Thursday, 12 November 2015

Letting Go Of Fear

Letting Go Of Fear


How many times have we anticipated discomfort or danger and would provide every excuse to avoid it or plan to the T with 4 contingency plans to manage it?

These few weeks, I learnt a few things about letting go of fear.  The good thing was that I realized it did not take special skills.  You did not need strength, courage, determination or any fluffy concept that you could create a cringe-worthy motivational poster from, to let go of fear.  All these just focused on one's "ego self".  Letting go of fear was really about making room in your heart to trust the people around you to hold your hand when you are afraid to take a step forward into an uncomfortable space.


Fear Of Drowning



During a family holiday in Phuket recently, we enjoyed a wonderful stay at a huge villa perched on top of a hill, overlooking the beach.  It was gorgeous.  It came with a jacuzzi bath big enough for 2 people and a pool that thankfully was not quite the size of a bird bath. 


David, Joel and I spent most of our vacation floating about in the pool.  Mom however, spent the initial couple of days relaxing on the deck chair, reading or stuffing her face with nuts and chips.  We finally convinced her that the water level in the pool was shallow and unless she was built like a hobbit, her feet would be able to touch the bottom of the pool.


She was terrified of water.  She almost drowned as a child when she was riding in a little small boat or “sampan” and swore never to go anywhere near a pool, river or beach ever again. 


However, after some gentle persuasion, and knowing that she could trust the 3 of us to hold her in case she slipped in the pool, she gingerly made her way into the water, fully clothed and one hand clung tightly to me and the other to the side of the pool.  We were very pleased that she had let go of her fear of drowning and joined the family inside the pool. 


Although it was the one and only time she used the pool, and of course we were not expecting her to do the back-stroke in it, we were extremely happy that at least, she tried.   


She managed to let go of her fear, and let it be.

Mom's first steps into the pool after so many years.  She's grabbing to the side of the pool for dear life.


Fear Of Not Catching Up


This week, Joel enlisted into the army to fulfil his 2-year national service obligation.   As I was anxious about his fitness level, I hired a personal trainer 2 months before his enlistment to put him through a fitness routine that could prepare him for the rigors of military training.


When the day of his enlistment arrived, he was quite calm and composed.  He packed his bag on his own, gathered the necessary documents, rounded up the family and then we made our way together to the Basic Military Training Camp.  Along the way, I checked on him repeatedly just to be sure that he was emotionally calmed and mentally prepared.  He then quietly told me, “Mom, I am excited about the new experience ahead of me. I am looking forward to a new life in the army.  However I am worried I would not be able to catch up.”


There you go.  Fear. 


So I spent some time talking to him about how the army was going to take care of him.  They would make every effort to ensure that the boys would be able to catch up with each other and acclimatize to military life before allowing them to advance in the next stage of their training.   I told him that what was more important was that he embraced this new life with an open heart and an open mind, and treat each situation as a learning curve that will contribute to his growth and development. The commander of the camp even addressed the anxious group of parents and the boys, quite transparently explaining the entire training regime, objectives and expectations. He assured me that my son was in good hands. As if it was a sign, we spotted an old friend who was one of the officers in charge of the company.  That put Joel's mind at ease.


Well, he was allowed to make one phone call to me every night and I am very pleased that he rattled non-stop about the fun he was having, although he could not remember his buddy’s name and he could not recognize the meat from the vegetable in the meals provided.


I guess he will survive the 2 years of military service with ease. He managed to let go of his fear and let it be.

The day before his enlistment when he still had hair.
Welcome to military life

The bed at the soldiers' quarters looked quite comfy.

Standard military issue.  I hope Joel doesn't lose it during field camp.

This was Joel's first meal at the cookhouse.  It's possibly his best meal at the cookhouse.

Fear Of Not Meeting Expectations



With Mom and Joel letting go of their respective fears, where did that leave mine?  I spent a sleepless 2 weeks worrying about the visit of my company’s global board of directors and the global executives.  Many regional colleagues had regaled about the fabulous experience the board and executives had when they made market visits in the last few years.  I was so worried that I could not meet with their expectations when they visited our market, especially when our resources were limited.

The best thing that happened during the board and executives’ visit was that the entire team banded together, and worked very long hours to create a fool-proof logistical plan to manage this visit.  To transfer almost 20-30 people across the island to several meeting venues and activities was terribly challenging.  There were last minute changes to the plans, last minute requests and last minute issues that sent the team spiraling into a whirlwind of confusion.  However, in the end, we managed to make the right things happen at the right time.  There was no magic formula.  All it took was great teamwork, empathy, generosity of time, positivity of spirit.  We banded together through the rough patches and we did meet the expectations of the regional bosses after all. 


This experience taught me the invaluable lesson that I should learn to let go of my fears, trust the team more and just let it be. I should have trusted that the project was in the hands of very capable people who managed it with a lot of pride in their work.

What a fabulous looking team!
The amazing team who made it all happen.  I am so grateful to them for their generosity of time and energy, their teamwork, empathy and for  keeping the spirits up. I could never have done it without them.


About The Writer

The writer of this blog post is a Marketing and PR professional for over 20 years.  Due to her love for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), she is also a freelance sports writer on the side, contributing MMA-related articles to several sports media.  She works in partnership with her husband, David Ash, who is an avid sports photographer from  She is passionate about Muay Thai and nurtures a dream to fight competitively one day when her coach stops making fun of her.  She is also a psychic intuitive by birth and runs a consultancy that does tarot and numerology readings under her brand, Sun Goddess Tarot.  This blog is affectionately called "The Crazy AngMo" as she is married to one, although she has not yet explained to THE Ang Mo that when translated, he has been labeled  “the bloke with ginger hair”.