Admittedly, it took me a long time to learn to listen to my fear. My earliest memory is from when I was three years old. My Mother, Father, little brother and I went to play in a local river. I did not recognize the danger and I fell into the water. I remember feeling helpless and confused and then my father saved me. Although I’m sure there were previous times, this was the first time I remember meeting fear.
As a man, I met fear on the top of a mountain with the whole universe watching. He greeted me as an old friend and embraced me with genuine warmth.
“What would my life be without you?” I asked.
“Why ask me that my son? Have I not protected you and guided you through all of the horrors in the dark?” he asked.
“I’ll admit there have been times when you have saved me from suffering and almost certain death, but I’ve noticed the times I have truly lived were the times I had the courage to ignore your warnings. When I have wanted to love, you warned me about humiliation and rejection. When I aspired to more, you took the air from my lungs and warned me about losing what I’ve got. And when I prepared to rest you made me uncomfortable and gave me fantasies about failure and suffering. But when I ignored you, I loved with my whole heart, I worked with passion, and I rested enjoying the present.” I explained.
Fear smiled with knowing sadness and replied “Even I am conflicted in this messy existence. I did indeed warn you of humiliation, rejection, loss, failure, and suffering. But, in those times of action and acceptance, I also spurred you forward with an even greater fear – a fear of dying without living.”
As a child I had to learn to listen to my fear. As an adult, I suspect I must learn when it should be ignored.