February 1, 2020

An elegant monster by Stefan Bucher

Tic. Tic. Tic. Tic. Tic.

That’s the sound of the clock on the wall in my mothers’s guest bedroom. (Yes, the old-fashioned kind with hands that actually rotate.)

Only it’s much louder than what you just heard in your head. In fact, it’s so loud that when I visit, I have to take it off the wall and stash it in the closet under a pile of blankets in order to sleep.

But this isn’t a newsletter about my mom’s annoying keep-me-awake-torture-device clock.

This month’s newsletter is about fear. Don’t worry, you’ll understand the clock reference in just a minute or two. Tic toc.

I want to talk about fear because it’s the thing that holds us back.

Let me say that again…

Fear is THE thing that holds us back.

I bet if you thought about everything you’d like to be doing with your life and aren’t, you could trace all your excuses back to being in fear about something.

  • Fear of what others think.
  • Fear of being alone.
  • Fear of being laughed at.
  • Fear of failing.
  • Fear of showing the world the real you.

This list goes on an on, doesn’t it? It all comes back to fear.

So, the real question isn’t what is holding you back. It’s what to do about what’s holding you back.

Here’s my advice: Face it.

This may be helpful, from Seth Godin:

Facing our fears

That’s unlikely.

If I’m lucky, I can glance at them.

But just for a second or two. 

Our fears burn so bright that if we truly face them, we think we might be blinded.

Of course, we may think we’re looking at our fears, dead on, but it’s more likely we’re just seeing a distraction, a shadow of what’s actually holding us back.

Because once we’re truly clear about the fear, it fades. It might even disappear.

Seeing our true fears is challenging. It requires being deeply honest with ourselves. It demands that we no longer stand inside the circle of victimhood.

Fears are like monsters under the bed. Once you believe they are there, it’s incredibly hard to actually look under the bed to see if you’re right. We don’t actually want to see the things we’re afraid of. It’s too risky to look under the bed.

I mean, something could happen. Right?

When you look under the bed, you might see…


…. dust bunnies?

A half-chewed dog bone? An empty pizza box? (Seriously, who does that?)

The point is, once we have the courage to look, the monster goes away. {Poof.}

That’s the truth of facing our fears.

But here’s the catch. Most of the time, we can’t do it on our own. We can’t actually see our own fears.

We need someone to say, “Hey, sweetheart. You know that thing you do? That thing that causes you pain and prevents you from getting what you really want? I can see it. And because I can see it, I can tell you with 100% certainty that it’s not really a monster.”

Do you want to know what one of my biggest fears used to be?

No, it’s not my mother’s clock.


Tic. Tic. Tic.

Well, actually, not time itself. But the idea that I was going to run out of time.

Once I faced that fear, really looked deep into the eyes of that particular monster, the monster went away. Everything changed. Now, instead of worrying that I don't have enough, I fill my days with all kinds of things that light me up. The fear of running out of time no longer lurks under my bed.

And I discovered what happens when you’re living not in fear is that the whole world comes alive.

Hafiz pretty much sums it up for me:

Where does the real poetry
Come from?

From the amorous sighs
In this moist dark when making love
With form or

Where does poetry live?

In the eye that says “Wow wee,”
In the overpowering felt splendor
Every sane mind knows
When it realizes – our life dance
Is only for a few magic

From the heart saying,

“I am so damn

I’m pretty sure once you face your fears, you’ll be shouting “wow wee” too!

Christy Brennand

PS. Speaking of monsters, our elegant monster has many cousins. Discover the backstory here.

And then there's this (LOL):

Image: An elegant monster by Stefan Bucher

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