Near the beginning, the protagonist, Mau, saves the female lead, Daphne, from drowning. While he's doing this, he hears in his head the voice of the god of death, Locaha. During their interior conversation, Mau begs Locaha to let them go because it's not fair for Daphne to drown. Locaha says something to the effect of there is no should happen, only what happens and what does not happen. Mau shouts (err, thinks loudly, but you know) DOES NOT HAPPEN and finds the energy to save Daphne.
This becomes his mantra for the remainder of the novel. As he tries to rebuild his Nation, whenever something bad threatens, Mau says, shouts, or whispers, "does not happen" and then ensures that it does not happen. He takes control of his own life and his own situations.
So, to all of the things that I've been dreading happening tomorrow and in the coming year: Does. Not. Happen. I am taking control of my life, starting now. This will be a good year. The old fear does not happen. I will be strong.