Less Fear, More Fun
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
Less Fear, More FunFocus on your precious moments.
My best friend Billy Leonard and I were inseparable throughout the first 13 years of our lives. It seemed like we laughed like fools our entire adolescence, the kind of joyful, deep belly laughs that only kids have. We were both younger brothers, born three weeks apart. Our older brothers—Rick Leonard, who now runs all my offices in Ohio, and my brother Al, who has run all my campaigns—were driven nuts by our antics. And our parents would sometimes laugh just because we were laughing. We did everything together and seemed to find the humor in just about any situation. We laughed so hard sometimes it would make us cry.
In recent memory, the only time I have heard a laugh like that is when I’ve been around the Dalai Lama. I have met the Dalai Lama on several occasions. Inevitably, at some point during his talk or conversation, he would let out a deep, childlike belly laugh. There’s an infectious, immediate goodness to it. Each time I’ve reflected on his laughing that way, I’ve wondered why I don’t laugh like that much anymore. Life loads us up with so much baggage that we forget how to experience simple joy like Billy and I had when we were young. We constantly focus on our fears, inadequacies, and to-do lists. And the anxiety and fear paralyzes us. It reduces our awareness and cuts off the spontaneity needed to be surprised by a well-timed joke or life’s irony.
This habit of ruminating on our weaknesses makes life less rich. It’s not much fun. Besides, isn’t the goal in life to be cheerful rather than in a constant state of worry? Isn’t our world meant to be enjoyed and bathed in, not rejected as a scary place? We catch glimpses of joy on vacation or when certain moments of instant rapture grab us and arrest our worrying. Our child’s first steps, a baby’s smile, a success at work or school, a sublime music performance, feeling connected to others as we cheer together at a sporting event or sing along at a rock concert, a deep gaze into our lover’s eyes, or making love with true intimacy—these special moments are too few. But they are so emotionally powerful they break through our habits and ruminations.
All too soon after such moments it seems, we quickly cut off this life force by returning to our well-practiced habits of worry and concern. But I learned that if I pay close attention to the sensations in my body and the thoughts in my head—if I experience the moment with mindfulness—I can catch these habits as they begin to lead me back down the same old path. With enough practice we can override this behavior with an intention to be more alive for more of those beautiful moments.