched two episodes of Lost last night; the first two episodes. Jack said something that was truly thought provoking.

When Jack was a medical resident, his first solo surgery was a spinal surgery. Just as he was closing, he cut a section of nerves in the lower spine of his patient; a sixteen year old girl. He froze. Panic and fear set in. It was at that moment he had a choice to make. He could freeze and risk this young girl’s life or he could find the strength to carry on.

He chose to allow himself to panic for five seconds.

Just five seconds.

He counted to five in his head and then pushed the fear out of the way and completed the surgery.  Everything went fine and the young girl was perfectly healthy (everything always ends so well in Hollywood!).

This idea of only allowing yourself to feel fear for five seconds resonated so deeply with me;  it was eye opening; a revelation.

Is it possible that I may be able to adopt this strategy when my heart races; when I have anxious thoughts; when I panic?

Could this be a tool for my toolbox that is unlike any of the others?  One that puts the other tools to shame?

This sounds so logical to me.  I will feel the fear for five seconds.

Just five seconds.

I am grounded in logic and rational thought.  My life is dictated by right and wrong; black and white.  There is no gray.  Could something so simple, so logical, have a lasting impact on how I perceive and act on fearful thinking and physical sensations in my body?

It may not.  But it is worth a try.  A new tool for my toolbox, courtesy of Jack Shephard.






Just five seconds.


© The Flip of the Switch, January 2016.



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