Originally Blogging the Artist's Way. Thoughts, musings, experience of the 12-week course, January to March 2006. And after that?.... Life, creativity, writing. Where does it all meet? Here, perhaps.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sunday Scribbling: Fearless

I was sitting here looking at that word - Fearless - and pondering where the start might be. What was my way in to "Fearless" as a topic for Sunday Scribblings? Oh, I knew - more or less - what it was I'd want to say, but hadn't yet fixed on the entry point. This is not usual for me with Sunday Scribblings. Usually, I write the title and jump right in.

As I sat there, ruminating, my phone rang. "Where are you?" my friend, K, asked. "I'm at home. Why?" I responded. "I bought a house!" she says. A house! Well, I had to abandon couch, computer and home straight away to go visit, to walk around to see the house that last week wasn't even on her radar, and that today - all going well - is set to be her new home very soon!

Before I left my house, I went in search of a couple of really pretty cards I'd bought a while ago, chose one of them and wrote in it. "K, your courage and willingness to leap is an inspiration to me..." It is. K is not a fearless woman. She has all the fears that any woman in her 50's who finds herself, after more than 25 years of marriage, alone and responsible for all the details of her life - present and future - might have. But she takes the leap anyway.

This is what I wanted to say about Fearlessness. It's not a state to which I aspire. I have another friend who told me - and it has truth in it - that "Fear is in the future". If we live in the present, there is no fear. Fear is all about what might happen next, or later, tomorrow, next year, when I'm 70... But still, even knowing that on an intellectual level, during my early days of being alone after my marriage ended, I would find myself waking early in the mornings, my stomach churning, in terror of something, anything awful happening, and having no protector, no shield, no-one but myself on whom I could rely. I was full of fears. But they could not all be named. I was a ball, a bundle, a mess of fear, and compared to those days, I am now pretty fearless, but still, whenever I contemplate something new, something I have not done before, I feel that panicky feeling in my stomach, my breathing becomes shallow and tight, and I have to remind myself to calm down, to relax, to "B-r-e-a-t-h-e". And when I do, I can face the new, the unknown, and make it through, and then, I am thankful for the fear. Coming through it is part of the growth. If there was no fear, there would be less satisfaction in the achievement.

When I set off for Yosemite last year, I didn't think about driving up, up, up, mountains higher than anything I'd driven on before. I didn't - for some reason - focus on the fact that if you have really high waterfalls there, then you have to have really high mountains from which they can fall; and that you can't get there without driving up some mountainous roads. As I drove, and began to see signs reminding me of the elevation, I felt a flutter of anxiety grow into a flurry of fear and panic. When I had a chance to pull in, I did, and breathed, and breathed. And looked at the road. Up and down.

Other cars travel there. Other people are doing this all the time. Why should I be any different? My car isn't any different. I sat back in behind the wheel, and went on. My delight in that few days was all the greater for having overcome a fear, for having pushed through. Travelling alone - same thing.

I don't want to be fearless. I don't want to be paralyzed by fear. I want to be able to do what Susan Jeffers suggests: I want to be able to Feel the Fear, and Do It Anyway. When I was with K today, and we marvelled at how much has changed for her in the past year, she told me she thinks she might even be ready at last to learn to drive. She can see herself doing it now. She knows it will be scary, but she's done so many scary things now, and survived them, she is willing to try one more scary thing.

I say Go for it. If it frightens you, but other people manage it, then why shouldn't you? Fearlessness is much over-rated. I say if there is a fear, allow it to be, look it in the eye, and tell it its days are numbered!


For more Fearless tales go to Sunday Scribblings.

Friends, If you haven't yet read my post about Jen Ballantyne, please do. She's an incredible woman who needs help, support, caring, prayers, people to witness her experience of cancer. Or just go straight to her blog and wish her well. She is not without her fears, but she is oh, so very brave, and she appreciates every word and thought that comes her way. Thank you.

