The Backstory

I finished a book about a journey earlier this year to Portugal in a motorhome but there’s a back story. The story I had running in the background in my head: You never finish anything. That story had to die for this book to get finished. I am completely amazed at the difference it makes to finish and I nearly missed this step – the one where I notice I’m finished.

The name of the book, Everyday Fearless, came to me after a conversation with a friend. Sometimes it takes a little courage to do ordinary everyday stuff. Like ask for help. Or speak in French. Or find your way in a strange town. Or take a picture. Or start a conversation. Or say, I’m sorry. Or make a phone call. Or run screaming, into the sea. Or do anything that would make me look silly or stupid or flawed. Like writing a book.

Everyday Fearless doesn’t wait to be perfect. Everyday Fearless says it’s ok just being me. A few years ago during autumn I went for a walk along the driveway to Powerscourt House in Enniskerry, looking for leaves. I wanted the perfect leaves, the ones that were symmetrical with no spots or cuts or bits missing. I couldn’t find any, not even one. I searched for a long time. None of the leaves were perfect. Maybe perfect is unnatural?

Background stories can be great, they can provide a guide for us to live by. When we tell stories to children we are sharing a simple message, a guide. For example, The Boy Who Cried Wolf – don’t tell lies. Le Loup qui changer de couleur – accept yourself. There are other stories, told to protect us from pain but they accidentally protect us from our true selves too. We cannot be protected from pain and in the trying we fence our true selves into a very small place, a very small life. Outside the fence waits all the lovely things that we could ever imagine we want. Things like… our presence in the world, our gift to the world, our unique essence enfolding the world. Sometimes we hang on to a story with a message that is no longer useful. You never finish anything – don’t try something lovely, you’ll just be disappointed.

When I practice Everyday Fearless I can imagine the life I’d love. I can allow myself to dream: My dream is set twenty years into the future… I’m in an art studio. It is my art studio. It is an old run-down car mechanic’s garage with the shadow of former grease stains on the floor and oil blackened benches and I love it. It is very well insulated, cosy and warm and there’s room for others. I make art. I practice Everyday Fearless. I share how to be everyday fearless. I write books (my 16th book was a runaway bestseller!) There is laughter all around and I am beyond happy.

Every dream starts in this moment….

You probably have some things you imagine you want too?

Click here and have a look at what I did when I dropped the back story and imagined the things I wanted. Mairead.