Down the road of my house, by the river, stands a huge Moreton Bay Fig Tree.
It’s one of those trees. You know, the magical ones that (even though you are 30) make you wonder if there might be fairies living in it.
The individuals boughs of it are as big as big trees on their own.
My daughter and I like to swim in the shade of it. She collects jellyfish (the non-stinging variety) cradling these bulging globulus brown masses lovingly, insisting they are each the cutest things she’s ever seen.
After our swim, we wrap ourselves in towels and nestle into the big gnarled roots and look up through the leafy canopy.
The other day, we were doing exactly that when Lucy pointed to a branch – quite high up – and said she’d like to “sit up there and be a fairy”.
Her eyes got all twinkly and a half-smile snuck across her face as her eyes asked if we should. She was unsure. This tree was bigger than the ones we usually climbed. Would I say yes?
“Come on then” I nodded.
We both scrambled up to the big trunk and started our climb. The first section was fairly low to the ground and it was a perfect little nook to sit in, but Lucy had her sights set on the higher bough. But she was scared (let’s be real – I kinda was too).
I’m passionate about nurturing the adventurous streak in Lucy and so I made it my mission to get her up that tree.
It took a long time, a lot of cajoling, an impatient stern word (whoops), and then more and more cajoling until, finally, she turned around and grabbed onto the branch. She found the right footings, the perfectly knobbly grips and started to pull herself up.
Before long, both of us were perched up on a branch we’ve never been, pretending we were forest fairies. Some big white corellas landed just above us and we watched them a while. ‘Lucy Fairy’ told me stories. ‘Mummy Fairy’ laughed.
It was one of those beautiful heart-warming life moments. Those times that have you saying to yourself “damn I got it good”.
On the walk home, I got to thinking a lot about fear.
I used to think that life was a constant art of ducking and weaving to avoid fear. Avoid pain. Avoid discomfort.
I had it all wrong.
Fear is not to be avoided. It is to be welcomed.
Most things worth doing – for the bettering of yourself, others, the world or just an experience – will be on the otherside of fear.
Whether it’s starting a business, asking someone you click with to go for a coffee, writing a passionate blog post, trying Crossfit or yoga or jogging for the first time, introducing yourself to someone, public speaking, flying, dancing, singing or maybe just climbing a tree to get a better view… they all involve some sort of fear.
Fear of failing, flying, discomfort, embarrassment, pain or, simply, the unknown.
But looking at it this way, we should be more afraid of living a life without of fear.
Fear is a good thing. It’s the clue that you are doing something that means something. That you are growing, learning, pushing yourself, adventuring, discovering, exploring and experiencing your life fully.
When fear is present, we know there’s something on the other side worth getting. Something we would be poorer without.
Everything worth getting is on the other side of fear.
When it shows up, welcome it.
Love to hear your comments below.