I was 12 years old, walking on the streets of London on a summer trip with my family when a dog came off the leash on the other side of the street.
A commotion ensued with the dog-mom, a middle-aged woman, nervously chasing the dog in a fast-walk like fashion, nervously shouting ahead to people in the dog’s way, warning them, and asking them to catch him.
As I looked closer in the direction of the commotion, to my surprise I saw the largest dog I had ever seen excitedly crossing the street walking in my general direction. I was even more horrified when I realized that none of the adults were helping the woman get a hold of the dog. I was already scared, but now I had more evidence that this is a scary situation.
The dog and I locked eyes, and now, to fulfill my fear, he ‘was’ coming directly towards me. I checked to see if the adults around me were going to do anything about this and they were scrambling and confused but also saying “don’t be scared”. I decided “I can’t trust anyone here’ and ‘it’s not safe”. I took matters into my own hands, left my family behind and made a run for it.
To my horror and surprise the dog started running after me. “I was right to be scared of him”, I thought. “I knew it was ‘me’ he was coming for, I better keep running or he’ll ‘get’ me.”
The faster I ran the faster the dog would chase me. The dog’s mom, followed by my family, created a little marathon scene … everyone yelling, “Stop running! Stop running!” I heard them loud and clear, I just thought “there’s no way they want ‘me’ to stop. Afterall, I’m not the one chasing.”
The dog-running festival I was leading went on for a bit. Just when I was starting to think “I guess I’m going to have to keep running my whole life”, a good samaritan, and an even better runner started to run with me. At first I thought “he is just as scared as I am”, but he was strangely calm and not at all out of breath.
“If you keep running, the dog will keep chasing you… the dog thinks you are playing a game with him” he said. I was shocked at the insanity this man’s impressive running capabilities was presenting, “He must have lost his mind” I thought. “He can’t possibly be asking ‘me’ to be the first one stop … the dog has to stop first or he is going to ‘get’ me’.” In my running misery I managed to reason with him and describe this dilemma.
“I can see you are getting tired,” he said, “I’m not scared of this dog, if you want, you can stop and hide behind me and I’ll protect you’.
I kept running as I considered this man’s strange altruistic offer and decided: I can’t wrap my head around any of what he is saying or doing. The only thing I could agree with was that I ‘was’ getting very tired and I knew I’m going to collapse soon. Out of sheer desperation, I agreed.
To my surprise, as I took cover behind this man, the dog stopped running, he came up to the man and the man started petting him. My world was being challenged. The dog was now actually looking cute as he enjoyed a good petting.
As this man waited with me and the dog in a corner while our parents caught up he offered for me to pet the dog. I really wanted to, but I quickly declined. I needed to make sense of my world all over again.
Now I have 3 dogs of my own, and . . .
I wonder how different my life would have been if I had learned the practical lesson being taught to me at the age12 on the streets of London.
It would take me about 20 more years to learn the BASIC PHYSICS OF FEAR:
- Fear will ONLY chase you IF you RUN
- The more YOU RUN from fear the more it CHASES YOU.
- Once you stop running, you realize it was NOT SCARY at all. You get a chance to create a compassionate relationship with what you fear (like I now have with dogs).
There is a Navajo saying:
There are two wolves that live outside your door.
One will eat you up and DESTROY YOU
The other will SET YOU FREE
The one that grows is the one you FEED THE MOST.
One is LOVE and the other is FEAR
FEED THE FEAR and the fear will grow
FEED THE LOVE and the love will grow
What would YOU do or not do if you had no fear?
What would you CREATE?
What would you EXPERIENCE, FEEL or DO?
Write back to me and let me know.
I read every single email that comes to me and I WILL respond back to you.
PS. Here are some things to look forward to from us:
- Weekly Newsletters
- Quiz to determine your current ability to Create Your Best Life & Love Scorecard
- A Re-launch of our website
- Some easy to take on-demand courses
- And eventually . . . An Online Community of Love, Support, and Learning