“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear… And when it is gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear is gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” – Frank Herbert
My mate rode his Harley to work for the first time yesterday… leaving in the dark before dawn… in a thickening fog. Almost 2 years ago a co-worker of mine was killed as he rode his Harley to work… someone crossed the white line into his lane and it was all over for him. Knowing this I couldn’t help but feel a little worm of fear trying to work it’s way into my psyche… stomach clinching, muscles tensing… and then I remembered the quote from Herbert’s novel ‘Dune” about the “little-death”… As I drank my first cup of coffee and prepared for work I thought about that quote and how true it is… I know so many people who have made statements about how they “wouldn’t allow” their mate to ride, or how their mate “wouldn’t allow” them to own a bike, or jet-ski, or muscle car or… you get the picture… but life is NOT to be lived in a bubble… to live is to meet fear head on, to seize the opportunity to do the things we love or try new adventures. As I was running these thoughts through my mind it occurred to me that my favorite passion is seen as crazy to many – I ride mustangs – and to me it is as natural and necessary as breathing… yes, they are large animals and yes, they could easily kill me and I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone is afraid of them. Same goes for the Harley… it is part and parcel of the man I love and for me to refuse to acknowledge that, to let my fear cause him anguish, would be the killing of something integral to who he is… and so we ride, he iron horses and me wild horses… we both share in each others passions but each of us is a little more cautious when engaging in them… and that’s O.K. It would be so much worse to let fear circumscribe our lives. Thoreau said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” What symphonies lie buried in the earth from fear? The opus of a life extinguished… passions forced to the back of the mind… moldering in the corners of the heart… brought out and examined only when no one else is around… a tragedy that becomes a travesty of a life. Not for me. I choose to sing… to raise my song not because there is never fear but in spite of it! I will sing and I will encourage others to sing… to step outside of the safe boundaries of family and society in pursuit of their passion… to be part of the great chorus or those that choose to face their fears and live… I am blessed that I have a mate that understands as well… who helps me sing when I meet my fear so that I may seize not just the day… but life itself.