Someone once told me, “You are a jewel so rare I’d be happy to unearth you for the rest of time.” Lovely, but ironic I thought, given that for the most part of my life a certain someone would have been happy to bury me alive, and now here was someone who wanted to spend the rest of his life unearthing me! There was an added twist on this. The man who wanted to “unearth” me had construction and earth digging experience. Hmmm…dare I risk it?

The unearthing did eventually come about, but not by the earth digger. It came of my own accord on the path of self-discovery. Contrary to anything you may have heard, or believe; the path of self-discovery is studded with jewels in my experience. And contrary to what that big sack of paralysing fear tells you, it is not like being thrown into the water with cement blocks on your feet, unless of course that is route you wish to take! My approach was much gentler.

Sarah Ban Breathnach writes in her book, Something More, “Regardless of how we choose to look at our fears, we only have three choices; 1. Ignore it and hope it will go away – it won’t. 2. Try and live with it – not forever. 3. Look at the gift within our fear and benefit from it – when we do, we emerge on the other side of the life, surprised by joy.”

I had long ignored many fears about life, hoping they would go away. They didn’t. I had spent an incredible length of time trying to just live with those fears. I couldn’t forever. It was clear that if I was prepared to wait for the years to pass, my soul would be entirely consumed and my light would expire. My only option was to look for the gifts within my fears and benefit from them. Of course, it wasn’t that easy and taking the first steps was scary beyond words, but I saw no other choice. It was do, or die time.

When we begin to unearth ourselves, we work our way through layers of grime and sludge that we have permitted to be dumped upon us (even by ourselves), and accumulate upon us for years. However, when one layer is exposed we begin to clearly see the linkage to the next layer. Having made it through the first layer, we garner some confidence and so it continues layer after layer. We begin to see light at the end of tunnel, even if that light is initially only the size of a pinhead. We see it and we want more. Like seasoned archaeologists we become attuned to the treasure buried deep within the grime. Onwards we progress with renewed vigor, regardless of who or what may try to halt our progress. Believe me, there will be people who will try to halt your progress because they fear the new you and they fear themselves. Nonetheless, excited by the prospect of unearthing a prize greater than we could ever imagine possible, we must push on. We may be labelled by others as a trouble maker, selfish or even mad, but it will be too late to stop the moving train. As our shining happy self begins to emerge we will wonder why in hell we let fear and naysayers grab us and hold us prisoner for so long.

There comes a point on the path of self-discovery when we realise that everything that has happened in the past and everything that is yet to happen is priceless beyond words in making us who we are. Fear has nowhere left to hide. To hide from anything is no longer a viable option and never will be again, because life becomes priceless beyond words when we emerge on the other side of fear.