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At 12/4/08 9:05 pm, Blogger Jo Anne O. said...

It is funny that as I have aged, I have become encased in fears...why now, and why not when I was younger? I give you kudos for having faced your mountain fear! How wonderful!

AND congrats to your friend for stepping out and buying a home! THAT is fantastic!

At 12/4/08 10:44 pm, Blogger Granny Smith said...

Feel the fear and do it anyway! What a wonderful rule to live by. I wonder at my elderly (i.e. my age) friends who will not buy computers. What do they think? That they will blow up in their faces? Just think of the enjoyment that they are cheating themselves of.

I hope your friend enjoys her new house and that she will learn to drive and open up many avenues. (pun intended)

At 12/4/08 10:56 pm, Anonymous gautami tripathy said...

I can't ride a bike. Now reading your post, I gonna learn it!

shapely ghosts

At 12/4/08 11:45 pm, Anonymous Friday said...

OMG! Have you ever heard or read something and thought to your self, "Hey, I used to know that!" That's how I feel about "Feel the fear and do it anyway." I used to say that all the time. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery so live for today. I appreciated hearing that today. It's so difficult to step out of our comfort zone somethings. I applaud you, darlin' and thank you for reminding me of something I can surely use today.

I'm so glad you came to my blog. I'm so happy to have come to yours! I will be back!

At 12/4/08 11:53 pm, Blogger Tammy said...

AMEN Imelda! I've driven that road and it is VERY scary! Go for it always! XXOO

At 13/4/08 4:45 am, Blogger Deirdra Doan said...

It is so nice to have a friend in Ireland! Denmark is very interesting. The light is so beautiful at Skagen. You would love it. I like your story on Fearless.
My husband and went to Yeats grave and John wrote an amazing song there. You can hear it at

We filmed John playing there one night late on June 23 when all the fires were burning for a festival you have for mid summer? It was so mystical and special with the Cross of Life on one side and the cold grave on the other.

Blessings on your Day.

At 13/4/08 6:23 am, Blogger Fran aka Redondowriter said...

The way you describe yourself after your marriage ended is a lot like I felt, too. Congratulations to your friend, Kay, who is feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Though I am older than you are, Imelda, who have a lot of things in common.

At 13/4/08 3:28 pm, Blogger Karen said...

I hadn't thought about fear and fearlessness in this way before, but you're absolutely right. Fear IS in the future (or even in the past, remembering a bad past experience)--if we're truly living in the now, then there won't be fears.

I love the way you confronted the fear of driving in the mountains--I try to remind myself of that too--if someone else has already done it, then you can do it too!

Excellent post!

At 13/4/08 4:03 pm, Anonymous nonizamboni said...

Imelda--thank you for your brilliant thoughts about facing fear. If there was no fear, there would be less satisfaction in the achievement. And I agree, And I believe in facing those fears too--I just don't want to cave in and let them immobilize me.
Nice post!

At 13/4/08 5:45 pm, Blogger Amber said...

"If we live in the present, there is no fear. Fear is all about what might happen next, or later, tomorrow, next year, when I'm 70... "--

That is SO true! I never have thought of it like that before, but it is just the right way to put it. Now I am going to think about this some...

This was a brilliant post, friend.


At 13/4/08 6:56 pm, Anonymous tinker said...

Facing down the fears, and taking action anyway, is the true definition of courage, I think.
I think you are truly courageous, Imelda - and it sounds as though your friend is, too. Wonderful post!

At 13/4/08 7:28 pm, Blogger Terri said...

beautiful reflection imelda. thank you for sharing this way of relating to fear. what a gift your friendship must be.

At 13/4/08 8:07 pm, Blogger Beatriz' suitcase contents said...

Isn't it interesting how so many different people can react to a prompt in such similar ways? Your post is clear and to the point, and I agree with most of it. Thank you for sharing, and for visiting my blog earlier today.

