Fear is Love

Just found this, that I wrote a couple of years ago and forgot to post….
In Walmart. I know, I know… Well I needed a cable, and there was Walmart. A huge Walmart.
I have our 2.5 year-old boy with me. We do really well for a while taking in turns to look at cables and toys. Then thinking he’s engrossed with something he is holding I focus on my cable situation for all of 15 seconds, turn back to check on him and he’s gone.
It’s the day after Thanksgiving so it’s monstrously crowded in here. I walk fast back the way we’d come for a couple of blocks – er, I mean aisles – then not seeing him walk faster back another way to where we’d been standing.
Nowhere.
Soon I am running up and down aisles, wildly conscious of every turn of my head, glance of my eyes, timing it with the changing views to left and right with lightening fast precision, my mind doing overtime fast calculations on when I should use precious seconds asking one of the attendants for help, dismissing them all as looking too stupid or sleepy.
Finally I crash in at a help desk pretty much shouting at the poor woman there to call for help. She tells me dazedly that I have to go to the front of the shop (which is at least half a mile away over to the East somewhere) and ask them. I don’t even stop to reply, but start running about again calling “River!!” very loudly indeed. All the while I’m thinking how extraordinarily beautiful and golden this boy is compared with everyone and everything around here, my blood running cold as I helplessly watch my imagination doing ugly overtime.
An older woman customer stops me and asks how old he is, what he’s wearing, and tells me she’s going to get someone to make a call for help for me so I can keep looking. Thank you… Then as I’m telling her, I see him way down the other end of the aisle I’m on.
He’s sitting peacefully on the floor looking at a firetruck. Of course.
My system still in high-octane mode, I adjust my energy all over as thoroughly as I can so that by the time I reach him I’m relatively calm, and can tenderly scoop him up into my arms and hold him tight to my chest all the way back to the car while we talk about trucks.
What a vivid experience of how fabulous fear can be!
Even looking back at the whole thing with the benefit of hindsight, I can’t think of one single moment that I could have improved on, except for the moment I was studying the cable packet when I felt a subtle disquiet, and ignored it for several seconds. I should have known better.
But everything else was brilliant – the incredible effectiveness of our built-in warning and action system that drives up all our senses to serve what’s needed.
The thing about this that fascinated me most though was what happened afterwards. For several hours I felt literally high, like I was on some kind of enlightenment drug. Extraordinary! The surge of fear I lived through was so vivid and vital that it blasted the more flimsy flotsam of my mind out of the way for a while and all that was left was some crystal clear priorities and perspectives. Though not an experience I would wish to repeat, I’m grateful to have had it, as with almost every strong encounter with fear I’ve ever had.
We live with so much low level fear, chronically whining in the background of our psyche, it’s actually refreshing to be put right at the frontline of this energy, where it was designed to be felt. Each time I’ve encountered fear at this maxed-out level, I have learnt something very specific and valuable. This time it was about love – how utterly loving survival-level fear is. True instinctive fear loves life, totally.
Memories of Gabrielle saying, in the first workshop I ever did with her, “Fear is just one of the colours of love”.

Just found this, that I wrote a couple of years ago and forgot to post….
In Walmart. I know, I know… Well I needed a cable, and there was Walmart. A huge Walmart.
I have our 2.5 year-old boy with me. We do really well for a while taking in turns to look at cables and toys. Then thinking he’s engrossed with something he is holding I focus on my cable situation for all of 15 seconds, turn back to check on him and he’s gone.
It’s the day after Thanksgiving so it’s monstrously crowded in here. I walk fast back the way we’d come for a couple of blocks – er, I mean aisles – then not seeing him walk faster back another way to where we’d been standing.
Nowhere.
Soon I am running up and down aisles, wildly conscious of every turn of my head, glance of my eyes, timing it with the changing views to left and right with lightening fast precision, my mind doing overtime fast calculations on when I should use precious seconds asking one of the attendants for help, dismissing them all as looking too stupid or sleepy.
Finally I crash in at a help desk pretty much shouting at the poor woman there to call for help. She tells me dazedly that I have to go to the front of the shop (which is at least half a mile away over to the East somewhere) and ask them. I don’t even stop to reply, but start running about again calling “River!!” very loudly indeed. All the while I’m thinking how extraordinarily beautiful and golden this boy is compared with everyone and everything around here, my blood running cold as I helplessly watch my imagination doing ugly overtime.
An older woman customer stops me and asks how old he is, what he’s wearing, and tells me she’s going to get someone to make a call for help for me so I can keep looking. Thank you… Then as I’m telling her, I see him way down the other end of the aisle I’m on.
He’s sitting peacefully on the floor looking at a firetruck. Of course.
My system still in high-octane mode, I adjust my energy all over as thoroughly as I can so that by the time I reach him I’m relatively calm, and can tenderly scoop him up into my arms and hold him tight to my chest all the way back to the car while we talk about trucks.
What a vivid experience of how fabulous fear can be!
Even looking back at the whole thing with the benefit of hindsight, I can’t think of one single moment that I could have improved on, except for the moment I was studying the cable packet when I felt a subtle disquiet, and ignored it for several seconds. I should have known better.
But everything else was brilliant – the incredible effectiveness of our built-in warning and action system that drives up all our senses to serve what’s needed.
The thing about this that fascinated me most though was what happened afterwards. For several hours I felt literally high, like I was on some kind of enlightenment drug. Extraordinary! The surge of fear I lived through was so vivid and vital that it blasted the more flimsy flotsam of my mind out of the way for a while and all that was left was some crystal clear priorities and perspectives. Though not an experience I would wish to repeat, I’m grateful to have had it, as with almost every strong encounter with fear I’ve ever had.
We live with so much low level fear, chronically whining in the background of our psyche, it’s actually refreshing to be put right at the frontline of this energy, where it was designed to be felt. Each time I’ve encountered fear at this maxed-out level, I have learnt something very specific and valuable. This time it was about love – how utterly loving survival-level fear is. True instinctive fear loves life, totally.
Memories of Gabrielle saying, in the first workshop I ever did with her, “Fear is just one of the colours of love”.