Over the past few weeks the topic of fear has come up in conversation with a whole pile of my nearest and dearest, and no, not because it’s Halloween (good timing for this article, though), but simply because, perhaps, my buddies and I have been facing situations inducing a scare or three. Yes, over the last number of weeks, vampires, witches, and zombies have been the least of our worries. Let’s name drop some of my buddies here to exemplify. John and Dave, two of my best male mates since we were wee ones, drinking in parks and shifting anyone that would have us. One of my brothers-from-another-mother has recently returned from the Land of Oz to our post-recession Ireland; the other is now off on his jollies to the Far East to volunteer for two months and also to check out some full moon parties. Am I jealous? You bet ya! Although they didn’t say it directly, both are facing – I’m sure – a tiny drop of fear given their respective situations. It’s a big move for both. And representing all the ladies are Aine and Debbie. Aine has just landed a very fancy new job in a very fancy new office in Galway City where she manages…everything, I think! And although she rocks in everything she ever does, I’m sure she too is a little afraid she might totally fuck the whole thing up. Debbie is in the process of setting up her own business – she admits that it’s the most terrifying thing she’s ever done, because if this doesn’t work out, what then? And then there’s little old me. Lately, due to the fact that everything in my life is flowing, growing, and flourishing, fear has come knocking on my door for a spot of trick or treat. ‘What if everything goes the opposite way?’ I think. But like my friends who are living with their own signature brand of fear, I know that it’s a necessary evil that will only be beneficial.
Superstar author of Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert, recently wrote about fear in her latest smash hit, Big Magic. In it, she explains how fear is allowed to sit in the back seat of the car but it cannot, and never will be allowed, to take the wheel – she doesn’t even let her little buddy change the radio station – probably because he’ll throw on Justin Bieber. She does know, however, that she will always need fear to stay with her pushing her to create amazing things and live life with such a joie de vivre. So like Liz, my friends and I know that fear will fervently shove us into amazing experiences. Which leads me to something I like to call The Swan Mind – I’m working on the copyright, it’ll make me a fortune!
On recent trip down to the always scenic Claddagh Quay in Galway City, my sister-from-another-mister, Debbie and I sat chatting on bench having a gawk at some swans floating ‘round looking all graceful, self-assured, and poised on a sunny October evening. But beneath the surface their wee little paws were going 90, flapping and fluttering. Grace above, madness below. Which got me thinking – we often look at certain individuals and see them – like the swans – looking all a glow, beaming with self-confidence, ready to take on the world with a constant pep in their step. Are these people ever afraid underneath it all? Of course they are. And here’s the big secret: everyone feels the fear. I’m sure these individuals, despite their perpetual positivity and glowing demeanour, feel the fear bubbling beneath the water. These people are friends with fear. They don’t let it stop them. They push on despite the unquenchable terror they may feel even on a daily basis. So, dear readers make friends with fear this Halloween, it might just push to a place you never knew existed.
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