be the walker, not the dog

Asi son las cosa, muchacho. This is how it is, boy. Pablo Neruda.

Sometimes I am a slow learner. Sometimes the universe has to shout quite loudly and relay to me the message in various forms before I get it. And then suddenly in a quite cataclysmic way, it all comes together in a blissful moment of realisation. As has happened now, sitting here on my red couch, having watched a film, listened to the song playing over the closing credits and then watched the final episode of Girls and thought, ohhhhh…yeah…ok….right.

And no, I don’t get all my epiphanies from the screen or from emo lyrics. That was just the teetering pinnacle. (Not sure that’s a valid image, but I’m sticking with it). I’ve had all kinds of conversations about this thing in the last couple of weeks. It’s there, this thing, and I finally digested it.

And what is this thing, you may ask. Or perhaps you’re not asking that at all, but hoping to dear god that this isn’t yet another one of my existential wonderings where I hang all my thoughts on the line, look at them from all sorts of angles and then finish with some trite line about not really knowing the answer, but feeling happier for having explored it, while you, the reader, is left groaning in exasperation and wishing I’d decided to write a review of the new toast cafe, and not do all this jumping through soul searching hoops in such a verbose way.

The Thing has to do with relationships. And fear.



Someone pulled the “Do you know what fear stands for? … False Evidence Appearing Real,” quote on me recently. I had just heard the exact same words from the mouth of Jake Gyllenhaal’s character in the film, Nightcrawler, and consequently rolled my eyes at the melodrama of its use in that particular context.

And also I’m not really sure that quote is true as a concept. Fear isn’t so much about false evidence. However, it is an emotion that can distort the way we see things sometimes.

All fear is based on the idea that we need something. And fear comes from the thought that we’re not going to get the thing we think we need. So then fear is need announced. The person who doesn’t need anything has no fear. So when we are in a place of fear, we need to ask, what is it that I need?

Fear manifests in two ways. Either I’m not going to get the thing that I need or I’m going to lose the thing I have acquired and that I feel I need. This most often presents itself in relationships. First I’m afraid that no one is going to love me and then I’m afraid that if they do, I’ll lose that. It’s not rocket science, is it? People have been banging on about that old chestnut for a very long time.

The only way to solve the fear issue is to understand who I truly am and understand that I don’t need to be affirmed by others to experience serenity and joy. Often when I feel as though my joy comes from somewhere outside myself, I get into fear. Because if the thing that is making me feel joyous is removed, then I’ll be left with that blackhole feeling of emptiness. But if I can understand that the source of my joy comes from within myself, that it was given to me, from me, perhaps then my fear will disappear.*

Again, I know none of this is new. It’s the stuff the new age philosophy empire is built on. There are plenty of posters with rainbows on them proclaiming this message of self-empowerment. As I said. Slow learner.

Give time to time. Allow. Be. Do. Take hold. Lean in. Be the walker, not the dog.

* Wording inspired by Neale Donald Walsch’s ideas


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