At 13/4/08 8:47 pm, Blogger DrLeonesse said...

"Feel the fear and do it anyway" is the definition of bravery. Isn't it wonderful we are event at a time?

At 13/4/08 9:26 pm, Blogger Lucy said...

"Fear is in the future" I never thought about that but it has really hit some truth for me. I love the advice you give- feel the fear and do it anyway.. I will think of this the next time my kids drag me to a roller coaster! beautiful post. thanks or visiting me. :)

At 13/4/08 10:56 pm, Blogger anno said...

Sometimes I think that fear can be a wise counselor, helping you avoid dangerous mistakes; that trepidation you feel about walking down a dark alley? Maybe it might be better to take the longer, better lit street to your parked vehicle? People who can't feel fear are much like those who can't feel pain--a potential danger to themselves.

As you've described, though, fear can hobble us, keep us from achieving our ambitions and desires. I loved your description of being in Yosemite -- I've had exactly the same experience in Yellowstone... right down to pulling off the road, convinced I could not continue. Until I noticed that every other car was making it.

Living is an act of faith. Thanks for reminding us of it. Sorry about this long comment. I'll do my own blog someday.

At 13/4/08 11:46 pm, Blogger Remiman said...

I think you've described what many folks feel quite well. Fear makes us take stock and evaluate a situation with our logical and intellectual mind and then we proceed apace. Facing our fears and moving past them is exhilerating!

At 14/4/08 4:46 am, Blogger Miss J said...

Great post! It helped me in writing my post for this topic. Thanks for sharing this wonderfully written story. Great blog!


At 14/4/08 4:42 pm, Blogger Jen Ballantyne said...

What a wonderfully thoughtful post. I so enjoyed reading it and reading about some of the fears you and others overcame. This is a post that left me smiling long after I had read it, I think because it really summed up exactly what life and living is all about. Feeling the fear and doing it anyway. In some cases Feeling the Fear and having no choice but to do it anyway. Either way, growth is inevitable. Thank you sweet friend for your continued support. Jen B. xxx

At 14/4/08 8:00 pm, Blogger Judy Merrill-Smith said...

It's funny. I never thought of myself as a fearful person, but in the last couple of years, I have come to see how much fear was running my life. And now I am learning to recognize fear, and as you say, do it anyway.

I loved this post. Thanks!

At 15/4/08 3:11 am, Blogger Sue "Sioux" Seibert said...

Loved your response to the "Fearless" prompt.

At 15/4/08 4:48 pm, Blogger Deirdre said...

I remember how frightened I was during and after getting divorced; 16 years later I still have to remind myself how much I've learned and how much stronger I am now. I'm fierce about my independence - it's a learning curve I'd rather not repeat. The good thing is that we keep getting stronger, even if it's all still scary.

At 15/4/08 8:20 pm, Blogger tumblewords said...

Wonderful post! There is something about managed fear that increases a person's enjoyment of life, for sure!

At 16/4/08 12:08 pm, Blogger Shyam said...

If you're fearless, you're without imagination - that's what I feel, anyway. Getting past one's fears is the only way to live life. I love your post.

At 17/4/08 7:40 pm, Blogger Aisling said...

Very wise words, Imelda. Last year while my daughter was an exchange student, the rest of us in the family were inspired to conquer some of the things we fear. I re-enrolled in college to resume a degree I started working on over 20 years ago (almost over 25, but let's not go there yet! *grin*

I think I'll be back to read this post again. I found it very meaningful.

At 17/4/08 8:20 pm, Blogger Tammie Lee said...

I enjoyed your writing very much. So much so that you inspired me to write of a memory brought about by the subject fearless and your mention of California. So I wrote, posted, and signed up at Sunday Scribblings. Thank you!

At 17/4/08 9:04 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fear is an interesting thing - even people surrounded by other people or even married can be paralized with fear.

Thanks for the comment on my blog.

creative voyage


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